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Need to Know: Five free agents the Redskins should pursue

Mar 10, 2014, 4:57 AM EST

Michael-Mitchell

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, March 10, one day before the start of NFL free agency.

Nickel coverage

Here are five free agents the Redskins should sign, at five different areas of need:

S Mike Mitchell, Panthers—He has been the subject of some buzz this weekend with the Redskins being among the teams reportedly interested. Mitchell does have some tackling issues (18 missed last year) but he should come at a price that reflects his flaws.

ILB Arthur Moats, Bills—His role in the Bills’ defense increased last year as he logged 11 starts. Moats hasn’t make many big plays (no career sacks or interceptions) but he should come fairly cheap and he can serve as a good stopgap while Keenan Robinson or perhaps another draft pick can learn the position.

CB Captain Munnerlyn, Panthers—So why not bring another member of secondary of the Panthers’ second-ranked defense. He turned into a big-play guy in 2013 with three sacks and two interceptions, both returned for TD’s.

WR Andre Roberts, Cardinals—At 5-11 he doesn’t fit the Jay Gruden height profile but he’s still a pretty good option. When he started 15 games in 2012 he dealt with Arizona’s awful quartet of QB’s and still caught 64 passes for 759 yards and five touchdowns.

DL Lival Joseph, NYG—He should be the one big-money free agent the Redskins target and even at that he won’t break the bank. A rotation of him, Barry Cofield, Chris Baker and Jarvis Jenkins would be a solid group in the front of the Redskins’ 3-4 defense.

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Timeline

—It’s been 71 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 181 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL Free agency starts 1; Offseason workouts start 28; NFL Draft 59

In case you missed it

  1. abanig - Mar 10, 2014 at 7:13 AM

    I would hope we’d sign a better inside linebacker – worthy of starting.

    I like Moats – just not as a starter.

    Also, where’s the offensive lineman? They need to sign at least one guy, if not two.

    I like all the selections, I just think we need an OL and an ILB worthy if starting.

    • Rich Tandler - Mar 10, 2014 at 7:59 AM

      I limited it to five but I’m not so sure they will go the free agent route on the line. I think changes should come from within (the 2012 draft picks) or from this year’s draft.

      And not wild about Moats but just want someone who can be a stopgap until K. Robinson or a 2014 draft pick can step into the starting role. A lot here is pending what Riley ends up doing, of course.

      • savagegun - Mar 10, 2014 at 10:30 AM

        I can see why they’d get Moats as he’ll come pretty cheap and will fit in the rotation as a Run Stopper. I also like WR Andre Roberts, from the Cardinals. I really think this kid is going to be something special and he’ll come at the right price.

        With that said, Wide Receiver is a major concern like Safety is. We definitely need a vertical threat that can stretch the field opposite Pierre Garcon. I know a lot of people want to see an Eric Decker or, God Forbid, a Hakeem Nicks buy. I would rather see the ‘Skins look at Kenny Britt (Low Cost High reward), or Emmanuel Sanders (Fast and pretty reasonable cost wise). Both guys are young and could give the team the spark they need on offense.

        As an interesting note: Darren Sproles is on the market. Not only is this one of my favorite players, but the guy is just dynamic. I know he is more of a situational player, but what he brings to the table is extraordinary. I would love to see the Redskins pick him up to replace Moss and give RGIII that quick outlet he’s missing.

        • Rich Tandler - Mar 10, 2014 at 11:58 AM

          Welcome to the boo. Good comments except that Britt is also high risk and really hasn’t been productive enough to make me think that dealing with the knucklehead factor is anything close to being worth it.

        • redskinscaio - Mar 10, 2014 at 1:00 PM

          Darren Sproles would be a great pick up for the special teams. The skins could use a punt returner

        • savagegun - Mar 10, 2014 at 1:17 PM

          I agree, Kenny is high risk and that’ll be the reason he’d be a cheap “Lets find out if he matured at all” kind of pick up. There’s nothing wrong with offering this “knucklehead” a one year contract and see what’s in the tank. He’s 6’3 and has the ability to stretch the field. His problems with dropped passes and performance issues can be resolved with him being on a new team… Maybe. But for a 1 year, show me what you can do, contract, I think he’s worth it. No one denies this kid has the tools and huge talent to play. He fits in Gruden’s style of WR and I see very little downside to picking him up.

