Like I told everyone before the beginning of the free agency period, the Washington Redskins won't chase after the big names with big contracts. Yeah, right.
Like almost everyone else, I expected the Redskins to sign Julius Peppers and/or Karlos Dansby, and to initiate some blockbuster trades for some restricted free agents. I was looking for more of the same as in years past—overpaying for over-the-hill players.
Instead, I'm in shock at what has actually taken place. Not only did the Redskins pass on both Peppers and Dansby, but they also allowed some players they were genuinely interested in to slip away and sign with other teams (Chad Clifton, Tony Pashos).
The Redskins have only signed one free agent of note: Guard/tackle Artis Hicks. Hicks is a versatile, solid player, but he was nowhere close to being at the top of most evaluators' lists of top free agents available. Hicks isn't the huge "splash" that is usually associated with the Redskins this time of year.
What is happening in Washington? Is this one of the signs of the end of the world that is spoken of in Revelation?
No, this is the sign of a new regime in Washington. The new management of Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen are taking a much-needed new approach to business for the Redskins. This fiscally conservative strategy is in stark contrast to years past, and has caught many people (including myself) off-guard.
Don Banks of SI.com wrote that the Redskins were once again prepared to make a strong push into free agency using "their go-to combination of (owner) Daniel Snyder's private jet and a Brink's truck." Jason La Canfora also predicted the Redskins to be the biggest player in free agency, including a massive deal for Peppers: "Washington is making a strong push and Dan Snyder generally gets his guy. Word is swirling that Peppers is on the verge of getting a massive contract from the Redskins."
Nobody saw it coming. Meanwhile, Shanahan and Allen were chuckling to themselves as they heard about all of the rumors linked to the Redskins. In the end, that's all they were; just rumors.
As Bruce Allen recently said, a "new era" has come to Washington. Shanahan said there are no "magic bullets" that will cure all of the Redskins' ills, and the start of free agency proves they are not looking for a quick fix.
The Redskins are looking to rebuild for the long term, and the new management has evidenced a departure from the old ways of doing business in Washington. And for Redskins fans, that is welcome news indeed.