Day one of the NFL Free Agency period came and gone and the Washington Redskins are a better team than they ended the regular season. Coming off a 3-13 campaign which resulted in an overhaul with a new coaching staff, offensive philosophy and a franchise that had hit rock bottom, the Redskins looked to start the rebuilding process for a team with holes in every phase of the game, starting with the start of the NFL Free Agency period.
General Manager Bruce Allen should be commended thus far for preventing owner Daniel Snyder from falling into the trap of old habits: spending money on big names that necessarily don’t fit the needs or budget of a team that is not in a win now and rebuild later mode. Allen has done a phenomenal job by attracting low cost, high potential talent that fit in nicely with the many needs that the Redskins have, without compromising the youth movement and long-term future of the franchise. Bruce Allen knows from plenty of experience that a team’s long-term success is tied to a balance of drafting talented players from the trenches up and complimenting inexperienced youth with proven veterans at key positions. That being said, Bruce Allen’s daunting task of rebuilding this once proud franchise started at the sound of the gun.
Before the official start of the Free Agency period on Tuesday afternoon, the Redskins wisely made the decision to place the franchise tag on Brian Orakpo, along with the resigning of Perry Riley to keep the strength of a defense that struggled last season together. Despite the impending retirement of London Fletcher, the Redskins linebacker corps this season is among the best in the NFL with Kerrigan, Orakpo and Riley anchoring Jim Haslett’s defense. The Redskins also rewarded a strong season by DAngelo Hall by given him a well-deserved extension to be the shutdown corner for a secondary that has many questions that have yet to be answered.
Andre Roberts – WR (Arizona Cardinals)
Roberts is best known for his impressive speed (4.36-second 40 yard dash out of college), which will be welcome to this offense as he can also be dual threat in the punt and kick return game as well. Roberts will be entering his sixth season in the NFL with 11 career touchdowns and over 2,000 yards receiving, including last season’s stat line of 43 catches for 471 yards and two touchdowns. At an annual salary of $4 million the Redskins have a legitimate number two receiver opposite Garcon who has a great opportunity to out-perform his contract just like Garcon has in his first two seasons in Washington.
Shawn Lauvao – G (Cleveland Browns)
Head Coach Jay Gruden has been looking to beef up the Redskins offensive line and found a reliable right guard in Shawn Lauvao, who started 11 games for the Browns this season and in all 16 the previous two seasons. At the price of a little more than $4 million a year to protect the franchise quarterback, the Redskins and Robert Griffin III have to be ecstatic that they were able to find a competent lineman at such a bargain price.
Adam Hayward – LB (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
A move that is supposed to primarily boost what was an embarrassing special teams squad, Hayward may also give the Redskins an opportunity to take advantage of his experience with spot starting as he has started 13 times in his seven year NFL career, adding additional depth at the inside linebacker position.
Santana Moss – WR (Resigned with Washington)
Santana Moss will return once again for the Redskins in what should be expected as a limited role in the offense. Moss has sure hands but his breakaway speed and days of elusiveness may be behind him. Moss may be best utilized as a punt and/or kick returner depending on if the Redskins are able to bring in another wide receiver to start in the slot or a return specialist such as Devin Hester or Trendon Holliday.
On the horizon
Baltimore Ravens cornerback Corey Graham is scheduled to have a workout with the Redskins as there is a need to find a starting cornerback opposite of DeAngelo Hall. Graham looks to be a younger and more realistic option financially for the Redskins who are looking to spread their money to improve as many positions as possible, without breaking the bank at one position.