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Redskins’ roster situation requires an active free agency period

Jan 24, 2014, 11:54 AM EDT


Bruce Allen did not talk to the members of the local media who made the trek to Mobile for the Senior Bowl. But he did talk to SiriusXM NFL Radio while he was there and among the topics discussed was free agency.

For the first time since 2011 the Redskins will have the same salary cap limit as the other 31 NFL teams. The salary cap penalty is gone and it sounds like Allen is ready to get to work spending some of the team’s available cap space. By most estimates they are about $29 million under the cap.

“We’ll have some room,” Allen said, (as transcribed by the Washington Post). “We’re gonna have some room to do some things. But we have some players who are free agents, and we’re going to talk to them first, to try to retain them. But we have the ability to maneuver around, and we’ll be active in free agency.”

The word “active” is what has drawn everybody’s attention. But even a cursory glance at the Redskins’ situation tells you that they have no choice but to be active. Sheer numbers tell the story.

Of the 53 players on the roster at the end of the 2013 season, there are about 21 who are under contract and have demonstrated the ability to either be a starter, key reserve, or key special teams performer. About seven more who fit that description ended the season on injured reserve.

There are other players on the roster and on IR who are worth keeping as developmental projects so you can add a few more to the existing core. They have six draft picks and you figure that about four of them will make the roster and that they can pick up an undrafted player or two.

Add those together and subtract out several players who may be released as cap casualties about you probably have about 12 to 15 veteran free agents the Redskins will need to sign. That’s “active” by any definition of the word.

There are some Redskins fans who, for unknown reasons, want the team to repeat what they did in the 1990’s and 2000’s and spend heavily in free agency, bringing in a few big-name, expensive players in the process. That approach has landed the Redskins four playoff spots with zero advances even as far as the conference championship game since 1993. But, to them, “active” means reeling in big names.

The one “big name” the Redskins might sign is their own Brian Orakpo. With a over a dozen holes to fill, there might not be any room for players like WR Eric Decker or S Jairus Byrd. The Redskins’ situation is likely to push them in the direction of signing lesser-know players.

  1. jaxjoe - Jan 24, 2014 at 12:55 PM

    I guess a silver lining is that most of the big dollar positions are filled (QB, LT, OLB) if you expect Orakpo to come back. Corner is arguably the only other high dollar position. So, the $29M should go a long ways. I think a good to very-good player fetches $3M – $5M. That’s an average of 7 or 8 new players. If you need more players, then shed some high dollar players that aren’t contributing; hopefully their dead cap space won’t hurt.

  2. dcsportsfan2277 - Jan 24, 2014 at 1:13 PM

    Sign Orakpo, Riley, DHall & Baker within parameters the team has set!

    Sign proven but not to expensive FA’s at S, WR & ILB. Sign top notch NT (Raji?) and RT (Veldheer?) Make sure that one of these players can return kicks as well!

    As for the draft using

    Round 2

    David Yankey OG
    Calvin Pryor FS
    Morgan Moses OT

    Round 3

    DaQuan Jones DT
    Louchiez Purefoy CB
    Paul Richardson WR

    Round 4

    Ju’Wuan James OT
    Christian Jones ILB
    Brandon Coleman WR

    Round 5

    Seantrel Henderson OT
    Jon Halapio OG
    Christian Kirksey OLB

    Round 6

    Devon Street WR
    Ryan Carrethers DT
    Calvin Barnett DT

    Round 7

    John Urshel OG
    Andrew Jackson ILB
    Russell Bodine OG

    Hope that players such as Phillip Thomas, Rambo, LeReibus, Compton, Gettis, BJenkins, JJenkins, Thompson etc step up to the next level! Upgrade team speed at every opportunity!

    Going to be interesting and let the games begin :)

    Oh yeah, send Danny Boy somewhere in the Himalayas with no contact with the outside world until Training Camp!

    • internetcareer - Jan 24, 2014 at 1:33 PM

      DaQuan Jones DT is an excellent 3rd round pick IF he is still there. But 2nd round I would take Cyril Richardson instead of Yankey because he is bigger, was RG3’s teammate, did I mention he is MASSIVE, and he just looks meaner. Nobody is getting by him to tackle RG3. Cyril Richardson is a man MOUNTAIN.

