2011 Free Agency: Grading the Redskins' Moves

Timothy JacksonContributor IIIAugust 10, 2011

2011 Free Agency: Grading the Redskins' Moves

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    As usual, the Redskins have been active in free agency this year.

    This slide show focuses on free agency moves thus far this offseason, including re-signings.

    Each signing or re-signing will be given a final grade. The grades take into account the player's contract, how I see the player fitting into the Skins' system, and the player's future with the team.

O.J. Atogwe

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    Before the NFL lockout began, the Skins made sure to get the O.J. Atogwe deal done. Atogwe and the Skins agreed to a five-year, $26 million deal with $12 million guaranteed.

    The signing of O.J. Atogwe seems to have been forgotten due to the NFL lockout and the flurry of recent free agent signings, but Atogwe is a Pro Bowl-caliber player.

    Atogwe is 30, so there is still some good football in him. Furthermore, the Skins signed him to a very good deal for someone of Atogwe's caliber. 

    Even though he will never "replace" Sean Taylor, Atogwe will provide stability at the free safety position, something the Skins have been looking for ever since the passing of Sean Taylor.

    O.J. Atogwe and LaRon Landry will combine to be one of the best safety tandems in the entire NFL.


    GRADE: A+

H.B. Blades

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    H.B Blades signed back with the Skins following a sub-par year in 2010-11. 

    Blades will never "wow" you with his talent, but he can definitely serve as that hard-nosed, rotational player that every team needs.

    In 2011-12, Blades will probably see limited time as a rotational ILB with the opportunity to shine and gain playing time on special teams.

    If he continues to learn from the Skins' defensive captain, London Fletcher, who has a similar body type, H.B. Blades could see starting time once Fletcher decides his career is over. 


    GRADE: B-

Stephen Bowen

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    The Skins and Bowen inked a five-year, $27.5 million ($12.5 million guaranteed) this offseason. 

    Bowen is a pass-rusher who saw limited playing time in Dallas.

    At only 27, Bowen is entering his prime, but this contract is somewhat puzzling. He received $12.5 million guaranteed, even though he has never been a true starter in the NFL.

    Furthermore, I don't see how he actually fits into the Skins' 3-4 scheme. With the drafting of Ryan Kerrigan, they have two pass rushing 3-4 OLBs. If Bowen starts at one of the DE spots, he would have to play against both the pass and the run. I don't see him being productive against the run, especially in the 3-4 scheme. 


    GRADE: C-

Jammal Brown

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    Jammal Brown agreed to a five-year deal to re-join the Redskins.

    Brown is a former Pro Bowler who struggled with injuries in 2010-11, but his talent is undeniable.

    The success of the signing will rely mainly on the health of Brown. At 30, he is at the back-end of his prime, but he should still have a few good years of football remaining in him.

    The Redskins have already prepared for his potential injury by signing back-up linemen if Brown does go down with an injury.

    GRADE: B 

Phillip Buchanon

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    Phillip Buchanon was recently re-signed by the Skins. Unfortunately, Buchanon will be serving a four game suspension to start the season.

    Buchanon brings veteran leadership and professionalism to the Skins' cornerback position. Buchanon is a good balance for loud-mouthed risk-taker DeAngelo Hall.

    He is entering the end of his career, but this is certainly a solid signing for a veteran DB with above average cover skills. He will probably see significant time in clear passing situations. He may even battle with Josh Wilson for the second CB position once he returns from his suspension. 

    GRADE: B+ 

Chris Chester

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    The Skins signed Chester to a five-year, $20 million contract. 

    If anyone watched the Skins last year, you know that their offensive ineffectiveness could be attributed greatly to offensive line play. With the signing of Chester, although not a top talent, the Redskins get some depth at the offensive guard position.

    It seems that Chester will start at right guard for the Skins. With their tackles in place and now with a decent right guard, their offensive line will certainly be better than they were in 2010.


