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Need to Know: Free agency may offer more problems than solutions for the Redskins

Feb 9, 2015, 5:09 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Monday, February 9, nine days before the Washington Redskins and the rest of the NFL assemble in Indianapolis for the NFL Combine.

Question of the day

We’re changing up the format of Need to Know for the offseason. Every day I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question submitted by a fan on my Twitter feed, via the Real Redskins Facebook page, or in the comments section here. On Twitter address the questions to me at @Rich_TandlerCSN with the #NTK hashtag. There will be a comment thread set up on the Facebook page and if you’re asking your question here, put “for NTK” at the start of the comment.

Well, let’s see. The Redskins have had one draft pick, Trent Williams, starting the vast majority of their games on the offensive line since the start of the 2013 season. One draft pick, Jarvis Jenkins, has been among the primary starters on the defensive line. They have gone 7-25 in those two seasons. Both lines are aging and expensive.

I think the question of where the Redskins should go to build the lines answers itself. I think we’re at the point where that whole definition of insanity and expecting different results deal has kicked in. That is why the Redskins brought in Scot McCloughan, who is considered to be one of the best draft talent evaluators in the business.

Just to show you what is out there in free agency, let’s look at the top three interior linemen and top three offensive tackles according to our friends at Rotoworld.

Defensive line:

  1. Ndamukong Suh, DET—Would require a Haynesworth-sized contract. He’s not Albert but he is a kick or stomp away from a long suspension.
  2. Nick Fairley, DET—This is the second best available and we’re talking about a guy who has played in only 46 of 64 possible games due to weight problems, off-field issues, and injuries.
  3. Terrance Knighton, DEN—Pretty good run stuffer but provides minimal pass rush and will be 29 before training camp starts.

Offensive tackle:

  1. Bryan Bulaga, GB–The best available tackle missed half of 2012 with a hip injury and all of 2013 with a knee injury. He will want left tackle money and someone, probably the Packers, will give it to him.
  2. Michael Roos, TN—He missed the last 11 games of 2014 with a knee injury and he will turn 33 around Week 3.
  3. Doug Free, DAL—He just turned 31, missed two early 2014 games with a foot injury and the last four of the season, including the Cowboys’ two playoff games, with an ankle injury.

You can look at the Rotoworld list for yourself but trust me when I say that the further down the list it’s more of the same.

Despite the inherent problems with free agency, they may have to find some stopgap free agents to sign. Tarik El-Bashir and I will be closely examining the free agent market in some series we’ll be running on Check there as the start of free agency, which is four weeks from tomorrow.

And here on I’ve been running the Countdown to the Combine series, taking a close look at potential Redskins draft picks. And I’m leaving for the combine in Indianapolis a week from tomorrow with the mission of providing you with four days of severe information overload about prospects who could become Redskins.


—It’s been 43 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 218 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL free agency starts 29; Redskins offseason workouts start 70; 2015 NFL Draft 81

If you have any questions about what’s going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I’m always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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In case you missed it

  1. MC12 - Feb 9, 2015 at 7:40 AM

    Thanks Rich. I know it sucks for most fans to hear but this team might get a bit worse, or at least stay at the same level for another year. Building through the draft IS the best way to go (see Ravens, Packers, 49ers, Seahawks) but it takes a bit of time to get started. Power your article and comments the other day. I want to hear about Rich leaving Redskins Park at 6pm this year and still see a good number of cars in the players lot. Young and hungry players means toward the end off this year, we might see a team starting to get “it” and improving.

  2. mr.moneylover - Feb 9, 2015 at 9:43 AM

    Free agency is not the way to go…you just brining in more old players…why not draft young players and teach them and groom them before the season…the most disturbing thing last season was the players wasnt in football shape for there postions..the o-line got pushed back most the time and the D-line never push the other teams offensive line back to get to the QB…JAY GRUDEN LAST MESSAGE TO THE TEAM : take a couple of weeks off but get back at it and hit the weight room hard and come back in shape for OTAs

  3. kenlinkins - Feb 9, 2015 at 10:18 AM

    The problem in 2014 was not the Stop Gap types of free agents, but the longer term deals of Hatcher, Porter, Lauvao, Roberts, Baker, Hayward, and Hall! Add those to the Tagging of Orakpo for $11 Million and you used up all the Cap Room and had none to roll over. Add to that the poor contracts given by Shanahan to his O-Line after 2012 and you have a real mess to clean up. If you pull the trigger on deals like we saw in 2014 your GM believes the team is ready to make a run into the Play offs (which sadly too many of us Redskins fans also believed). It is now clear that the new GM has a ton of work to do to get this team to 500%. The Red Flags were there for all to see, but we as fans just turned a blind eye (and yes, I include myself as I stated more than once that I liked what GM Allen was doing, Shame on me!).

    • kenlinkins - Feb 9, 2015 at 10:20 AM

      And for that reason, it would not shock me for the new GM to go back to step one and Draft a QB with the 5th pick IF one drops.

      • skins1970 - Feb 9, 2015 at 10:47 AM

        I think Scot Scot Mccloughan signs any FAs it will be Mike Iupati and Dan Williams and that will be it, he has always gone after guys like that.

        • kenlinkins - Feb 9, 2015 at 11:23 AM

          Both Iupati and Williams would be good fits for the long term. Those two and a good draft would make me have hope again.

    • renhoekk2 - Feb 10, 2015 at 11:07 AM

      Love the Shanny haters. You really think Shanahan was sitting at the table during the contract negotiations? He may have said “I would like to have this player” But how much he got paid and the type of contract he got was not from Shanahan.

      • Rich Tandler - Feb 10, 2015 at 11:19 AM

        But Shanahan ultimately had to approve the acquisition of the player with that contract. He didn’t negotiate the deals but no contract was executed without his blessing.

        > > >

  4. timwillhidetimwillhide - Feb 9, 2015 at 11:39 AM

    Like Ive bin saying with the new rookie pay scale Drafting Oline is the way too go top guys for little money

  5. ravenrich - Feb 9, 2015 at 7:50 PM

    With all of the blaming the offensive line for RG3’s sack totals, why in the hell would those same delusional complainers want the Redskins to sign Mike Iupatti, an above average run bocker but below average pass blocker. He is a BAD PASS BLOCKER….who doesn’t know this??? Archives

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