      • dcsportsfan2277 - Jan 24, 2014 at 1:47 PM

        Not sure he will be there as many mocks have him going sooner than #34. But if he is he would be a excellent choice as well!

      • Rich Tandler - Jan 24, 2014 at 6:56 PM

        From what I saw, Richardson truly was a man mountain in Mobile in that he didn’t move much. Got whipped consistently in drills. I’m highly dubious of taking a guard that high in the second round, can get either lower in the draft or fairly inexpensively in free agency.

        • dcsportsfan2277 - Jan 26, 2014 at 9:27 AM

          You have to start somewhere in rebuilding the O-Line. Get your RT via FA but build your lines through the draft. Wouldn’t it be nice to see Compton, Gettis, Hurt and LeReibus take the next step to starter or add good depth?

          IMHO, get your safety (not Byrd too expensive) RT, WR and NT in FA and depth and speed in the draft. There are many good players in FA that would help immediately and can be had for decent contracts.

    • dcsportsfan2277 - Jan 24, 2014 at 1:59 PM

      As to Free Agents available here is a list of the top 100. We definitely should be able to sign several of them to team friendly contracts especially the ones 50-100:

      Spend wisely Bruce!

      • dcsportsfan2277 - Jan 24, 2014 at 2:37 PM

        It would be wise to save some money for some of these players as well:

        • Rich Tandler - Jan 24, 2014 at 6:50 PM

          It also would be wise to save $ for a new contract for RG3 as I noted earlier this week.

  3. internetcareer - Jan 24, 2014 at 1:21 PM

    Rich, let’s talk about this. Now you say as many as 15 VETERAN free agents we need to sign. hmmmm. That is an awful lot because looking at SLOTS or POSITIONS, we can fill some slots with rookies. Orakpo can be franchised, so that leaves only about 20 million left to sign 14 veteran free agents. If that’s the case, then don’t look for guys with talent because talent costs money.

    I am thinking that Orakpo may have to go if you are right because he is not elite and this franchise really needs to beef up the offensive line and find another receiver. I think signing Decker from Denver would impact this team more than signing Orakpo. Decker would help this offense score more points than Orakpo would prevent. That’s the way I look at it. And we also need to draft Cyril Richardson to stabilize the blind side of that offensive line. Those 2 moves alone make this a much better offense and scoring wins games.

    What do you think about those 2 moves and letting Rak slide to somebody who will overpay?

    • Rich Tandler - Jan 24, 2014 at 7:00 PM

      Who’s going to replace Orakpo? Don’t tell me Rob Jackson, he is not a pass rusher. Hard for me so say you can let Rak go and improve the D at the same time. Pass defense starts with pass rush.

  4. Stephon Gantt - Jan 24, 2014 at 1:33 PM

    The Redskins need to go after Jarius Byrd we havent had a playmaker at safety sine the late great Sean Taylor. #HTTR

    • Rich Tandler - Jan 24, 2014 at 6:57 PM

      But remember how they got Taylor? They drafted him. Can’t build around a guy who’s going to turn 28 before the season is a quarter over.

  5. kenlinkins - Jan 24, 2014 at 1:44 PM

    What date must the Redskins tag Orakpo by? Watching how the Redskins handle him is the key to what they are thinking. (well that and D. Hall w/ cuts to higher priced guys) I also wonder if GM Allen is feeling the pressure to win in 2014 to keep his job. Could that set up a conflict with the new coach who might want to build a team more from the draft than the High priced free agents of 2014. If you believe that most of the Redskins problems in 2014 was coach Shanahan (as many fans do) then re-signing your Free Agents makes since if you are going to use the draft to up grade problem positions or player to fit your system. IMO being too active and spending all of the Cap money in one year is a mistake. This is going to be a very interesting off season to watch the moves the Redskins make. Also, I wonder why GM Allen didn’t talk with the local media guys, you guys are the teams bread and butter as far as marketing go’s, why not include local press?

    • Rich Tandler - Jan 24, 2014 at 6:53 PM

      They have until March 3 to tag.

