Saturday, July 23, 2011

Which impending free agent should the Redskins retain?

Last week we looked at possible outside free agents that the Redskins could bring in; now it's time to talk about which of their own impending free agents the team should retain. The noteworthy players lacking 2011 contracts consist of Kedric Golston, Rocky McIntosh, H.B. Blades, Chris Wilson, Carlos Rogers, Reed Doughty, Santana Moss, Jammal Brown, and Rex Grossman:

DE Kedric Golston

Golston was one of the myriad victims of the switch to a 3-4 defense. He had done a consistently creditable job as a tackle in the 4-3, but his performance as a defensive end in the 3-4 was nothing short of disastrous. With second round pick Jarvis Jenkins sure to make the roster, some veteran depth already on hand (Vonnie Holliday and Jeremy Jarmon), and the possibility of a new RDE being added through free agency, I can’t imagine why he would be brought back.

ILB Rocky McIntosh

Another guy who just has no role in this defense. He played hard and at times I was impressed with his ability to take on large blockers, but he had a remarkable tendency to find himself in the wrong gap on almost every play. He needs to find himself a 4-3 team where he can go back to being a competent but unremarkable outside ‘backer. And as we’ll talk about below, I think there is plenty of potential behind him, so there is no reason to retain a sub-par starter.

ILB H.B. Blades

I think H.B really needs to remain a Redskin, but I lack confidence that the coaches share that opinion. Over the years he has gotten limited playing time, but has performed well every chance he’s gotten. The run instincts are remarkable – at times I almost think he’s psychic, knowing what gap a play will come through before it has had a chance to develop. His lack of size (242 lbs) is often pointed out. But to that I would respond a) he’s the same size as London Fletcher and b) I’ve seen him destroy plenty of much larger pulling guards, so I think he can survive out there.

If Rocky departs, the Redskins would most likely be relying on second year Perry Riley to fill a starting job. As a total wildcard, competition for Riley is a must. And if Riley wins that competition, so much the better – we know Blades can be a quality third ILB.

There’s still more reason to retain ILB talent – we are entering the last year of Fletcher’s contract, and as great as he has been it is probably unwise to offer him a new one at his age. If we can spend 2011 with Blades, Riley, and Robert Henson all getting some playing time, we may find we have two quality starters out of the bunch and not need to spend a draft pick or free agent money to replace Fletcher.

OLB Chris Wilson

In my opinion Wilson was oddly underutilized last season. Andre Carter was uncomfortable in the LOLB job and had to ask to be taken out of it, and his replacement Lorenzo Alexander may have played well given that he was moving to about the nineteenth position of his career, but did not provide nearly the productivity needed out of the spot. But despite playing well in 2009 as an understudy in Brian Orakpo’s DE/LB hybrid position, Jim Haslett only used him to rush against the interior line in those cute blitz formations with five linebackers. The drafting of Ryan Kerrigan in the first round, with Alexander and Rob Jackson around to provide depth, means I’d be pretty surprised to see Chris Wilson back with team.

CB Carlos Rogers

I may as well reproduce what I wrote about Carlos last week when discussing possible outside FAs: “he seems to be one of those pretty good players who has gotten it in his head that he’s great. It sure seems like he’s as good as gone, because he wants the second biggest CB contract handed out after [Nnamdi] Asomugha. I’ve always liked Carlos and wouldn’t mind having him back, but it won’t happen with the kind of contract he’s thinking about. The only hope for a return would be if he realizes that he has overestimated his market. If [Jonathan] Joseph and [Antonio] Cromartie have already signed, and Rogers’ complete lack of ability to make an interception means the offers are coming in much lower than he expected, then he just may fall back into the Redskins price range. Though I rather doubt that he will be back.”

Having fulfilled his contract (and then some – he was one of the guys screwed out of free agency by the capless season), Carlos has every right to leave. Unless, of course, he slides into Dallas’ rather urgent need at cornerback – then he’s dead to me.

By the way, re-signing Rogers or replacing him with another expensive starter may not be the only options. I can at least envision a scenario in which the Redskins take a gamble that Kevin Barnes is ready for the job and re-sign Philip Buchanon for another year of competent nickel back play.

S Reed Doughty

I really want Doughty to be resigned as a quality backup. This is mostly due to my complete lack of confidence in any aspect of Kareem Moore’s game. We all know that Doughty is not the most athletically gifted safety around, and can be exploited by more athletic receivers. But his coverage skills are plenty adequate enough to be a third safety, and I am of the opinion that Doughty’s shortcomings in coverage hurt the defense far less than Moore’s complete lack of tackling ability. Also, Doughty is actively good against the run, meaning he can fill in nicely as the in-the-box guy if Landry gets hurt again.

WR Santana Moss

At this point in his career Santana is better off in the slot. But given the myriad of quality 26 or 27 year old slot receivers on the market, it just makes little sense to me give a new contract to a 32 year old whose game is based on speed. Santana still has a couple years in him, but Steve Breaston, the Giants’ Steve Smith, or Lance Moore will still be producing five years down the road. The receiver corps has to get younger some time, and now’s the time to start.

RT Jammal Brown

Trading a draft pick for Jammal Brown last offseason was pretty much a desperation move after the team failed to land anyone in the free agent market and were staring down a year of Artis Hicks or Stephon Heyer at right tackle. And Brown’s performance last year was creditable only in that it marginally exceeded what could be expected out of either of those rather dismal alternatives. In fairness he was recovering from injury, and started to come on towards the end of the season.

That pick is a sunk cost, and shouldn’t be factored into a decision about whether to retain him. I have the feeling the coaches would prefer to find an outside option than to re-sign a rather mediocre 30 year old, and there is also the fact that Brown would prefer to be a left tackle somewhere. But if the Ryan Harris (much younger) and Marshall Yanda (much better and younger) options look like they may not be available, then the Redskins fallback option is to overpay Brown a bit to convince him to continue as a RT. The fact that the 3 day window will actually allow negotiations with players on other teams will come in handy here – otherwise the Redskins may have had to sign Jammal straight away or risk being left with nothing. Instead they have 3 full days to weigh other options before going to Jammal as their Plan B.

QB Rex Grossman

I consider Rex’s free agency a mere technicality. It is quite clear that the Redskins would represent his best chance to get on the field, so the team will make the decision whether he stays or goes.


  1. If I had to choose'd be Grossman as he'll be at worst the Skins #2 this year and will probably help to teach whomever the Skins draft at QB in 2012 the system.

    I'm a more pro re-sign Moss than you Dave, but that hinges on the price and if Moss can be more than a slot guy. If he just is a slot guy, then develop Terrence Austin and target somebody else.

    Third would be Jammal Brown and honestly whether it's Brown, Ryan Harris or another tackle, the Skins must address RT either by a re-sign or looking elsewhere.

    Rogers is gone. Solid cover corner but not a playmaking corner and has injury concerns. He wants D. Hall $$$ and won't get it in DC.

  2. But in my opinon, slot WR is exactly what would maximize Moss' skills - so in any other role he's not being optimally used anyway. And since slot is the easiest position to fill from the FA market....

  3. The number to remember about Moss is 93, as in how many receptions he had.

    Did anyone have close to that for the Skins last year?

    Resigning Moss to anything close to a decent contract should be a no-brainer, especially since he has already indicated he wants to be back.

  4. No, but I don't think anyone is advocating letting Moss walk without replacing him with a capable player.