Free Agents That Can Help Salvage Washington's Season
With six weeks of games in the books, we're all starting to get a feel for how this season is going to pan out. Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos will likely be a top seed, the Kansas City Chiefs are surpassing everyone’s expectations and the Jacksonville Jaguars will try to finish the season with at least one win. As for the Washington Redskins, they sit at 1-4 and in third place in the NFC East. Things haven't been looking up for them, so what can they do to change the situation?
Besides the obvious choice (playing better), they could take a peek at the free agent market. They have some glaring holes at key positions, and there are free agents out there that could help them now. The Redskins can't wait too long to make a move. They are already falling behind in their division and it's very likely that there will be no wild card from the NFC East.
Time's-a-ticking in D.C., so here are some free agents that could help the Redskins in acquiring a playoff berth.
Wide Receivers: Braylon Edwards, Steve Breaston, Chad Johnson and Brandon Lloyd
Now I know your first thoughts are that all these receivers are old. That may be true, but I believe that they all have some gas left in their respective tanks.
I mentioned Braylon Edwards and Steve Breaston in my last article as possible pickups for the 'Skins and good compliments to Pierre Garçon. Currently, Garçon is Washington's only relevant receiver, and they are in need of someone to play opposite of him. Edwards presents a big target for Robert Griffin III standing at 6-3. Edwards had a strong career with the Cleveland Browns and New York Jets, including a Pro Bowl year in 2007 where he amassed 80 receptions, 1,289 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns. Breaston, on the other hand, had four straight seasons from 2008 to 2011 with at least 700 yards receiving, including a 1,000 yard and 77 reception season in 2008.
As for Lloyd and Johnson (let's go with Johnson, as "Ochocinco" doesn't actually mean "85"), they are bigger risks. Lloyd has had some pretty impressive seasons, including a 1,448 yard and 11 touchdown season in 2010, but he has also been inconsistent. Over his 10-year career, he has played for six different teams, never staying with one team for more than three seasons. He has also only surpassed 50 catches three times and 1,000 yards once. As for Johnson, we all know what he is capable of. The six-time Pro Bowler potentially has the biggest upside, but also has the most question marks. His last season in the NFL in 2011 with the New England Patriots showed a precipitous dropoff in production, and it didn't help his odds of making a comeback when he was prematurely dismissed from the Miami Dolphins the following preseason after a highly publicized altercation with his wife.
Defensive Lineman: Richard Seymour, Andre Carter and Kyle Vanden Bosch
With the 27th ranked defense overall and against the rush, the Redskins need some defensive line help. The line has been nonexistent this season, and they could benefit from a change of personnel.
DT Richard Seymour has more than proven himself. At 6-6, the seven-time Pro Bowler has amassed 57.5 career sacks and 496 tackles. He was a big part of the New England Patriots defense that won three Super Bowls in the early 2000s, and he went on to earn two Pro Bowl selections after his days with the Pats. Seymour could present a big body that could stuff up the line and disrupt the run game.
Andre Carter, previously a longtime Redskin, could aid Washington in the pass game. Carter, who has 78.5 career sacks and 23 pass deflections, has a knack for getting to the quarterback. He could help the secondary by putting pressure on the passer. Hurrying the quarterback means more errant throws or scrambles out of the pocket. Carter's ability to deflect passes at the line also takes pressure off of the secondary.
Defensive Backs: Kerry Rhodes, Antoine Winfield and Kenny Phillips
The first few games this year the Redskins seemed to really struggle against the pass. They've recently picked it up, but in a division where you have to play against Eli Manning, RGIII and Michael Vick (or Nick Foles), it's good to have some experienced players in your secondary.
While I really like and believe in starting DBs DeAngelo Hall, Josh Wilson, Brandon Meriweather and Reed Doughty, the Redskins could use some added depth. S Kerry Rhodes, S Kenny Phillips and CB Antoine Winfield are all experienced players. They all can bring experience and leadership to Washington's fragile defense. While Rhodes and Winfield are 31 and 36, respectively, they aren't needed in starting roles. They can come in as substitutes to give the starters a rest, and then before they are too tired, they'll be back out of the game.
As for Phillips, he is only 26 years of age and still has a lot of football left in him. In his last full season in 2011, he recorded career highs in tackles (82), pass deflections (11) and interceptions (4). He would miss the following season with an injury and was cut this preseason by the Philadelphia Eagles due to a lingering quadriceps injury. The upside to Phillips is that he has Super Bowl experience (2011), is young and has great size at 6-2.
Honorable Mentions: OT Jason Smith, TE Todd Heap and LB Takeo Spikes
After watching the offensive line struggle against a makeshift Dallas defensive line, I knew it was time to throw RGIII a bone. On every play, it seemed that no-namers were getting into the backfield and terrorizing the second-year quarterback. Even though Washington fans like to see RGIII run with the ball (and not get hit), they only like it when it's his choice and not when he's being flushed out of the pocket. That being said, the Redskins should look into OT Jason Smith, who was the second overall pick of the 2009 draft by the St. Louis Rams. Having played five seasons in the NFL, the OT has only played in 45 games and started 26. He has been somewhat of a disappointment, but is still only 27 and worth another look.
While the Redskins has a nice duo in Fred Davis and rookie Jordan Reed at the tight end spots, they don't seem to be getting a whole lot done, collectively speaking. Reed has caught 17 balls for 164 yards and one touchdown this year, tied for second on the team, while Davis has only three receptions. Adding an experienced tight end like Todd Heap would give Washington another quality receiver and blocker, two things they really need. In Heap's 12 years in the league, the veteran has totaled 499 receptions, 5,869 yards and 42 touchdowns.
Finally, a personal favorite of mine, LB Takeo Spikes. To me, he will always be remembered for his freakishly large neck, consistent play and for always being on the wrong team at the wrong time — Spikes has never played in a playoff game despite playing in 219 regular season games. While Washington has a strong group of linebackers, adding another talented and experienced linebacker wouldn't hurt. Plus, this acquisition would reunite him with former Buffalo Bills teammate London Fletcher.