NFL Free Agents 2011: Top 10 Free Agents for Washington Redskins to Target
A day I thought honestly wouldn't come until at least October is finally upon us. What day am I speaking of?
Well the end of the NFL lockout of course.
Free agency is reportedly going to begin on Friday, and with that in mind I've put together a list of what the Redskins' shopping needs should be.
Will they follow it to a T? Probably not since I don't have too many "big names" in my list but I won't be shocked if they make offers to at least half of these guys.
David Akers (K)
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First off, yes I know David Akers was slapped with a transition tag before the lockout, but the Eagles can remove it if they don't feel like paying him the kind of money that comes with it, and it is a possibility.
Secondly, I do know he was once a Redskins.
But lastly, if we improve our defense (which I believe we will) we could find ourselves in plenty of close games. I'm talking games that come down to the one or two points.
Do you really feel comfortable with Grahmn Gano kicking in those situations?
Rex Grossman (QB)
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Nothing about Rex Grossman fills me with hope, even if I remind myself he has played in as many Super Bowls as Donovan McNabb.
But, outside of Grossman the only other quarterback the Redskins have is John Beck (another name that doesn't get me all giddy inside).
So the team could bring in someone else who doesn't know the system or bring back Grossman and let he and Beck battle it out for the starting job.
Sure, they're no Sonny and Billy, but at least they're better than Gus and Heath, right? RIGHT?!
Vince Young (QB)
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Speaking of bringing in a quarterback who doesn't know the system, we have Vince Young.
Now before you take to the comment section and tell me that I'm an idiot, hear me out please.
I'm not saying bring in Vince Young to compete for the starting job (at least not yet) and I'm not saying we should get into a bidding war for him.
What I'm saying is that if he's cheap (like league minimum cheap) why not bring him in?
Sure you could point to his lack of mental toughness and clashes with Jeff Fisher, but I don't think that should disqualify Vince Young, after all that isn't much different from many players around the league.
What Vince Young needs is a fresh start in a new city (you can put a check mark next to D.C. if you like).
He also needs a strong, offensive minded head coach (check again).
Vince Young and Jeff Fisher failed together (and they did it together) because as a defensive minded coach there was nothing for Vince Young to buy into. Bring Vince to D.C. show him the trophy case (yes I know the last one we won is now 20 years old) and show him Shanahan's rings and there is a good chance he might buy in.
Make him a project quarterback and if he works out the Skins have a mobile quarterback with a big arm (cough, John Elway, cough) and if he doesn't well we got him cheap, cut him loose and no harm no foul.
It's low risk will a lot of upside. Think of it as if you're betting on a 30-1 shoot at the track. You put down a little and if it wins you win big, if it looses you're out a couple of bucks.
And as far as being a locker room cancer, outside of the end of last season there were never any complaints from players about Young's locker room presence (even when he was benched the first time).
And besides that, he's the third string quarterback, no one is going to listen to his grumbling, if there is any grumbling at all.
Carl Nicks (Guard)
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I know this might come as a shocker but the Redskins need some offensive line help.
Carl Nicks was dominate in the run game for the Saints last season, and if the Redskins want to be successful this year they are going to have to run the ball more.
Ryan Torrain (the projected starter) is a bruiser up the middle and off-tackle, those are where Nicks does his best work.
Bringing in Nicks would help solidify the Skins' interior line.
Harvey Dahl (Guard)
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Harvey Dahl is just a mean and nasty offensive guard.
Seriously the guy was killing it whether is was a run or passing down.
If Redskins' fans would like to see a return to the days of the Hogs this is the guy. In fact with his toughness on the field and his jovial presence off, he probably could have fit in with the original Hogs, as well as the 5 o'clock club.
Rashad Butler (OT)
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Butler isn't the sexiest of names when it comes to offensive tackles in the free agent pool, but he does come from Houston where he played under Kyle Shanahan and knows his blocking schemes.
Whether he is an impact starter is completely up to him, but at the very least he'll had much needed depth to the Skins line and he'll be an upgrade of Stephon Heyer.
Cullen Jenkin (DE)
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Now we're where I want to see the bulk of the off-season money spent, the defensive line.
The Redskins switched over to the 3-4 last season and didn't have the right personnel in place.
Honestly I was fine with it, I've always preferred the 3-4 anyways.
Now that we're a year in and we know what we need now is the time to go out and get it.
The defensive line probably failed the team the most last season since they failed to soak up a lot of blocks and thus didn't allow the linebackers to roam freely.
Cullen Jenkins is unique in the fact that not only can he soak up the blockers, but he'll burst through them as well and get to the quarterback.
Jenkins is what the Skins need coming off of the edge, and if they follow my formula and stay away from high-priced offensive talent then they'll easily be able to afford him.
Just don't give him Haynesworth money.
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The Redskins will need a true nose tackle if they ever want to succeed in the 3-4 and Franklin is indeed that.
If any of my picks (outside of Grossman) end up with the Skins I'd be willing to bet a great deal Franklin is one of them.
Once again, as long as the Skins don't fall pray to the flashy wide-outs in free agency (who will all be over paid and probably disappoint, write it down) then they should have plenty of money to get Franklin.
Carlos Rogers (CB)
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Rogers is a pretty good cover corner and where he drops a lot of passes, he at least breaks them up, unlike DeAngelo Hall who'll will give up way more touchdowns than passes then he picks off.
Also by re-signing Rogers the Redskins will say to their other players "Hey, we take care of our own" which is the first step in building a good team.
The current roster needs to feel that they'll be wanted when their contract is up and that they have a place here and aren't just another body to fill out a roster spot.
Plus, having a guy like Rogers who can shadow someone will help the line and linebackers get to the quarterback since he'll have one less guy to throw to.
Ike Taylor (CB)
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The Redskins want to mimic the Steelers' defense and they need another cornerback to help solidify their defensive backfield, well may I present Ike Taylor for your consideration.
Taylor is better at coverage than DeAngelo Hall, he has better hands than Carlos Rogers, and he likes to pop people like LaRon Landry. I say he'd fit in nicely here.
Not to mention he is excellent at coming up and defending the rush and can get to the QB on a corner blitz. He could really help make the Redskins defense versatile.
Of course that's if he parts ways with the Steelers and that could be a big if.
Positions Not Mentioned
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Running Back: I believe in the Shanahan running system, where anybody can be a star running back in it. And what do you know, we have a backfield full of young anybodies who all have potential. Plus I really like Ryan Torrain and if he stays healthy will have over 1,500 yards (write it down).
Wide Receiver: Though no one on our roster fills me with much hope, no body out there in free agent-ville does either. So why over pay a veteran who won't produce up to his contract when you have cheap potential already on the roster. Also it's not like we're trying to find a weapon for Donovan McNabb, we're throwing John Beck out there. Build an offensive line this year that will keep Beck upright then worry about a high priced diva.
Linebacker: We're embarrassingly rich at this position which makes me smile, a little.
Safety: With the signing of Osi Atogwe the Skins shored up the free safety spot, otherwise it would have made this list, and well we've got Mr. Meat & Potatoes at strong safety so we're good there.
Punter: I really don't care about this position as long as the guy can kick at least 40 yards, though I'll miss Hunter Smith and the "Swinging Gate".