The 2016 season demonstrated that there are a lot of holes in this Washington Redskins team, and with expiring contracts, there could be more in the making. General manager Scot McCloughan has to make acquisitions. Here are some potential pick-ups that the Redskins should consider. In part one, I’ll take a look at the safety, wide receiver, and quarterback positions.
The Skins could make improvements at both safety positions. Will Blackmon has not been bad at free safety, but he is not a permanent answer. Su’a Cravens is expected to make the move to strong safety and has some excellent potential, however, it is unlikely he will be ready to perform at a high level out of the gate. Not having a suitable strong safety has been a nightmare for this defense.
Demps, 31, has done a very good job this season with the Houston Texans. He had six interceptions and has demonstrated his coverage skills all season long. It is likely that he will re-sign with the Texans. Nonetheless, he would be a big improvement at strong safety. Additionally because of his age in a crowded field, he will be cheaper than other high-end options.
Jefferson is coming off a career year with the Arizona Cardinals and was a pro-bowl contender. He received the highest grade this season among safeties with expiring contracts by Pro Football Focus (PFF). He will only be 25, so expect him to cost around $6.5 million/year. Both Jefferson and the Cardinals have stated their desire to remain together.
Cyprien is ranked right behind Jefferson in his performance this season (PFF) with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Because the strong safety free agent field is so strong, the 27 year old may not be that expensive.
Pierre Garçon (highest 2016 grade for free agent WRs by PFF) and DeSean Jackson will both be free agents. It is very unlikely that they would be able to keep both and as such should re-sign Garçon. However, it is also possible that they will lose both, leaving the team with only prospects at the position.
The former quarterback transformed himself into a 1,000 yard receiver this season with the Cleveland Browns. He is cheaper and comes with less risk than Alshon Jeffery. Furthermore, he is 6’6’’ and considering this was his first year at WR, he may have room to improve. His market value is $9.1 million/year according to Spotrac, which is more than you would like to spend, but he could be the team’s best option if they lose both Garçon and Jackson. With that being said, I am not sold on giving Pryor that kind of money unless you are desperate for a receiver.
Shepard may be the steal of free agency. He has not been given the snaps to put up significant numbers, but the 26 year old has impressed many with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He had a 2016 PFF grade of 76.1 compared to Pryor’s 78.6.
There are plenty of options at receiver. Kenny Britt is another player who put up 1,000 receiving yards and is valued at $6.1million/year according to Spotrac. The Skins should do whatever they can to keep Garçon and go after Shepard regardless (he will probably be cheap). Pryor should only be a back up plan at best, and the other option should be pursued only if both Garçon and Jackson are lost.
If the Washington Redskins do let Kirk Cousins walk, they will need to choose a new starting quarterback. Colt McCoy wouldn’t be the worst replacement, but it would be hard to have faith in him to lead the team back to the playoffs.
Taylor is a mobile quarterback that has seen success in the past two seasons with the Buffalo Bills. In each season he threw for over 3,000 yards and had only six interceptions. His passer rating was 92.3 and he had QBR of 67.57. Those are very solid numbers. Then, you throw in his ability to run, and Taylor starts looking like a great option. Over the past two seasons, he has totaled more than a thousand rushing yards and has scored 10 rushing touchdowns.
He is not a free agent, but for whatever reason, the Bills want to move in a different direction and could deal him. He was benched in the team’s final game of the season.
This potential trade would come at a high cost and comes with risk. Garoppolo was phenomenal in his two starts in replace of the suspended Tom Brady, with four touchdowns, no interceptions, an above 70 percent completion rate, a passer rating of above 110, and a QBR of well over 100. But, as everybody understands, he was playing with one of the best offenses in the NFL. With that being said, he would be the Skins’ best option if the team fails to re-sign Kirk Cousins.
See part II here, where I take a look at possible options at guard, defensive end, nose tackle, and inside linebacker.
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