      Allen did talk to a lot of locals one one one soon after the took over so there has been some contact. But I’m not sure why he wouldn’t take some time in Mobile.

  6. nomaan78 - Jan 24, 2014 at 7:04 PM

    Free Agency

    Jared Veldeheer OT OAK
    Donald Butler ILB SD
    Jon Asamoah OG KC
    Mike Mitchell S CAR


    2nd Austin Seferian-Jenkins TE Washington
    3rd Stanley Jean-Baptiste CB Nebraska
    4th Brandon Coleman WR Rutgers
    5th Jon Halapio OG Florida
    6th Marcus Martin C Southern Cal
    7th Deandre Coleman DT California

    This gives us young vets at RT in Veldeheer, and vet RG in Asamoah, then an young vet ILB tin Butler o pair with Riley while we groom Keenan Robinson some more. Mike Mtchell is a talented young player who will be an upgrade on Rambo. Rambo can develop his game on the bench. While Philip Thomas will be ready to start at SS with Reed Doubty backing him up.

    Austin Sefarian-Jenkins is a massive 6 foot 6 TE and an amzing athlete at TE. Imagine him and Jordan Reed together on the field. Jean-Baptiste is a 6 ft 3 CB who makes plays, is compared to Richard Sherman. It will allow out secondary to be physical with Amerson at 6 foot 1, Mitchell at 6 foot, and Phillip Thomas at 6 foot.

    Brandon Coleman is a big 6 foot 5 WR that is athletic and can give RG3 another big target in the Red zone, and someone who can be a posession WR or possibly something more.

    Marcus Martin is good depth at OG and we can use that accross all of the starters on the O-line

    Deandre Coleman is someone who can come in and compete and possibly make he team if Carriker and Bowen are let go.

  7. nomaan78 - Jan 24, 2014 at 9:42 PM

    Im so ready for Free Agency and the draft. Here is my wish list starting team offense

    QB Robert Griffin III,
    RB Alfred Morris
    FB Darrel Young
    WR Pierre Garcon
    TE Jordan Reed
    LT Trent Williams
    LG Korey Lichtensteiger
    C J/D Walton
    RG Jon Asamoah
    RT Jared Veldeheer
    TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins
    WR David Gettis
    SL Leonard Hankerson

    I still believe in Hankerson regardless of his injuries, and think if RG3 has a solid O-line he can shred defenses with his arm. I have us drafting Brandon Coleman and feel it will take him some time to develop. Gettis is a former RG3 WR from Baylor and he has NFL experience, which may give him a boost for a starting spot if he can show something in the offseason Aldrick Robinson and Hankerson can alternate at all three WR positions.

  8. nomaan78 - Jan 24, 2014 at 10:02 PM

    My wish list for starting defense

    CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste
    FS Mike Mitchell
    OLB Brian Orakpo
    ILB Donald Butler
    DE Stephen Bowen
    NT Chris Baker
    DE Barry Cofield
    ILB Perry Riley
    OLB Ryan Kerrigan
    Nickel CB DeAngelo Hall
    SS Phillip Thomas
    CB David Amerson

    We can eventually move DeAngelo Hall to nickel and Jean-Baptiste outside opposite Amerson, once Baptiste shows he is ready. Both Minnifield and Richard Crawford will be good depth. Gruden did state he wanted to sure up the back end. Mike Mitchell, Jean-Baptiste, will help the back end, along with returning Phillip Thomas, Chase Minnifield, Richard Crawford, and Rambo in his second year.

  9. dcsportsfan2277 - Jan 26, 2014 at 9:53 AM

    Rich…what would be your ideal signings in FA and who would you like to see us draft? Who do you think may slip down to us at #34? Allen Robinson or Kelvin Benjamin at WR? Marcus Roberson or Jason Verrit at CB? Zach Martin or Cyrus Kouandjio? What have you seen from Morgan Moses?

    I have not been following the Senior Bowl so I would like to see your input as you were there. HTTR!

    • Rich Tandler - Jan 27, 2014 at 5:28 AM

      Lots of questions there and I’m not going to answer them in the comments section. You’ll just have to keep following along here and at and you’ll get plenty of details and analysis on free agents and on the draft. Archives

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