Now that I have outlined who I would and would not keep from our own free agents, now comes the interesting part: what other free agents should we go after to improve this team? While our needs certainly could change depending on who we do ending up resigning from our current team (ie. Landry and Fletcher), this post will be off of the assumption that the Redskins do as I have outlined in my previous post of keeping our own free agents as most of the moves were fairly standard. Here are the major needs that this team has right now: QB, WR, OL, ILB, and CB. Below I will outline the top free agents at all of these positions and give my opinion on what the Redskins should do:
1. Drew Brees, QB, Saints. Age: 33- Obviously one of the top QB’s in the league, can’t imagine he would leave the great situation he has down in New Orleans right now though.
2. Peyton Manning (possibly), QB, Colts. Age: 35- I saw possibly because he has technically not decided if he wants to leave Colts yet (or if they want to keep him), but if he does leave than much like Brees, he is a top-level QB if healthy.
3. Matt Flynn, QB, Packers. Age: 27- Very interesting player because he has such a limited sample size but, was very successful in that small sample, including his 480 yard performance against the Lions in week 17. He is entering his prime and has a lot of potential.
4. Kyle Orton, QB, Chiefs. Age: 29- Decent QB, in his prime. Nothing flashy about him but he is what I would say is an average QB in this league, which is obviously an upgrade over Grossman.
My Take: Other than Brees, I see these 3 other guys as a real possibility for the Skins. There were plenty of other guys on this list, but I just can’t imagine than being possible options as a starting QB here in Washington. The bottom line here is that the Redskins need a QB and it should be there #1 priority, with Grossman not only being a free agent, but even if we resign him, he is only affective in a backup QB role. Now I have already wrote a post about these guys and I choose to take Peyton Manning because I think the skins are entering “win now” mode, but this decision will come down to how healthy Manning is, and whether we are looking up to trade for RGIII in the draft.
1. Mike Wallace (RFA), WR, Steelers. Age: 26- One of the fastest WR’s in the league, but I doubt the Steelers let him get away.
2. Dwayne Bowe, WR, Chiefs. Age: 27 – Very good receiver and I think he actually is a possibility for leaving KC and looking elsewhere. Is very talented and would be a great fit in D.C.
3. Vincent Jackson, WR, Chargers, Age: 29- One of the top WR talents in the NFL, from what I am hearing it seems like he is going to leave San Diego, would be another great fit in Washington.
4. Wes Welker, WR, Patriots. Age: 31- Great productive player, little guy though so don’t think he would fit very well next to Santana Moss. Can’t imagine Belicheck letting him get away anyways.
5. Steve Johnson, WR, Bills. Age: 26- Great talent, bit of a clown, would fit in great with the Wizards. I don’t think he is my top choice out of this bunch to come to Washington, but I sure wouldn’t mind it.
6. Brandon Lloyd, WR, Rams. Age: 31- Solid WR, already had a stint in D.C. a few years ago that failed though. He also said he was going to follow Josh McDaniels wherever he goes and I am sure he won’t be in Washington.
7. Marques Colston, WR, Saints. Age: 29- Colston is a legitimate option for the Skins as well as a solid threat on the field. With all the weapons the Saints has I could see him wanted to leave so he could be the star somewhere and he certainly would be that here in Washington.
8 DeSean Jackson, WR, Eagles. Age: 25- Quick, young, and explosive WR. Don’t think he would fit in D.C. real great due to his diminutive size and lined up across from Santana Moss we don’t really need that right now. Apparently the Eagles are thinking about franchising him as well.
9. Mario Manningham, WR, Giants. Age: 26- Superbowl hero, will probably earn him a lot of money somewhere. I think he is a good, not great WR (possibly the 3rd best on the Giants). I would like someone better than him, but I’ve realized with the Skins that beggars can’t be choosers.
10. Reggie Wayne, WR, Colts. Age: 33- Reggie is getting up there in age, but he is still a very productive WR. I think he can be a number one guy for a couple more years somewhere. It will be very interesting though how his decision is affected by where Peyton ends up though or vice-versa.
My Take: As you can see, there are a ton of good WR’s on the market this year. While some of them will probably be re-signed or franchised, anytime Reggie Wayne is 10th on the list, you know it’s a good class and some of them are definitely going to hit the market. For the Skins, right now we have a few quality WR’s in Moss, Gaffney, and Hankerson; but they are all secondary WR’s so we need that #1 guy. Moss is going to be our #2 for the next few years so I think we need a bigger guy to offset him and make the tough catches in traffic and in the red zone that we need. My list in terms of how I would approach the free agent WR if I was the Redskins would be in this order: 1. Dwayne Bowe 2. Vincent Jackson 3. Marques Colston 4. Reggie Wayne 5. Stevie Johnson 6. Mario Manningham. All of these guys have decent size and would be a formidable number one WR on this team. I would be ecstatic if we got any of the top 3 guys on this list and would be pretty content just getting any of them, because when the Skins get a new QB, he is going to need a #1 WR to throw to.
