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What the Redskins need-according to the Sporting News

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servumtuum

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This article just popped up in one of my feeds so I thought I'd throw it out there as a conversation starter.


From John Keim on The Sporting News site:

Redskins offseason plans: Foundation set but managing cap crucial

For a change, the Washington Redskins enter the offseason knowing who their quarterback is and that they don't have to make major roster changes. It's a new day thanks to Robert Griffin III as long as his knee responds. The Redskins only need to tweak the roster.

Their biggest issue aside from Griffin's rehab will be managing the salary cap and re-signing key players such as tight end Fred Davis. While Davis is not an elite tight end, he's a playmaker and has improved as a blocker. The Redskins franchised him last year, but can't afford to do so again. If they re-sign him, it would have to be to a creative multiyear deal to ease the cap hit.

Managing the cap is crucial while trying to not restructure too many contracts and thereby pushing bad deals into more seasons. But this will force the Redskins to draft well and develop talent, something they haven't done well the past decade. The return of injured players including linebacker Brian Orakpo and defensive end Adam Carriker will help.

— NFC East rivals: Dallas Cowboys | New York Giants | Philadelphia Eagles

Key departures

It's difficult to say who will leave, though it's clear the Redskins can't re-sign all their free agents. It's possible left guard Kory Lichtensteiger won't return because of cap issues, plus the fact they selected Josh LeRibeus in the third round last season. But Lichtensteiger is a valuable backup if nothing else because of his ability to play center.

Tight end Chris Cooley won't return, but that's not a surprise given he was cut last summer before returning as the No. 3 tight end. Free safety Madieu Williams struggled as a starter and plays a spot the team must upgrade. Williams would be missed as a backup, but not as a starter.

Needs/targets

1. Safety. The Redskins had no playmakers at strong or free safety and played most of last season with two backups in Williams and Reed Doughty.

Brandon Meriweather's return from a torn ACL will help; he made an impact in the one game he played. But the team must find a free safety with speed.

Doughty is best used as a backup. There is youth in DeJon Gomes and Jordan Bernstine, but neither projects as a starter. Their safeties are interchangeable so finding one who can cover is paramount.

Cap space will hurt when pursuing a free agent, but the team could seek a bargain, perhaps Kenny Phillips or a low-value player such as Corey Lynch. The draft is deep at this position in the middle rounds so keep an eye on players such as Florida International's Jonathan Cyprien or Georgia's Bacarri Rambo. They could always hope Tanard Jackson can play when he returns from an indefinite drug suspension before the season. But that's a major, and foolish, gamble.

2. Cornerback. If they can afford to bring back DeAngelo Hall, the Redskins at least have their starters. But Hall is a tricky because of his $9 million cap figure in 2013 — he's no longer a value. If nothing else he'll have to take a pay cut. Regardless, they must find a corner for depth.

They can re-sign Cedric Griffin to be a third corner, but they really must find a player they can groom. When looking at the free agent list, it's tough to see the team being able to afford a quality corner if it does something at safety. Secondary coach Raheem Morris has ties to Aqib Talib, but he's a risk. Oregon State's Jordan Poyer and Boise State's Jamar Taylor, who had an excellent Senior Bowl week, are second- or third-round possibilities.

3. Right tackle. The Redskins did an excellent job running the ball last season so it's not as if there's a major problem up front. However, Tyler Polumbus was signed to be a backup and yet he started 16 games. It's likely they'll look to upgrade even if they re-sign him. The Redskins could use more consistency at the position, especially when creating cutback lanes.

They drafted Tom Compton in the sixth round last year, but he's inexperienced and it's tough to imagine him starting in 2013.

If the Redskins want to spend, they could sign free agent Sebastian Vollmer. But there's an equal chance they'll have to settle for a Polumbus-Compton split again. It's hard to imagine them drafting a tackle high in this case so it's possible they could look at North Carolina's Brennan Williams or Boston College's John Wetzel after the third round.

4. Tight end. Even if they re-sign Davis, the Redskins will take a look at bolstering this position. Davis is coming off a torn Achilles' and is one strike away from a year-long drug suspension. Converted receiver Niles Paul remains a project. That leaves steady and effective Logan Paulsen as the mainstay. They must find someone else.

If they can't re-sign Davis, the Redskins absolutely must find a solid receiving threat. Paulsen has strong hands, but isn't fast. Paul is fast, but struggles to catch. The Tennessee Titans' Jared Cook is a free agent, but he's a poor blocker and the Redskins need someone who can run and catch in their zone-stretch scheme. Houston Texans restricted free agent James Casey would help at fullback and tight end.

If they lose Davis and want to replace his athleticism, Florida's Jordan Reed would be available in the second or third round. This converted quarterback is developing at tight end, though needs work on his blocking.

5. Inside linebacker. This could just as easily be receiver as both positions depend on a couple factors. If London Fletcher decides to retire, the Redskins clearly would have a need. But if they must cut Santana Moss for cap space, they'll have to find another slot receiver.

They do have young receivers Leonard Hankerson and Aldrick Robinson, but the latter is way too inconsistent and the former is best used at the Z position.

Even if Fletcher returns the Redskins would be wise to keep looking for his replacement. They have Lorenzo Alexander (if he re-signs) and Keenan Robinson (who ended his rookie season on IR). Alexander isn't as strong in coverage and Robinson is still learning this position. But considering most expect Fletcher to return, they'll likely fill any hole at this spot in the draft. Iowa State's A.J. Klein would be an intriguing pick late because of his intensity and intelligence, but he'll have to improve in coverage.

