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Options remain at safety for the Redskins

Mar 12, 2014, 8:18 AM EDT


There was a run on the safety position during the first hours of NFL free agency. Unfortunately the Redskins, who are in need of two starting caliber safeties, were not participants.

They were interested in Jairus Byrd of the Bills but not for anything close to the $54 million over six years he got from the Saints. They were probably shopping more in the neighborhood of New Orleans’ Malcolm Jenkins, who signed with the Eagles (3 yr./$15.5 mil) and Mike Mitchell. The Redskins were know to be very interested in the former Panther who went to the Steelers for $25 million over five years.

In all, eight of the top nine safeties in the rankings from our corporate cousins at Rotoworld signed contracts yesterday. Only former Dolphin Chris Clemons, ranked fifth, remains unsigned.

So Clemons, who is solid in coverage but has only four interceptions in his five NFL seasons, is an option for the Redskins. So is Nate Allen, who has started 54 games in four seasons with the Eagles and after some rocky times he appeared to improving last year. Allen, coincidentally, was the player that the Eagles drafted with the second-round pick that the Redskins sent to Philly in the Donovan McNabb deal.

Some other available safeties are the Bears’ Major Wright (9 interceptions in last 3 years with 3 TD returns), Thomas DeCoud, who was released by the Falcons yesterday (Pro Bowl in 2012, struggled along with the rest of the Falcons D last year), and Kendrick Lewis of the Chiefs (50 starts, 7 interceptions in four seasons).

There also is the option of re-signing Brandon Meriweather and Reed Doughty, last year’s starters. That would excite nobody—in fact, it would have the opposite effect with much of the fan base—but it could plug the hole until better solutions can be found in the draft, on the roster (perhaps Phillip Thomas can develop into a starter) or in free agency in 2015.

The Redskins could also sign a cornerback (Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Antonio Cromartie are two top options there) and move DeAngelo Hall to safety. But they would rather keep Hall at corner at least this year so that is a back-burner option.

  1. jorance72 - Mar 12, 2014 at 9:04 AM


    I’d be happy with Clemons. He’d definitely be an upgrade to what we’ve had here.

    What do you make of us not landing a Safety on Day 1? We’re focused on spending wisely? Too pricey? Guys wanted to play elsewhere? Or, maybe we’re still kicking the tires on Thomas?

    I was also a little disappointed we didn’t sign Joseph on the D Line. I think his addition would’ve set us up nicely for a few years.

    Oh well, we’ll see what the rest of FA brings…I still think we’re headed in the right direction!

  2. RussianBreadMaker - Mar 12, 2014 at 9:06 AM

    Please do not bring back Doughty. Holy god it’s been long overdue. I understand that he is a stand up guy and the kind of person you want in your lockeroom, but for crying out loud, he is the worst in coverage and every other QB in the league knows that.

  3. savagegun - Mar 12, 2014 at 9:07 AM

    I will admit that last night I was pretty angry at the lack of movement in this area. I just kept saying, “Hey, at least you’re not one of those poor miserable bast***s who love the Raiders.”

    It’s not only the lack of a Safety, but linemen as well. If the Safety position wasn’t going to materialize then move on to the next weak area, the OL, or CB. Unfortunately not a whole lot of progress there either. In fact, the only pick-up I really liked was Andre Roberts.

    Whos off our radar:
    Eric Decker is not coming to Washington, he’ll most likely be a Jet today.
    Hakeem Nicks will be a Panther before the days out. (Thank God).
    Aqib Talib signed with the Broncos for some exuberant amount.
    All Safeties worth their salt are gone.

    We can still make a couple power moves.
    Who’s available:
    B.J Raji would make an awesome NT. Still in his prime.
    Lamar Woodly would fill the void that Fletcher left behind.
    Julian Edleman is still out there looking for a Slot position or that number 2 WR.
    Rich Tandler’s “Knucklehead” James Jones is waiting in the wings.
    I guess if we wanted a wide-out for cheap, Emmanuel Sanders and Kenny Britt( My Knucklehead) are still on the UFA list.

    • timwillhidetimwillhide - Mar 12, 2014 at 7:03 PM

      Lamar Woodley Played OLB for the Steelers He can’t play ILB whole different skill set. I would be excited to get B.J. Raji and/or Emmanual Sanders

  4. Stephfan - Mar 12, 2014 at 9:09 AM

    I like the idea of signing one of those cb’s and then sign a capable safety and thrn draft that one safty I think his name is Sammy.. I know he is big over 6’1 and a ball hawk/heavy hitter.. Could be a Landry or Taylor clone if groomed well. But in my eyes no one was better than Taylor since he passed.. Landry was getting there. But hr could be what we need for safty.. Then let Philips come in when he heathy! Let he work and boy do I hear great tandem..

