NFL Free Agency: Which Receiver Should the Washington Redskins Pursue?

Bell Malley@milesmalleyAnalyst IIIJuly 27, 2011

The NFL lockout ended Monday, signaling that there will be an NFL season.

Before any games start, however, teams must go through an offseason, trying to sign and trade players to have their rosters set by the start of the preseason.

One of the most intriguing teams to follow during this time will be the Washington Redskins.

Last year—the first year of the Shanahan/McNabb experiment—was miserable.

The 'Skins finished only 6-10, and McNabb was benched late in the season. McNabb is now on the trading block, and rumor has it that he will soon be packing his bags and going to Minnesota.

The Redskins head into camp with a question mark at QB.

For now, it is between unproven John Beck and veteran, turnover-machine Rex Grossman.

However, Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan might still decide to bring in Vince Young, Brady Quinn or any other quarterback to join the battle.

In addition to their issues at QB, Washington needs much help in the receiving corps.

Right now, Santana Moss is locked in as the No. 1 receiver, and Chris Cooley is their tight end. Apart from that, everything is open to debate.

The rest of the receivers on Washington's roster are:

1. Anthony Armstrong—Young, fast, deep-ball threat, had 871 yards for 'Skins last year

2. Leonard HankersonRookie (Round 2 Pick 79)

3. Niles PaulRookie (Round 5 Pick 155)

4. Aldrick RobinsonRookie (Round 6 Pick 178)

5. Brandon BanksLightning-fast, not great hands

6. Malcolm KellyHigh ceiling, not developed, injury-prone

As you can see, none of these players have the true quality to be No. 2 NFL receivers by next season.

Some will grow into studs, but they sure aren't there yet.

So, Washington will more than likely chase after a free agent in a receiver-hungry league, meaning that they will have to move fast.

If they succeed in bringing someone to D.C., who should that someone be?

The free-agent market this year is relatively receiver heavy, with at least nine big names looking for a new contract.  

This list is filled with veterans looking for a bounce-back year, as well as youngsters looking to have breakthrough seasons.

At one time or another, the 'Skins have been linked with Terrell Owens, Randy Moss, Mike Sims-Walker and Plaxico Burress.

T.O. did have a successful season with the Cincinnati Bengals last year, but he has made it clear that he will not return.

As his career nears its end, he probably wants a shot at a ring. That all but takes Washington out of the picture, unless they make a shock move for a QB.

Plax is looking for an NFL return after spending time in prison.

The Redskins were one of his first suitors, but recently rumors have surfaced that the New York Giants, his former team, would welcome him back with open arms.

Burress is much more likely to go to the Big Apple than the Nation's Capital.

That leaves two options that wouldn't mind coming to D.C.

Randy Moss is relatively washed up and just wants a chance to play again. Although a few other teams have been interested, Dan Snyder has a way of bringing past-their-prime players onto his team.

Mike Sims-Walker was Washington's top target (WR-wise) prior to the lockout, and in my opinion, that shouldn't change.

He is still young, has good hands and feels okay being part of a rebuilding project.

The main reason for which I would not sign Randy Moss is that he won't be around for much longer. He doesn't make sense for a team that is looking to rebuild for the future.

Also, with two very young players who like to go long, Moss would take some experience away from them. 

Issues with Moss off the field have also arisen over the years.

Along with Albert Haynesworth and Donovan McNabb (if they stay), the Redskins would have three headline-grabbers, something unneeded for a young team.

For those reasons, Moss would not be the ideal fit at all.

Realistically, Sims-Walker is the best fit.

He doesn't have any of the problems that Moss has, and he's just generally a very good player. 

He's only 26 and knows how to play well with a decent quarterback (869 yards in 2010 with David Garrard).

He likes running rather short routes and can attract the safeties, freeing up the deep-ball threats.

Also, Sims-Walker is the perfect No. 2 receivera safety blanket who can make something out of nothing.

As the main target in Jacksonville, all the attention was on him. With Moss opposite, he should succeed.

If any free agent could magically land in burgundy and gold, Plax would be my dream candidate.

He's tall, unlike almost all the Redskins corps (excluding Hankerson). He would be a great red-zone target for a young QB.

He is a very versatile receiver, meaning that he can run short and long routes.

He would become that top target, while Moss would be better off with less attention paid to him.

With two proven receivers, guys like Hankerson and Armstrong have more time to learn the ropes instead of jumping right in. 

So Washington's two best fits are Mike Sims-Walker and Plaxico Burress.

If Plax is willing, Snyder should go full steam after him.

If not, Sims-Walker could be a safety blanket.

Whomever they decide to chase, they have to make a good impression, because it is key to get another guy to catch the ball for this team.


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