          My alternative to Britt would be Jones. Now living in Packer Country I’ve watched a lot of this “Knucklehead”. James has the same issues as Britt does, as far as dropped passes, but will cost more and a longer contract. Jones is looking for a payday and a 3 to 5 year contract. He’s not a #1 guy nor will he ever be. Yes he can stretch the field and yes he’s big and strong, like Britt, but again if anything happens to Garcon do you turn to Jones as your #1 guy? Does he have the potential to raise the level of his game? I say no to both.

        • Rich Tandler - Mar 10, 2014 at 1:25 PM

          Maybe Britt has talent but he hasnt showed it since 2010 and even then he only caught 42 passes. Numbers kind of look like Anthony Armstrongs that year, in fact. A change of team doesnt always help.

          Id rather not give a first-time head coach a knucklehead like that. With 50+ veteran WRs on the market there has to be somebody who is a better fit. Jones is flawed but Id take him; at least hes trying to get something out of his talent. The knucklehead is not.

          > >

        • savagegun - Mar 10, 2014 at 1:44 PM

          And with all that said, the Redskins take:

          1. Aqib Talib
          2. Golden Tate
          3. Eugene Monroe
          4. Donte Whitner
          5. Darren Sproles

          And we’re all wrong! LOL. Of course I’m kidding, but you just never know in this league. What makes sense to us, mean nothing to the brass up stairs. Of course I threw in Darren Sproles with the hope they have SOME sense! hahahaha. Man, I would love that guy in burgundy and gold!

        • Rich Tandler - Mar 10, 2014 at 1:46 PM

          I could get behind Sproles, too, at the right price.

          > >

  2. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Mar 10, 2014 at 8:12 AM

    Rich, do you think those Panthers secondary players benefited from playing behind a terrific from 7…and thus their results might not be duplicated here?

    Also, it seems there is competition for Mitchell’s services. I saw your tweet mentioning that if either the Eagles or ourselves don’t Mitchell, that team might go for Malcolm Jenkins.

    I like the Linval Joseph option. I don’t know anything about Arthur Moats, but we clearly need someone for ILB.

    I’d like to see us get WRs in the draft. It’s so stocked with them, and it’d be nice to develop our own young players.
    ~

    • Rich Tandler - Mar 10, 2014 at 8:27 AM

      Any defensive back benefits from a strong front seven. The Redskins will need one of their own if they are going to have a good defense.

  3. internetcareer - Mar 10, 2014 at 9:14 AM

    Hi Rich…I know you’re just the messenger. I understand that and you don’t choose the players. You just suggest things in articles….and with that…I shall do the same.

    The Redskins are a losing football team and they don’t scare anyone on the schedule. And they won’t scare anyone until they get scary players. Generally scary players get franchised…..”Hardy”, “Orakpo” “Jimmy Graham”

    the guys on your list are really “just a guy”…..That’s not your fault because that’s just how they play. They are average players for the most part although Joseph is above average. My suggestion is to go out and get at least 3 more ABOVE average players on one side of the ball in order to get scary or intimidating.

    I would go OFFENSE? Go get Eric Decker opposite Garcon, bring in McCluster for punt returns and 3rd downs, Use pick 34 and Draft Offensive Line AND then sign Davin Joseph from Tampa to beef up the offensive line. The point is go after above average players and add 3 or 4 on one side of the ball.

    Having 2 great players on defense and 2 great players on offense rarely produces anything. Most playoff teams put 4-5 great players on ONE side of the ball. That is what I hope the Skins do for either offense or defense. Just my opinion.

    • Rich Tandler - Mar 10, 2014 at 10:06 AM

      I get the need for “scary” players. But paying for someone else’s very good/great players almost never works for the Redskins and it has a high failure rate around the rest of the NFL.

      That’s why I want the free agents to be “just a guy”. Have them be competent and fill the hole while the team drafts and develops its own scary players.

      > >

      • kenlinkins - Mar 10, 2014 at 11:09 AM

        Rich: Do you see any “Scary” players that could benefit from having a new coach from the 2011 to 2013 drafts? Any chance that Coach Gruden can develop any of these guys? Most have seemed to topped out or been injuried (or both) with only Morris having broke the pattern.

        • Rich Tandler - Mar 10, 2014 at 12:01 PM

          Other than Brandon Jenkins, who is a long shot, no. But that’s no reason to bring in Eric Decker and pay him $9 mil, either. You’re a big “show me” guy, show me the team that won a Super Bowl (or even got to one) by paying for other teams’ scary players.