  5. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Mar 12, 2014 at 9:15 AM

    I’m surprised that the Bucs got CB Alterraun Verner for a four-year, $26.5 million deal.

    Verner is pretty good.

  6. shermanp79 - Mar 12, 2014 at 9:32 AM

    They still have a lot of work to do. They should have offered RAK an early FA deal to save a couple million off the cap Once contracts started coming out. They have a much better idea today where his value is vs the guys who have signed. Then they could of went another couple million to sign Byrd. I guess that could of been the problem with Franchising him. I haven’t seen the signings other than here and there info. It seems that a deal for RAK would fall below 11.5 million per year.

  7. kenlinkins - Mar 12, 2014 at 9:38 AM

    I am not giving up hope on Thomas and Rambo, but like you said, Hope is not a plan. I only see one true NFL ready Safety in the draft and that is Clinton Dix from Bama and I do not think he will fall to us but if he does I would jump on him real quick. If we draft someone like Ward, Brooks, Dixon in the 3rd or 4th round, we are still in the same position of waiting for a guy to show he can start (we will just have more chances for that to happen.) The price for a starting Safety in the NFL has jumped and it seems many teams were looking to get better there with so many signing on day one. Signing Doughty as a back up and Special teams player makes sense but counting on Meriweather again is just another heart break waiting to happen. We could draft a CB early and move Amerson to Safety or sign a Free Agent CB and move him to Safety but it seems to me our best chance to fill the holes are still Thomas and Rambo developing. The game speed of NFL games hurt Rambo as he was late getting anywhere and he should be better in 2014, as for Thomas, he will be just like an NFL rookie walking into camp this year and will need time. IMO we are going to have to take our lumps at Safety this year as a Stop Gap guy is the answer early and Rambo, Thomas and a draft pick will either break out later in the year or cost us a few games learning the position on the fly. By now we should be pretty good at covering up a weakness at Safety as we have face it year in and year out since the death of Sean Taylor.

  8. internetcareer - Mar 12, 2014 at 9:50 AM

    the bottom line is that the Redskins are going to be competing with the Cowboys and Giants for last place because PHILLY is by far and away the best team in the division. They have more playmakers on their team than all 3 of the other NFC EAST teams.

    The team with the most playmakers wins and the Eagles are loaded on offense. Skins just need to have a solid draft and then continue building. Maybe next year they will escape mediocrity.

    • jorance72 - Mar 12, 2014 at 9:59 AM

      I would agree that Philly is the favorite, BUT I think Teams will start figuring out ways to better defend the Chip Kelly Offense. Also, I seriously doubt that Nick Foles has the same kind of season in 2014 as he did in 2013.

      • rtcwon - Mar 12, 2014 at 12:27 PM

        Exactly, I see the Eagles as one trick ponies that will get found out, just like we did last year.
        The Cowboys and Giants do not have talent or cap space. We have talent and cap space, it will take considerable misfortune to not win the division this year, even with patchwork safeties again. I was looking forward to a safety or two to at least put up a fight in the playoffs. With all the guys we got yesterday so cheap and sad state of our division there is so much potential in this team.

  9. shermanp79 - Mar 12, 2014 at 10:04 AM

    I think they should sign a guy and I think they should bring back Biggers. I don’t know if any S left is a long term answer. We have Rambo and Thomas who could develop. I’m interested in seeing what Thomas can do and how much Rambo can grow. If they sign a guy for 2 yrs and maybe they can draft one by next year. They will have a 1st rd pick and it’s more likely they can find a guy that can start day one. I don’t think they should draft one high this year when they have 2 young guys taken last year. I guess you can question if Rambo will be more than a 3rd safety. I don’t think he played enough to really know.. I prefer Biggers over Dougherty and Merriweather because he is a headcase. They all need to play ST so that is only place Dougherty has an advantage. He could be brought back but slide further on the depth chart or just be a ST guy and an emergency guy at S. I don’t see other teams signing him for much more. He has been chasing guys too much.He does play better closer to the line but he isn’t a hitter. Biggers gives them flexibility being able to play both CB and S and prefer him out of the three if that is the only choice. They felt they just couldn’t afford the top guys. Where is Captin? Did I miss him signing somewhere? I like him over Grahmn.

  10. vtsquirm - Mar 12, 2014 at 11:02 AM

    Safety is the only position that really concerns me. We have got to get a quality starter before the draft. I’m glad that Allen is having restraint, but this is one spot where i think we could spend a little money and be ok.

