With a plethora of holes to fill on both sides of the ball, the Washington Redskins kicked off the 2014 Free Agent period with a couple of additions, and a low key approach. Here’s a look at the roster changes yesterday:
The linebacker returns on a three year deal, worth a reported $13 million. Obviously the Redskins could ill afford to be in need of two inside linebackers for very long. Famliarity… continuity… whatever you want to pin it to… the move makes sense for Washington. Heir incumbent to London Fletcher, Riley received a great vote of confidence on Twitter from Fletch:
— London Fletcher (@LFletcher59) March 11, 2014
Congratulate Perry Riley @PR56.
The 14-year veteran has been with the Redskins since 2004, and signed a one year deal. He earned his playing time last year by having a great offseason, and showing up to camp ready. He’ll have to do the same again this year, to show that he has football left in him, and to compete for a depth position.
Congratulate Santana Moss at @eightadanine
The wide receiver comes over from Arizona, where he spent the last four years. He was relegated to backup duty last year with the emergence of Michael Floyd, but in 2012 he caught 64 balls for 759 yards. He should fill the number two position in D.C., but he can also play the slot, and while he hasn’t returned kicks since 2010, he has a pretty elite special teams past having been the National Punt Return Champion in 2008, while at the Citadel. Washington obviously felt Roberts had some upside at just 26 years old, and inked him to a four year deal worth a reported $16 million.
— Andre' Roberts (@AndreRoberts_FA) March 11, 2014
Congratulate Andre Roberts @AndreRoberts_FA
Signing a guard may not have seemed a priority, but with the previous offensive line built for a zone blocking scheme, its at least understandable that the OL might need to be re-tooled. Regardless, the Redskins took a step in that direction Tuesday by signing Lauvao to a 4-year, $17 Million deal. Wether or not Lauvao will simply replace Chris Chester at right guard, Kory Lichtensteiger at left, or there will be further juggling, remains to be seen.
Lauvao was injured early in 2013 (ankle), but came back to start 11 straight games, and has started 43 out of 48 games since being drafted by the Browns in the third round of the 2010 draft. He may not be an apparent upgrade, but at 6’3″ and 315 pounds, it may just be a case of him being more in line with what Jay Gruden is looking for.
The inside linebacker comes over from the Saints where he spent the first seven seasons of his NFL career. He was added for his exceptional special teams abilities, but can also potentially provide depth having started 13 games in New Orleans. Despite not starting, Hayward played in 95 of the Saints’ last 96 regular season games, and has 128 career tackles to go along with one sack. He also returned an interception for a touchdown in 2012.
— Washington Redskins (@Redskins) March 12, 2014
So far Washington has been very conservative in their approach. They entered yesterday with almost $19 Million in cap space, and while without knowing the details of the contracts yesterday, is tough to say exactly what’s left – there is still substantial money to take a solid run at some money players. So will they?
A non-existent secondary in 2013 has people hankering for some top tier help at a couple of positions, but the asking prices were steep on day one. Jairius Byrd and Aqib Talib were rumored to have been on the Redskins’ corner and safety respective wish lists, but with fetching prices of over $50 Million each, it isn’t hard to understand why Washington bowed out of both races. Still, with a need for two starting safeties, it’s a little harder to rationalize not landing Mike Mitchell at the dollars he signed for (5y, $25M). Perhaps even more important still, a lot of quality safeties came off the market yesterday, making the pickings that much slimmer.
When you’re in need of two solid options, and without a first round draft pick, there is some added onus to address the position significantly, and sooner than later.
Players expected to visit with the Redskins today include OL Bruce Campbell (updated: terms offered), CB Corey Graham, and DE Antonio Smith.
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