        • kenlinkins - Mar 10, 2014 at 1:05 PM

          Rich, I don’t want to sign Decker or any over priced guys, IMO job ONE is draft well, Job TWO is fix the locker room drama, Job THREE find any hidden talent on your own roster and develop them, Job FOUR keep an eye on the future when signing any free agents (cost / production vs. risk / Cap Space 2015). If GM Allen and Coach Gruden can do that and still get to 8 wins, I will be a happy fan. Up grading the roster were to can as you can, and not using the “it is about RG3″ method to sign free agents works for me! How about you?

      • shermanp79 - Mar 10, 2014 at 1:00 PM

        I AGREE!! We have been down that road TOOOO many times. I want young guys who have an arrow up. Also guys who compliment the others on the team. I don’t think Decker is really a top WR. He is going against the teams 2nd or 3rd CB on defense. He got his stats in bunches a game here and there. The Bronco’s passed so much and his numbers are inflated due to Manning. Decker is going to make some team cry like the Dolphins did who signed Wallace. I think Decker lacks strength to take the ball. I think against #1 CB he may have problems. I think the Skins have learned and I expect them to sign guys who we may even question at first but end up being a good signing.

  4. Tom - Mar 10, 2014 at 9:16 AM

    J.P. Finlay article on should the Skins sign Aqib Talib asked for feedback, but had no access to do so. Sorry to use your article to comment on his.

    I think it would be a disaster to sign the aging thug to a big contract. Think Deon Sanders, Jason Taylor or so many other older free-agent busts. Talib could be worse than any of them. If you are going to spend big go after Alterraun Verner-Younger, healthier, not a thug.

    I like your suggestion of trying to sign Mike Mitchell and Captain Munnetlyn. Those two together might cost less than either Verner or Talib would alone and the chemistry they should have from playing together already should help their transition to a new team.

    Bruce Allen–please don’t sign an old, repeat offender on the down side of his career to a 8 to 10 million per year deal. The Skins won’t be rebuilt in one off season. Stick with young hungry players who are good people outside the locker room. Don’t be Vinny C.

    • Devin - Mar 10, 2014 at 12:44 PM

      What about TJ Ward?? I know he’s a bigger name but it seems Mike Mitchell has a bigger market than him, which could lead to a bidding war Mitchell being paid around as much as Ward. I think Phillip Thomas could step into the other starting safety spot

      I think the next priority should be the OL, DL and resigning Perry Riley at a reasonable price. Linval Joseph and/or Arthur Jones would be nice to add to the DLine rotation at the right price. Joe Mays or Bryan Kehl should be considered as special teamers and depth

      With our second round pick, we should get a guy like Jason Verrett or Bradley Roby. Or maybe Kyle Fuller if they’re both gone. And b/c WR is so deep in this draft, we could find a starter in the third and/or depth in the 4th and beyond. Jarvis Landry and L’Damian Washington seem like good options. Leonard Hankerson should be ready for a bigger role (fingers crossed) incase they’re not ready to be a #2 receiver I also like ILB Christian Jones from Florida St as a 3rd or 4th if he slips. CB Aaron Colvin could be a late round steal as well

    • savagegun - Mar 10, 2014 at 1:36 PM

      I’m not ecstatic about the ‘Skins looking at Aqib Talib, but the guy is a ball hawk and is only 28, hardly an aging thug. He’s a hard talent to find in the draft and even harder to get through free agency. I do understand that we don’t want to assemble the old Redskins type model of “Give us your vets”. We do however, need defensive players that can get the ball back into our offenses hands. With out a #1 draft pick we have to grab the best available player that will fit our needs.

      I’d rather see a grab for Branden Albert, or Eugene Monroe for a high dollar spend to shore up some concerns on the OL. Maybe grab Linval Joseph and Paul Soliai to make that 3-4 viable. Then look at bringing in some WR’s as I posted above. Inexpensive fixes that leaves us with some salary cap room for next years contracts and the draft. But who the hell knows… This is the NFL! :)

  5. Faraz Ahsan - Mar 10, 2014 at 12:15 PM

    I think this is a solid list, with Joseph and Mitchell being the two highest priority guys. Arthur Moats is fine assuming we resign Perry Riley. Whats the word on him? And if we manage to sign all five guys whats the likely cap hit going to be?