  11. lpddawg - Mar 12, 2014 at 11:03 AM

    I really like the way the day played out yesterday.Would I have liked the Skins to sign a safety?Sure would have.But a player has to want to come here I am also glad they didnt overpay for one too.I like how they seem to be thinking ahead and not getting into Salary Cap Hell in a few years when the contracts of RG,Alfred,T.Williams and Kerrigan come due.But yesterday was only Day 1 of free agency there is still plenty of time to get safety and oline help.And maybe the asking prices will drop.Just my 2 cents worth.

    • ajbus1 - Mar 12, 2014 at 5:17 PM

      I agree. Being so used to the skins making a splash signing I was getting impatient but after I looked at it I realized they’re finally rebuilding the right way. If they can land a safety and a d-lineman then they’ve brought in a FA at every postion of need. My guess is they will try to do the same thing in the draft. We might struggle this year but it’ll be worth it in the long run. You have to have a more complete roster for splash signings to make full impact. I think we’ll see a guy like Ryan Clark here or Meriweather back and hopefully they land Cory Graham before they’re done in free agancy. HTTR!

      • ajbus1 - Mar 12, 2014 at 5:19 PM

        Oh, and Antonio Smith as well!

  12. jonevans511 - Mar 12, 2014 at 11:08 AM

    Rich- Would DRC be a possibility considering Broncos signed Talib? I am sure he’ll be looking for good-very good money, but would it do us any good to bring him in and then finagle the secondary accordingly?

  13. Harvey - Mar 12, 2014 at 11:56 AM

    I wld like to see Antonio Cromartie move to the safety spot I think he can do a rod woodson right there.

  14. chris - Mar 12, 2014 at 12:29 PM

    it’s time to be real guys stop worrying about the free agency in start building through the draft

  15. brianjfrost06 - Mar 12, 2014 at 1:02 PM

    I would not mind clemons at all on a two to three year incentive based deal. That would give us a solid but not great stop gap while the two rookies we drafted last year have time to acclimate to the nfl and prove there value.

    As far as yesterday i am on board with every move but the guard from cleveland. I understand Gruden played against him twice a year for three years and i can only assume he saw more than i have from the young guard. But we drafted two guards in the 2012 draft and this guy does not seem nite and day better than either one of them. Looking at the deals Schwartz and Asamoah got i would of much rather seen one of them sign and anchor the interior of the line while one of our two young guys battled it out for the opposite side.

    I stilll would like to see them sign JD Walton becuase of his youth, potential, and mostly his familirity with Griffin. This draft is loaded with tackles and guards so i think we could still see the skins address those areas early in the draft with Moses, Yankey, Richardson, or one of the many other offesive lineman in this years crop of lineman.

    Also i think a reasonably priced mid level corner option would be Nolan carrol just my two cents.

    HTTR cant wait to see what unfolds

  16. savagegun - Mar 12, 2014 at 3:37 PM

    Cory Graham may be signing a contract as we tweet. Stay tuned!

    • rlkmwyatt - Mar 12, 2014 at 9:20 PM

      the reports are he has just signed with buffalo

  17. Skinz4life6 - Mar 12, 2014 at 7:16 PM

    I’d like for Brandon Merriweather & Reed Doughty both back on cheap one year deals while Baccari Rambo continues his good coverage skills but works harder at his aggrresive tackling in the box skills which the 3-4 defense requires. I honestly think getting Thomas/Rambo in the 4th&6th round(s) was good value but Mike Shannahan I truly believe RUINED the defense and didn’t have the poor rookies/young players coached correctly.

    I don’t see the Safety position being “properlyed addressed through the F/A. I say use the 34th pick (if that pick isnt traded back which is cool with me anyway). And use the draft to keep delevoping our safeties. Who knows??? Maybe EJ Biggers/Baccari Rambo/Philip Thomas/Reed Doughty and Brandon Merriweather can all get us by one more year! Haha

    • Mike - Mar 12, 2014 at 10:56 PM

      Safety is an important position for us to address, but let’s focus on the impact of the current FA DE/OLB contracts and how they impact the negotiations with Orakpo, since that could free up a little cap space.

      M. Johnson 5 year $43.75 – $8.75 avg., M. Bennett 4 year $28.5 – $7.125 avg., D. Ware 3 year $30 – $10 avg.

      Rich, will this help the Redskins work out a long term deal more on there terms? If the Redskins could sign a longterm deal averaging $9-10, this would save between $1.5-2.5 on the cap this year. How do you think this will play out?

      • Rich Tandler - Mar 13, 2014 at 8:38 AM

        No. Those guys don’t play 90%+ of the snaps like Orakpo does. And he had more sacks and pressures than any of them last year. Ware’s is a foolish contract, IMO.

        I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, I don’t think the Redskins have any interest in signing Orkapo to a long-term deal. Among other reasons, it would force Kerrigan out of town in 2016. Archives

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