The Market is Open
On Friday the 2008 NFL Free Agent signing period began at 12:01am. Redskins Park was quite and has been through the weekend, the only signings to take place were the retaining of backup quarterback Todd Collins and tender to place kicker Shaun Suisham (they only needed to make the offer to retain him). This is so un-Redskins like, or is it? In the past five years the Redskins have been fast out of the gave, in 2003 it was the ďJetskinsĒ on day one with Randy Thomas and John Hall, the following year Gibbs came in with his offensive backfield of Brunell and Portis. Two years later the Redskins had a huge first day haul with Antwaan Randle El, Adam Archuleta, Brandon Lloyd, and Andre Carter. Marcus Washington, Phillip Daniels, Cornelius Griffin, and Shawn Springs were all day one signing the year Gibbs returned. The Redskins didnít make their standard free agency noise in 2005 and 2007; they did what it appears that they are doing this year.
In the off-season before the 2005 season the front office identified a need for a Center and of course the need for a wide receiver is a yearly event in Ashburn during free agency, the Redskins picked up Casey Rabach and David Patten then pretty much waited on the draft. Last season the need was to fix the hole in the middle of the defense; they brought in London Fletcher who worked out great last year. They brought back Freddy Smoot to address the lack of depth at cornerback, and again they pretty much shut it down after that and waited for April.
Over this same five years as the Redskins have focused on bringing in big name players and having all of the March headlines, they have let good players get away that were already here. Players like Docherty, Smoot, AP, and Clark should have been retained before hitting the market, but the team was more focused on who was out there than who would be leaving if they didnít do something to prevent it. Over the last few years they are averaging retaining 1.8 potential free agents (the Red Snapper is the .8 because he keeps re-signing one year cap friendly contracts). First they retained Betts when he was due to hit the market then it was Cooley, this year itís Collins.
In this same five-year span the only post-season appearances have been in the years when the Redskins have taken the so-called un-Redskins like approach to the free agent market (2005 and 2007). With so many big names moving from team to team and the Redskins not even being mentioned, or if they are talking to players they are keeping it low key could mean the front office has finally gotten a clue.
The first free agent to visit wonít be in until after the weekend and the rumor is the team refused to get into a bidding war with the Bears for Lance Briggs, there was a time we fans believed the owner of the Redskins lived to get into bidding wars for players most fans donít want on the team.
Some will say the Redskins are sitting back and waiting because they are strapped for cash but I donít think thatís the case, they are 2-3 million under the cap without the 3-4 million that Portis will free up when his deal is re-worked and if needed, re-working Daniels, Springs, Griffin's, Washington's and Rabach's current deals could free up another 8-10 million if it were needed. The Redskins are sitting back and waiting because they have learned the error of their ways.
The Market is open and the Washington Redskins are only window-shopping. Sooner or later theyíll do some real shopping.
This article was released on 2008-03-03.
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