  6. shermanp79 - Mar 10, 2014 at 12:47 PM

    I think we need a G and a C for the OL. Maybe they move someone else to C but that area needs to get stronger. I like Joseph for the DL. There are a couple of guys I like but I think they need to Draft one too. I think signing a S that has tackling issues isn’t the way to go. We have enough guys that need to fix that problem. I like the CB Captain, he is a good nickel CB who gets his hands on balls along with being great at blitzing. We have an issue at ILB and I think we have to grab Boreland in the 3rd rd. I have no idea what Robinson can do so we don’t need a back up, we need a starter. If we end up in a jam, I would think about Moats then. How much is Butler looking for? Is he still unsigned? I hope Riley comes to his senses. He has played better the past 2 yrs but he still has things to learn. He isn’t a heavy hitter and gets run by at the point of attack and ends up chasing to much. Its really the S or CB making tackles 10 yards later. I like Riley and think he will get better but 7-8 million a year is too much. I know salaries are going to go up the next couple of years but that is still too much. I think others guys get cut as we upgrade positions. The OLine is an example of where that could happen. We have so many young unproven guys I think signing a FA is the way to go. We then can cut the guy he replaces. It’s the only way I see to do it, we have so many needs. The OL is important to RG3’s health and drafting a young guy only brings in another inexperienced guy. He may be better and maybe right away but we don’t know. That area we need to know. I think one of the young guys can play RG. I think they should sign Swartz to play LG next to Williams. Maybe keep Montgomery as a back up C and G. I don’t know if any of the young guys can play C so I’m not sure what they plan. Maybe a cheaper veteran for 2 yrs fills the gap until we draft one next yr or figure out what the young guys can do. I don’t think Polumbus is as bad as others do but it would help him to work with a good coach and hit the weight room. He has only started 2 yrs so he can get better. His salary increase hurts him because now you can replace him for not much more than what he makes. I guess an extra million it would be worth looking at who could replace him. We really need a guy that can switch to LT if an injury occurred and I IN NO WAY TRUST POLUMBUS THERE!! If we grabbed Collins? from Cin he could or Oher could play both positions. Do we do that and sign Swartz? Is that enough to protect RG3? The line has some success until defenses know what is coming and then they get blown up! We need a line that can be strong enough to force their will on the defense and run a play even when defenses know what is coming. When the PISTOL wasn;t being used Morris was stopped , there were times in games where the offense was useless. It was like all or nothing. The way plays were called had some to do with it but lack of strength hurt too. It clearly wont all be fixed this off-season but what areas do we leave for next year? I want young guys who compliment guys on the team. Lord knows we all could write for hours on our ideas. I guess we will find out tomorrow their plans.

  7. redskinscaio - Mar 10, 2014 at 1:04 PM

    Dansby to a huge one year deal please. Re sign Orakpo and Hall urgently!

    • CavemanCatching - Mar 10, 2014 at 3:27 PM

      Dude, Hall IS resigned and ‘Po is Franchised.

  8. colmac69 - Mar 10, 2014 at 1:44 PM

    Fix defense first and foremost…thats were money nds to go….as for o-line we nd one or two of young guys to step up rather than throw money at free agent linemen (is that not why u draft young lineman?)..if we have to stay with same line then fine (last two yrs they shown they can move ball and u have to think rgiii will b much improved)…poss upgrade receiver but that b all I would do on offense this yr…defense defense defense

  9. CavemanCatching - Mar 10, 2014 at 3:25 PM

    Substitute TJ Ward for Mitchell, and Golden Tate for Roberts, and I think you’ve got it. Ward can be had for just a bit more $ than Mitchell … but, won’t have the tackling issues. Last thing we need is another safety who can’t wrap up. Plus, Gruden knows him. Tate is a similar type of receiver but his stats have improved each year. Last year, Roberts’ stats dropped off dramatically.

    • Rich Tandler - Mar 10, 2014 at 5:23 PM

      Hi, and welcome to the blog. But please be real. Ward is going to get a lot more than “a bit more dollars” than Mitchell. Maybe not quite twice as much but in that neighborhood. And Tate a lot more than Roberts.

      • CavemanCatching - Mar 11, 2014 at 3:36 PM

        Thanks, Rich!
        What I should have said is that Ward won’t break the bank, as Talib or Byrd would do, and be a major upgrade over Mitchell who has several question marks surrounding him like missed tackles and the fact that he played well on what was already a very good defense (ie. the surrounding players made him better than he actually is). He still won’t get 2x the money Mitchell will, either.
        As for Tate, I never said he wouldn’t cost more than Roberts. I just said that I thought he was a better receiver. He’s also a better returner … Roberts hasn’t been used in that role much the last two seasons. Though, the debate is no longer moot as the Skins seem set to sign Roberts in about 30 minutes.

      • CavemanCatching - Mar 14, 2014 at 8:31 PM

        FYI, Rich. Ward and Mitchell signed for nearly identical numbers … $5.6 MIL and $5 MIL, per year, respectively. Guess it was just “a bit more”! We could have easily afforded Ward’s contract.

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