Washington Redskins 2011 Free Agent Frenzy: 5 Under the Radar Players to Sign

JW NixSenior Writer IIJuly 26, 2011

Washington Redskins 2011 Free Agent Frenzy: 5 Under the Radar Players to Sign

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    Now that waste of time and headlines called the "Players Lockout" predictably ended with the players cowering to the NFL's whims, it is time to get back to football.

    Free agents are set to move to teams, and the Washington Redskins need to strike now or get left behind.

    Nnamdi Asomugha is an All-Pro cornerback that tops every teams wish list, so the Redskins chances on being the first choice of Asomugha might solely rest on the fact Redskins general manager Bruce Allen drafted him while Allen worked with the Oakland Raiders in 2003.

    There are other players to be had in the pretty deep free agent pool this year. While Washington needs to address quarterbacks Donovan McNabb and Rex Grossman now, as well as other free agents like Carlos Rogers, Rocky McIntosh, Jammal Brown, and Santana Moss, these decisions will have an impact on the direction the team will head into the free agent signing period later this month.

    Yet there are positions that need help regardless of what the Redskins decide to do within their own ranks. The team is rebuilding and getting as many quality players as possible now will push the team closer to realistic hopes of contending in the NFC East again.

    Here are five players that could do that in 2011.

Davin Joseph

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    Artis Hicks was overpaid last year to join Washington as a free agent. The career journeyman is a backup who can fill in at guard or tackle, but he is not starting material.

    Korey Lichtensteiger is a guy head coach Mike Shanahan drafted while with the Denver Broncos. He is an undersized guard and backup center type who fills a depth chart at best. The same can be said for Will Montgomery.

    Even if Mike Williams returns after missing the 2010 due to blood clots near his heart, he is still the same guy considered one of the biggest draft busts in recent NFL history. It is doubtful he has much to give Washington, even at full health.

    Joseph never became the star the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had hoped for when they used a first-round draft pick on him in 2006. However, he did get selected to the 2008 Pro Bowl as a substitute.

    He is a very solid player and is still just 27 years old. Lining him up at right guard is a huge improvement over Hicks, and it would allow Hicks to go back to his more comfortable role as bench player.

    Winning in the trenches often leads to team victories, and the Redskins current offensive line is just not good enough to beat many teams consistently. Plus, Allen knows Joseph due to having drafted him while Allen was the Buccaneers general manager.

Aubrayo Franklin

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    Franklin does not put up a ton of stats, and he isn't the most athletic nose tackle in the NFL. Yet he is very smart and is far and away the best nose tackle in the 2011 free agency market.

    Franklin first learned from Kelly Gregg as a backup for the Baltimore Ravens from 2003 to 2006. He moved on to the San Francisco 49ers and has been a defensive mainstay there since.

    Washington does not have a nose tackle and are committed to making their 3-4 defense work. Albert Haynesworth is a slave to greed and sloth, refusing to even attempt breaking a sweat or give effort for his teammates.

    Franklin will be 31 years old soon, so a long-term contract isn't feasible. Yet he will help the Redskins defensive line because he frequently commands the attention of multiple blockers.

    Gregg, now a free agent, might be worthy of consideration for a one-year deal if Franklin doesn't come to Washington. The Ravens are said to want him back at a reduced salary after his expected release, but the Redskins could coax the productive 34-year-old to come 50 miles down I-95.

Barrett Ruud

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    Another guy Bruce Allen drafted while he was with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Ruud wanted a pay raise recently, but was rebuffed.

    He will not wow you, but Ruud is always around the ball. He would be a good fit next to London Fletcher at the inside linebacker position. Rocky McIntoch is a guy most feel is best suited at outside linebacker in a 4-3 defense, so Ruud would provide an upgrade.

    He is only 28 years old, so he could continue to carry the torch whenever the 36-year-old Fletcher decides to retire. Though a savvy veteran, he could learn tons from the sage Fletcher until then.

Eric Wright

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    When Wright fell into the second round of the 2007 season, the Cleveland Browns happily drafted him. Wright had a nice start to his career in his first three years. Then things got tough for him in 2010.

    A big part of his struggles was due to an anemic Browns pass rush, but Wright battled with nagging injuries all year and wasn't as stout versus the run as he had been in the past. Frustrated Browns fans directed their ire towards him to the point he received death threats.

    A change of scenery could be best for the 26-year-old. If Washington fails to bring back Carlos Rogers, Wright could be an option. It is doubtful he would be brought in the replace Phillip Buchanon because Kevin Barnes seems to be that guy.

    Even if Barnes beat out Wright for a starters job, depth is needed in the secondary. A proven Wright would surely give that.

Robert Gallery

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    Did I mention the Redskins desperately need help along their offensive line?

    A lot has been made of the fact Gallery never lived up to his first-round selection by the Oakland Raiders in 2004, where he was the second player picked overall. He was not an offensive tackle, as Oakland had hoped.

    Since he was moved to left guard in 2007, he has been the best blocker of the Raiders. Not that that's much praise, but Gallery has been solid mostly. He surely would be a huge upgrade over current starter Kory Lichtensteiger, and Gallery is the best left guard on the market.

    This is all contingent that Washington is able to bring back Jammal Brown at right tackle. If Brown leaves because he prefers playing left tackle, then Washington needs to focus on free agent right tackles like Tyson Clabo, Sean Locklear, or even oldster Damien Woody.

    Possibly an aggressive owner like Dan Snyder could get Gallery and that much needed right tackle, because Snyder has always shown he will sign guys who the Redskins think will help win games.