In the past several years, the Redskins haven’t been known for making the best decisions in free agency. Bringing in guys who didn’t fit in Washington like Adam Archuleta, Albert Haynesworth, and Brandon Lloyd has made us the league’s laughing stock every year in March. We also let go of the likes of Ryan Clark, Antonio Pierce, and Carlos Rogers who have gone on to have success in other places. As a Redskin fan, my stomach turned a little as I watched Devin Thomas recover two fumbles last Sunday to send the Giants to Super Bowl XLVI. This year, Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan have some big decisions to make.
The first order of business should be locking up London Fletcher. Give him a big, backloaded contract with a nice signing bonus, and let him retire a Redskin. It’s a no-brainer. He’s old, but he plays harder than anyone on the team, and just might be the best ‘team leader’ in the NFL. The biggest question mark on the team is LaRon Landry. There’s little doubt that he will want big money to stay, but after opting out of surgery on his nagging achilles injury again, he is a huge risk. When healthy, he has the potential to be the best safety in the NFL. Achilles injuries, however, have been known to kill careers in the past. The money would have to be right to keep him in burgundy and gold.
Adam Carriker had a very good ‘under the radar’ performance in 2011. His 5.5 sacks were more than anyone expected him to get, and he’s really grasped Jim Haslett’s system well. He’s definitely a guy we should keep around, and we most likely won’t have to break the bank to do so. Rocky McIntosh was a big disappointment in 2011, and his antics on New Year’s Eve probably destroyed any chance of a new contract from the Redskins. We do owe him a debt of gratitude though. Without his play tapering off, we wouldn’t know how good Perry Riley is. Other defensive free agents, Kedric Golston and Byron Westbrook, played reserve and special teams roles fairly well, but aren’t worth spending a lot of money on. Golston has been good when healthy, but he’s just not healthy often enough.
On offense, the guy we need to pay is Fred Davis. As long as he’s not spending the money on marijuana, he’s worth it. Shanahan is learning how to use him like he used Shannon Sharpe in Denver, and Davis is one of the few offensive players we can count on to perform every week in Washington. Kory Lichtensteiger and Will Montgomery are guys who are worth keeping around a little while longer. Both showed improvement in 2011, and offensive line depth is something the Redskins should definitely take seriously.
Tim Hightower isn’t a guy the Redskins need, but they should consider keeping him around if his ACL heals well. We know that Shanahan will probably draft a running back in the late rounds, and possibly bring one in as an undrafted free agent, but Hightower still has a lot of heart and some gas in the tank. A rotation of Hightower, Helu, and Royster should make Shanny plenty confident in his rushing attack. Donte Stallworth is another guy who isn’t a team necessity, but it would be nice to have him around. The guy has made some mistakes in his past, but his positive attitude and the effort he gives on the field are things that the Redskins haven’t seen much of lately. His performance against Dallas in November is reason enough for me to want to keep him.
Last but not least, the two goats of the team. Everyone hates on Rex Grossman and Graham Gano. Rex has the attitude and desire you want in your starting quarterback, but he just gives the ball away too freakin’ much. The Redskins WILL have a new guy under center in 2012, but I think Rexy’s experience and knowledge of the offense are factors that will earn him a contract as our back-up quarterback. Gano is another story. He kicks hard. He kicks far. He just can’t kick the ball between the goal posts on a consistent basis. The Skins will have a new kicker in 2012.
As usual, 2012’s free agency period should be an interesting time for our beloved Redskins. Let’s just hope the men in charge make good, well thought out decisions on how to spend Danny’s money.