Keim's take

The Redskins would love to be aggressive in free agency, but losing $18 million in cap space because of their sanctions from the 2010 uncapped year will limit their options. They lack a first-round pick because of the Griffin trade, but they have been good at acquiring more picks in each of the past three drafts and that likely will continue.

The key is finding a way to keep players such as Davis and even Moss, both of whom have value. Hall is worth keeping because the team lacks an alternative; would another free agent be willing to sign a creative deal to come here and replace him?

But the Redskins are in good shape with their roster. They also return Roy Helu at running back; his speed should help on third downs and screen plays. If they keep Davis, he and receiver Pierre Garcon should form a good combination — they were rarely on the field together in 2012.

So the Redskins don't necessarily need free agency to improve. A return to health of key players and a solid draft, along with the development of the past two drafts — which yielded an NFL-high 21 picks — will help as much as anything.
The one thing I found most interesting was Keim's stament apparently diminishing free agency as being all that esential to te Redskins' future plans.

Article link: http://aol.sportingnews.com/nfl/story/2013-02-10/washington-redskins-draft-2013-offseason-free-agents-robert-griffin-iii-fred-dav
 

Beans

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The only thing the Redskins need is RG3's upgraded bionic knee. **** what you heard about deer antler spray, we're gonna sprinkle on some wooly mammoth tusk juice with a splash of stem cells.
 

Beans

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Safety is a major concern for me. It'll be interesting to see how this offseason shakes out. Are the Skins holding out hope for cap relief with regards to the heinous "penalty" doled out at the behest of the Giants and Eagles? If that's not the definition of "violating the spirit" of competition I don't know what is. I really wish Snyder would just go nuclear (hey,it's not y money and **** the NFL), but I realize that's just not practical.
 

Jugband McGillicuddy

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Army Marshall

This will be year #8 for all those who cry "they have to replace Doughty." Eventually y'all will be right. :laugh:

Dude has doubled the "life expectancy" of an NFL career. I may be his only real fan. (Well, me, Sean Taylor, Joe Gibbs, Mike Shanahan, Bruce Allen, and a host of other people who don't really matter, but whatev.) :)
 

tshile

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I like Doughty. I just don't think he's an every down starting safety. He's a great role player, like Alexander. You need those guys to be a successful team.
 

tshile

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The only thing the Redskins need is RG3's upgraded bionic knee. **** what you heard about deer antler spray, we're gonna sprinkle on some wooly mammoth tusk juice with a splash of stem cells.
I'm stealing that.
 

servumtuum

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Along the lines of Beans mentioning safeties, I've been checking out the situation of Steelers safety Keenan Lewis. Apparently Pittsburgh restructured the contracts of some of their older players in order to keep them around and are now hampered by their cap space in trying to keep somebody like Lewis-who is now getting $1.23 million a year. Lewis led the league in passes defended in his second year as a starter in 2012 and, of course dependent upon how the Redskins cap situation plays out, might be a not-too-awfully-expensive direction to go for a notable upgrade at safety.
 

Beans

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Along the lines of Beans mentioning safeties, I've been checking out the situation of Steelers safety Keenan Lewis. Apparently Pittsburgh restructured the contracts of some of their older players in order to keep them around and are now hampered by their cap space in trying to keep somebody like Lewis-who is now getting $1.23 million a year. Lewis led the league in passes defended in his second year as a starter in 2012 and, of course dependent upon how the Redskins cap situation plays out, might be a not-too-awfully-expensive direction to go for a notable upgrade at safety.
From all accounts on the net, it appears he wants starting corner $$$. I wish, but I don't think it's a possibility.
 

Lanky Livingston

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Pretty comprehensive list. Keim is usually on the ball with his stuff; thanks for sharing!
 

Dead Money

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if we dont upgrade the oline ill friggin lose it. as for doughty, love the guy but hes just not that good, he did step up in the playoffs bigtime though. and we need a nt.
We have an NT or actually 2 or 3 of them. We just need a better one. Been saying it since Coefield played a couple of games, a bigger, better NT would do wonders for this defense. Sadly easy said then found.

I bag on Doughty from time to time, mainly because he's not a starter and gets put in that position where too much is asked of him far too often. With that said, I like him but him and M. Williams are easy to dislike when things are going badly back there.

And Lanky is the only resident hipster here (cause of his Ginger Beerd.)
 

Fear The Spear

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So the Redskins don't necessarily need free agency to improve. A return to health of key players and a solid draft, along with the development of the past two drafts — which yielded an NFL-high 21 picks — will help as much as anything.
Don't know how can he say we can improve without free-agency, when he himself describes the dire need at Safety, yet offers no non-free-agency answers. None of the current players on our roster, including Merriweather, is the answer at either safety position, and neither is anyone in the draft.
We HAVE to grab a Safety or 2 in free agency.
 

Shi no Tenshi

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if Merriweather can stay healthy he is clearly an improvement at safety. If he can keep himself out of trouble AND healthy he is the answer at safety.

but if is a big word.
I will say this for Meriweather: he was injured pretty much all season, but we didn't hear anything about misconduct with him during the season in spite of his large amount of down time. Hopefully he has turned the corner on that.
 

Fear The Spear

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I will say this for Meriweather: he was injured pretty much all season, but we didn't hear anything about misconduct with him during the season in spite of his large amount of down time. Hopefully he has turned the corner on that.
Not during the season - but of course, had a DUI just prior to the season
 

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