The Washington Redskins will look to bounce back from a 3-13 season last year, and part of that starts with rebuilding through free agency and the draft.
When free agency rolls around, there are several positions that Washington may opt to address.
Offensive tackle, defensive back and wide receiver are all viable options as positions for them to dip into when free agency starts. That being said, they're most likely to target players on the defensive side of the ball this offseason.
Jairus Byrd is a notable free agent who would fill a huge hole at safety, giving Washington some veteran leadership and a playmaker on the back end of their defense.
At this point in time, Reed Doughty is simply a below-average player, and just shouldn't be starting for Washington anymore. Bacarri Rambo will be improved from his rookie season but shouldn't be trusted as a No. 1 option just yet.
It's unclear what Phillip Thomas will bring to the table as he missed last season with injury, but adding Byrd would help regardless of what he proves capable of.
As I said before, defense should be the focus of Washington in free agency, and they may also key in on a replacement for London Fletcher, as well as another pass-rusher. They will have a healthy handful of options, and will find themselves with many players that would fit the scheme they run.
Jairus Byrd, S
Jairus Byrd established a reputation as one of the best safeties that the league has to offer during his time in Buffalo, and he should be a main target of Washington.
The Redskins were seriously lacking in the secondary last year, especially at the safety position. There was a lack of talent and experience, and that greatly hurt them throughout the season.
If they were to add Byrd, they would add a veteran defender who will produce at a high level right away. He also contributes in run support in addition to being a very good coverage guy. Byrd would also be a great mentor to second-year safeties Rambo and Thomas, bringing the young defenders along and helping their development process.
Overall, Byrd would be a very quality pickup and, although he would likely pull a hefty price tag, would be worth breaking the bank over.
Brandon Spikes, LB
The New England Patriots got a lot out of Brandon Spikes, and he could definitely bring some of that production to the Redskins’ defense.
They’ll finally be without their long-time defensive leader Fletcher, and will be looking for a younger, talented linebacker such as Spikes to take his place.
He’s competent in coverage but is an extremely reliable tackler and can really quarterback a defense well. The Redskins allowed 110.6 rushing yards per game last year, a number that would surely be improved if Spikes were brought in.
Plain and simple, he makes an impact and changes games on defense. Spikes would be a stellar addition to an iffy Washington defense.
Arthur Jones, DE
You can never have enough pass-rushers, right? Washington was in the bottom half of the league when it comes to sacks in 2013 and could surely use a youthful boost—which is something Arthur Jones could provide.
The former Baltimore Raven has only tallied 8.5 sacks in the past two seasons, but he was largely used as a 5-technique defensive end and was more effective against the run—he was an effective overall defender, nonetheless.
Jones is great at utilizing his leverage and using it to rip past offensive lineman. He could be shuffled along the defensive line of Washington and would be a valuable addition to their defensive rotation for a cheap price.
Aqib Talib, CB
Aqib Talib is another player formerly of the Patriots who Washington should target in free agency.
Talib was extremely effective during his time with New England, but he had his best days in Tampa Bay under the tutelage of Raheem Morris, the current defensive backs coach of the Redskins.
Bringing in Talib would reunite him with his old coach and possibly stir up some of the magic he created while with the Buccaneers. Even if Talib just performs as well as he did with the Patriots (four interceptions, 13 passes defended in 2013), he’ll be worth it.
Washington made a smart move by re-signing DeAngelo Hall, but they do need another corner to start opposite of him, and Talib would be a great choice.
He’s had at least four interceptions in four of his seven seasons, and would be the first legitimate ball hawk the Redskins have had in awhile.
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