WFT's Top Players to Avoid in 2021 NFL Free Agency

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistMarch 1, 2021

WFT's Top Players to Avoid in 2021 NFL Free Agency

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    Steve Luciano/Associated Press

    The Washington Football Team should be very active in free agency when it kicks off March 17. Washington had a successful campaign in Ron Rivera's first year as head coach and could go from NFC East champion to a legitimate playoff threat with just a few key additions.

    The Football Team is projected to have $31.6 million in cap space, so adding those key pieces is entirely possible.

    However, Washington must be careful not to overspend on the wrong players. While it is in a tremendous financial situation when compared to much of the league, Washington doesn't have the cap space to simply throw away money on the open market. Spending big on the wrong players could derail what should be a positive offseason.

    The Football Team needs to find answers at the quarterback position and at wide receiver—and figure out a way to retain All-Pro guard Brandon Scherff. Players like Cam Newton and Kenny Golladay should at least be on Washington's radar in free agency. The following three players should not.

QB Mitchell Trubisky

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    Brett Duke/Associated Press

    The Football Team signed quarterback Taylor Heinicke to a two-year extension and may or may not have veteran Alex Smith back in the fold for 2021.

    "Hopefully we can bring him back," Heinicke told NFL Network's Andrew Siciliano.

    However, Washington needs to explore all avenues when it comes to the quarterback position. One option Washington shouldn't entertain is Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. While not the worst quarterback in the league this past season—he had a respectable passer rating of 93.5—Trubisky is not a guaranteed upgrade over Heinicke and/or Smith.

    At best, Trubisky was a serviceable game-manager for Chicago. Washington should be looking for more at the position because it is poised to compete in the NFC East for the foreseeable future.

    Rolling the dice on a rookie prospect would make more sense if the Football Team is looking at an extended picture. If Washington is looking to win now, bringing in a journeyman like Ryan Fitzpatrick would make more sense. Trubisky isn't the answer for either quarterback strategy.

Edge Shaquil Barrett

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    Steve Luciano/Associated Press

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers pass-rusher Shaquil Barrett is likely to be one of the most coveted players in free agency this offseason. He was the NFL sack leader in 2019 and was again productive in 2020. While Barrett's sack total dropped from 19.5 to eight this past season, he still produced an impressive 42 quarterback pressures.

    Barrett is also likely to be one of the league's priciest free agents, and he has a projected market value of $19.7 million annually.

    While the Football Team has plenty of cap space with which to play, it shouldn't use a significant chunk of it to sign a player who would be a pure luxury. With Chase Claypool and Montez Sweat on the roster, Washington is already loaded with sack artists.

    As a team, Washington recorded 47 sacks in 2020. Adding a little more punch to the pass rush wouldn't hurt, but the Football Team should be considering budget options and not potential market-setting contracts here.

TE Hunter Henry

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    David Becker/Associated Press

    Adding to the pass rush would be a luxury. Adding to the receiving corps is more of a necessity. Washington ranked just 25th in passing yards this past season and has little after No. 1 receiver Terry McLaurin.

    Tight end Logan Thomas was second on the team with just 670 receiving yards.

    While Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry could be an enticing option for many teams, he shouldn't interest Washington. Thomas was more than serviceable at the position, and Washington should focus more on adding a complementary receiver than a second receiving tight end.

    Henry's good-not-great production and injury history are also concerning.

    He has not produced more than 652 receiving yards in a season, and he's missed a whopping 25 games in five years. Yet he's projected to have a market value of $10.9 million annually.

    Again, Washington has the cap space to sign Henry, but it shouldn't be doubling down on a position of strength. While the idea of two-tight end sets with Thomas and Henry may be alluring, the latter should not be a consideration for the Football Team.

                          

    Contract and cap information via Spotrac.

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