bEast free agency reviews: Washington Redskins

Is it too early to do these?  Technically, free agency is still ongoing, despite the fact that training camps began a week and a half ago.  Players will still be signed.  For example, the Giants could still sign Steve Smith, or trade for a TE.  So there are still things that can happen, but I think it’s safe to say the offseason has pretty much shaken out by now, so let’s just get right to it.

We’ll start with the Redskins, for no particular reason, and I think I kinda like what they did in free agency, in a follow up to a draft that I also liked.  A review of all the key moves (ignoring some of the less impactful ones), by position, where there were changes:

QB – It appears Mike Shanahan is serious about going into the season with John Beck.  I summed up all my thoughts on John Beck here, and think Shanny is absolutely crazy if he really believes Beck is a bona fide NFL QB.  With Beck at the helm, the Redskins are going to struggle mightily to score points.  Like… super-mightily.  The Redskins are not going to contend for a playoff berth this year.  It’s just not a good team right now.  If Shanahan didn’t like any of the QB’s in this year’s draft, I won’t argue that he should have taken one.  Likewise for the garbage QBs that were available in free agency.  But John Beck?  Seriously?  I actually think Rex Grossman can be serviceable.  You don’t want to lose 13 games.  It’ll be interesting to see Beck play in the preseason.  Verdict – No likey, but there’s still time for Shanny to change his mind.

QB (cont) – Somehow, some way,the Redskins were able to work out a trade for Donovan McNabb.  Last offseason, the Redskins made a monumental mistake trading a 2 and a 4 to the Eagles for McNabb.  By trading him for a 6 to the Vikings in 2012 and possibly another 6 in 2013, they admitted that mistake.  Good for them.  Ego can get in way on such things.  They weren’t going to get much for McNabb (I was adamant that they’d get nothing), but at least they got somethingVerdict – Likey.

– RB – The Redskins cut Clinton Portis, drafted Roy Helu and Evan Royster, and traded for Tim Hightower.  I already covered the Skins’ RB moves here, but I’ll copy and paste for your convenience:

This is a deal that I really liked.  The Redskins gave up basically nothing for Hightower by trading 35 year old DE Vonnie Holliday and a conditional late round pick in 2012.  Tim Hightower can play.  He had 63 receptions in 2009.  Somehow he ran for 4.8 yards per carry on that awful Cardinals offense last season.  He’s good around the goal line, good receiver, very versatile.  A concern would be his fumbles – He’s had 10 over the last two seasons on just 380 touches (that’s a fumble per every 38 touches – not good).  But this was a great trade if Hightower can fix that.

I kinda like the Redskins’ backs.  I really do.  Ryan Torain is a nice young back, add in the versatile Hightower, and let your two rookies (Roy Helu and Evan Royster) develop.  I read somewhere that there was some hand-wringing that the Eagles’ backups at QB and RB are Vince Young and Ronnie Brown, while the Redskins are going into the season with John Beck and Ryan Torain.  I agree that the Beck thing is nuts, but so what about the running backs?  A guy like Ronnie Brown would make no sense whatsoever for the Skins.  The Redskins shouldn’t be concerned with winning a Super Bowl this season.  It’s not happening.  I like these little moves the Redskins are making to get younger, and hopefully for them, better in the long term.

As for South Side Jerome, great player in his prime, but it was time. Verdict – Likey.

– WR – Re-signed Santana Moss, traded Jeremy Jarmon for Jabar Gaffney, signed Donte Stallworth.  Did I get it all?  How many people actually realize how good Santana Moss was last year?  93-1115-6… On that offense… Impressive.  A lot of people say the Skins over-payed him at 3 years, $15 million.  I vehemently disagree.  The Skins also drafted 3 young kids this year.  They got Leonard Hankerson in the 3rd, and took fliers on Niles Paul and Aldrick Robinson in the 5th and 6th rounds, respectively.  They had a boatload of picks, so I don’t have much of a problem with them going heavy at a weak position.  If just one of the kids pans out, call it a win.  A lot of people also panned the Jeremy Jarmon – Jabar Gaffney trade.  Both sides of the argument make some sense.  Some people say that Gaffney may very well start, and all you gave up was a guy that didn’t really fit the defensive scheme.  Others would counter that sure, Gaffney may start, but he wouldn’t exactly be a good starter, he’s 30 years old, he’s going to take away reps from the young guys that are the future of the team, and Jarmon could have been traded for something more pressing, like depth along the OL.  I think I side with the “nays” on Gaffney, but overall… Verdict – Likey.