1. Carl Nicks, G, Saints. Age: 27-
2. Ben Grubbs, G, Ravens. Age: 28
3. Evan Mathis, G, Eagles. Age: 30
4. Mike Brisiel, G, Texans. Age: 29
5. Kraig Urbik (RFA), G/C, Bills. Age: 26
1. Jared Gaither, OT, Chargers. Age: 26
2. Demetrius Bell, OT, Bills. Age: 28
3. Jeff Backus, OT, Lions. Age: 34
4. Kareem McKenzie, OT, Giants. Age: 33
5. Geoff Schwartz (RFA), OT/G, Panthers. Age: 26
My Take: I don’t know nearly enough about other teams’ linemen to give an accurate assessment of them but I do know that these are the top guys in this years FA class and they are all pretty good. In terms of the guard position for the Redskins, our starters Kory Lichensteiger and Chris Chester did an okay job last year but, they could certainly be upgraded. Any one of these guys are better than them but, due to the fact that both our guards played decent last year, it’s not a huge priority, but would be nice. In terms of tackles, we are looking to replace right tackle Jammal Brown who has not been able to stay healthy for the Skins, and when he is on the field hasn’t been real good. He hasn’t been terrible, but much like the guards we could use an upgrade there if we want to compete for a championship. I would be happy getting one of these guys at either tackle or guard, but getting 2 of them would make me ecstatic.
1.Stephen Tulloch, ILB, Lions. Age: 27
2. David Hawthorne, ILB, Seahawks. Age: 27.
3. Curtis Lofton, ILB, Falcons. Age: 26.
4. Dan Connor, ILB, Panthers. Age: 26
5. DeAndre Levy (RFA), ILB, Lions. Age: 25
6. Jovan Belcher (RFA), ILB, Chiefs. Age: 25
7. Chase Blackburn, ILB, Giants. Age: 29
8. Larry Grant (RFA), ILB, 49ers. Age: 27
9. Jameel McClain, ILB, Ravens. Age: 27
10. Jonathan Goff, ILB, Giants. Age: 26
My Take: It is possible that both our starting ILB’s London Fletcher and Rocky McIntosh will not be on the team next season, but I think it is much more likely that the Skins keep Fletcher and let McIntosh walk because Fletcher is the leader of this defense. I am not sure why there has been a lot of hate for McIntosh though, because I thought he was pretty good last year. But either way if McIntosh does leave than we need to find his replacement because I like his current replacement (Perry Riley) as more of a backup. I would be fine with any one of these guys, they are all pretty young (mid to upper 20′s) and are pretty good linebackers and would probably be an upgrade over McIntosh. If Rocky does leave it is definitely a need for us, but if he stays than we are solid at this position in my opinion.
1. Lardarius Webb (RFA), CB, Ravens. Age: 25
2. Brandon Carr, CB, Chiefs. Age: 26
3. Cortland Finnegan, CB, Titans. Age: 28
4. Carlos Rogers, CB, 49ers. Age: 31
5. Brent Grimes, CB, Falcons. Age: 29
6. Richard Marshall, CB, Cardinals. Age: 27
7. Tracy Porter, CB, Saints. Age: 26
8. William Middleton, CB, Jaguars. Age: 26
9. Terrell Thomas, CB, Giants. Age: 27
10. Jason Allen, CB, Texans. Age: 29
My Take: So here is the deal with the Redskins CB situation: they have 2 good CB’s in DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson and then basically crap after that. The problem is that while Hall and Wilson are good, neither are #1 cover corners and we struggle to cover the other team’s top WR every game. Basically we need that shutdown corner who can guard the league’s top WR’s every game. On this list, I actually think that Carr and Webb are the only two that fit that description so if we are going to go that route (which is what I want) than we have to go for those two. If those two don’t workout, we should definitely still go for one of these other guys because than we would at least have 3 good CB’s. While we still wouldn’t have anybody to stop the other team’s main WR, we could at least shutdown their secondary WR’s which we haven’t been able to do other than whoever Wilson is covering. Carlos Rodgers won’t come here and Cortland Finnegan is apparently going to St. Louis to play for Jeff Fisher, but I think any of those other guys are fair game.
If I had to prioritize our needs in order of position it would go like this 1.QB 2.WR 3.CB 4.OL 5.ILB. Grossman obviously isn’t going to get this team anywhere and if we do get a good QB than he needs a top of the line WR across from Santana to throw to. I fully expect the Redskins to go after a lot of these guys and we got pretty lucky this year because this years’ free agent class if pretty stacked, especially at the position that we want. Do I think we will get everyone that I want at each position? Of course not, but as long as we upgrade these positions in some way, I truly believe that we can contend next year.