    GRADE: B

Kellen Clemens

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    This Redskins signed Clemens to a one-year deal to presumably be the third quarterback on their roster.

    There will be an open competition for the starting QB job between Beck and Grossman, with the loser obviously taking the second spot on the depth chart. Even with the number one and two positions set in their depth chart, the Redskins go out and sign Clemens, a player with starting experience, to be the number three QB. I'd much rather see an undrafted QB be the third person on the depth chart rather than a veteran.

    Furthermore, reports are showing that Clemens is struggling at practice, both throwing the ball and picking up the playbook.


    GRADE: F

Barry Cofield

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    Barry Cofield agreed to a six-year, $36 million contract with the Skins, a more than reasonable contract for someone of Cofield's skill set.

    The Skins could not find "that guy" to fit in at nose tackle in their 3-4 scheme. Players, specifically London Fletcher, are already talking about how Cofield has made plays that they did not see in practice last year. 

    Cofield has played on the Giants' talented front seven for the past few seasons. He should step in and be a cornerstone for the Skins' defensive line, freeing up Fletcher and his fellow linebackers to make tackles.


    GRADE: A+

Reed Doughty

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    Reed Doughty was re-signed to a three-year contract with the Skins.

    Although Doughty does provided experience in this defense, he is a risk when it comes to coverage. He is decent in run support, but his lack of coverage skills overshadow this aspect (look at the game last year vs. the Texans). 

    This year would've been a good time to sever ties and move on, especially with the addition of O.J. Atogwe to an already crowded defensive backfield.

    Doughty will probably end up serving on special teams, if he makes the final roster at all.


    GRADE: D+

Kedric Golston

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    In my opinion, Kedric Golston is one of the most underrated players on the Skins. He is not a pass rusher, but he definitely gets his job done when it comes to the run game by clogging holes and eating double teams. 

    Golston will probably see a rotational role at both DT and DE this upcoming season, especially with the signings of Stephen Bowen and Barry Cofield. Also, don't be surprised if you see him on special teams.

    As a whole, this was a great signing that adds experience and depth to the defensive line.


    GRADE: B+

Shayne Graham

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    Shayne Graham was a perfect 12/12 for the New England Patriots last year, but he struggled with injury.

    Graham has been a consistent kicker throughout his career, something the Skins have been lacking for at least a decade.

    As far as I'm concerned, any competition for the kicker job, especially considering we had the worst kicker in the league last year, is a bonus. It seems that Mike Shanahan was not as sold on Gano as he had previously stated. If Shayne Graham can stay healthy, this could be an absolutely huge signing for the Skins. Graham could finally bringing consistently and most importantly, confidence in the kicking game.


    GRADE: A

Rex Grossman

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    The Skins re-signed Grossman to a one-year, $1.15 million dollar contract. 

    Grossman came in to replace Donovan McNabb and, contrary to popular belief, actually played pretty well. The offense scored more points and stayed on the field longer with Grossman at the helm than with McNabb. Then again, McNabb didn't exactly play like McNabb, and Grossman starting did not result in more wins on the scoreboard.

    This is a reasonable contract for Grossman, who I believe should be the starter over Beck in 2011. This is a rebuilding year for the Skins as they will probably aim to draft a franchise QB in the draft next year (possibly Andrew Luck?). Grossman played well enough last year to earn the starting job and be a mentor for the future franchise QB, whoever that may be.


    GRADE: B

Tim Hightower

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    The move to acquire Tim Hightower seemed to come out of nowhere, especially after the Skins picked Roy Helu and Evan Royster in this year's draft. Even though the move was surprising, it doesn't necessarily mean it was a bad one.

    Hightower is not an exceptional talent, but is a solid running back who could see a lot of carries this year. Even though the Redskins have a lot of depth at the RB position, no back has truly proven themselves at the NFL level.

    The addition of Hightower will bring a high level of competition to training camp and pre-season. Hopefully, this brings out the best in all four RBs, which includes last years end-of-the-year talent, Ryan Torrain. Also, having two veterans in the backfield ahead of the two rookies will allow the rookies to learn at the NFL level before getting thrown into games.


    GRADE: B+

Sean Locklear

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    Sean Locklear was signed to simply provide depth along the offensive line. He doesn't have the skills to start, but has the ability to step in if the right tackle gets injured. Jammal Brown is a huge injury risk, so don't be surprised if you see Locklear get some time next year.

    Locklear is definitely an upgrade from Stephon Heyer, who has served as a back-up at the tackle position for the past few years in Washington. Unfortunately, Locklear is almost exclusively a right tackle, which is not something you want in a back-up lineman.

    Let's just hope for the offense's sake that he doesn't have to play too much this season.


    GRADE: C-

Rocky McIntosh

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    I am a HUGE Rocky McIntosh fan. He is one of the more underrated players on the Redskins. I was excited to see that the Skins re-signed him and immediately reinstated him at the starting ILB position next to London Fletcher.

    McIntosh is a terrific tackler who is far above average when it comes to playing against the run. He is somewhat questionable when it comes to his coverage skills, but he can certainly get by covering many tight ends at the NFL level.

    Not only is McIntosh in his prime, but this signing also gives time for Perry Riley and H.B. Blades to develop further. This gives the Skins a ton of depth at all four linebacker positions. When it is time for Fletcher to retire, Blades and/or Riley will be able to look at McIntosh to anchor the linebacker position.


    GRADE: A

Santana Moss

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    Santana Moss agreed to a three-year, $15 million deal, including a $5 million signing bonus.

    This was simply a deal that had to get done. Without Moss, the best WR left on Washington's roster would've been Anthony Armstrong, who is a No. 2 receiver at best. 

    Although Moss is not what he used to be, he is still a solid receiver who will get you 1,000 yards and 7 touchdowns. He is probably better served as a number two, but he is certainly serviceable as a number one for this offense.

    The most impressive thing about this signing is the contract. The Skins re-signed a former Pro Bowler who can still play at a decently high level for only $5 million a year. Agreeing to good contracts is not something the Redskins are used to doing. 


    GRADE: A-

Sav Rocca

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    Similar to the kicking situation, the Redskins have had a poor punting game for years. Sav Rocca will not even come close to fixing the punting situation.

    Rocca is well past his prime, even for a punter. Rocca isn't even at training camp because he is in Australia waiting for a work visa.

    I would've liked to see the Skins target Adam Podlesh, formerly of the Jaguars and currently on the Bears, to be their punter of the future. Instead, the Skins will have to deal with Rocca and whoever else they decide to bring in and join the revolving door at the punter position.


    GRADE: D-

Donte' Stallworth

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    The Skins signed Donte' Stallworth to a one-year deal after an injury-plagued year in Baltimore.

    Last time I counted, the Skins had 11 WRs on their roster. I simple do not see where Stallworth fits in on the depth chart.

    Santana Moss is the clear number one who can go deep and over the middle, Anthony Armstrong is the clear deep threat, Jabar Gaffney will be the possession receiver and Leonard Hankerson will surely see time at the WR position.

    It will be difficult for Stallworth to see time on the field. Do not be surprised if he is cut sometime during pre-season.


    GRADE: D+

Josh Wilson

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    Josh Wilson signed a three-year contract with the Skins for $13.5 million.

    Similar to many of the deals the Skins made this year, this contract is more than reasonable for a solid conerback.

    Wilson was overshadowed in the Ravens defense by players like Ed Reed, Ray Lewis and Haloti Ngata, but he was a solid corner. With the inevitable departure of Carlos Rogers, Wilson will most likely slide into the second CB position, opposite of DeAngelo Hall.

    Wilson is also only 26, so he is just entering his prime. If he continues to improve, the Redskins could ink him to a long extension.


    GRADE: A-