– OL – Cut Casey Rabach, signed Chris Chester, re-signed Jammal Brown.  Rabach was finished – no surprise there.  People felt that the Skins over-payed for Chris Chester (over-paying / not over-paying is a developing theme here).  Again, just like with Santana Moss, I disagree.  Poor OL play in the NFL has become an epidemic.  Chester represents a major upgrade over Rabach at center.  Is $4 million/year a little much?  Maybe.  But there are precisely 32 NFL teams that should be looking to upgrade their offensive lines.  Look at who made the Pro Bowl in the NFC at C last year – Andre Gurode and Shaun O’Hara.  Gurode is a good C, but was far from a “Pro Bowl caliber” player last season, and freaking Shaun O’Hara missed 10 games, and was awful in the ones he played.   I don’t have a problem over-paying a little for a decent starter at a position that is so weak league-wide.  As for the Jammal Brown signing, meh.  Verdict – Likey.

– DL – Signed Barry Cofield and Stephen Bowen, traded Jeremy Jarmon and Albert Haynesworth, cut Maake Kemoeatu.  Obviously, Haynesworth had to go.  Kudos to the Skins for getting him out very quickly, and good job (I guess) getting a 5 in 2013 in return.  Kemoeatu stunk – That was a no-brainer.  We already sort of covered Jarmon above.  All that’s left here is to look at the Cofield and Bowen signings.  Once again, people said the Skins over-payed for those two guys.  This time I agree.  I like Stephen Bowen – Nice young player (27 years old) with upside, but 5 years, $27.5 million?  Oof.  I also like Barry Cofield.  Again, another 27 year old, but this time it’s a guy that has already had success at the NFL level, although I should note that Cofield is an odd fit in the Skins’ 3-4 scheme.  But at 6 years, $36 million?  Double oof.  I think the Skins fell into the “early free agency splurge” trap here.  Sure, the DL is unquestionably improved, but the cost of those two guys is far, far too high.  There were bargains elsewhere.  Verdict – No likey.

– LB – Re-signed Rocky McIntosh.  McIntosh probably thought there’d be more of a market for his services.  The Redskins let him test said “market,” and when the market didn’t come calling, Rocky re-signed in DC on the cheap.  Well played by the Skins here.  Verdict – Likey.

– Secondary – Signed Josh Wilson and Oshiomogho Atogwe, let Carlos Rogers walk.  Rogers had been quoted several times during the lockout that he was likely not to be a Redskin anymore, so there’s no surprise there.  The Redskins simply replaced him with Josh Wilson, who signed a reasonable $13.5 million deal over 3 years.  He’s just 26 years old, can grow with the team, and appears to be an immediate upgrade over Carlos Rogers.  Nice job there.  The other forgotten move was Atogwe, way back in March.  On the surface, his 5 year, $26 million deal sounds high, but only the first year is guaranteed.  If you want to nitpick, you could point to the fact that he’s 30, but Atogwe is a bona fide playmaking safety, and has awesome profile pictures.

Blogging the bEast’s official useless letter grade – Something between a B and B+.  Since I’m feeling generous today, let’s go with the B+.

I’m thinking Cowboys tomorrow, Eagles on Wednesday, and we’ll give the Giants until Thursday to do something before I tee off on them.  Oops, did I tip my hand there?


  1. smutsboy says:

    You need to look at guaranteed numbers on the free agent contracts, not total.

    Albert Haynesworth didn’t sign a true $100M deal with us, and neither will Cofield be seeing $30M

    1. Bill Ward says:

      If he plays to a $6M/year contract, and he plays well, then he certainly could.

      Even better, if the contract is “Front Loaded”, we could get him at bargain prices in coming years.

      But of course, that means that he PLAYS TO THE CONTRACT.

      Same with Bowen; those contracts might be “bargains” by year two or three if the guys perform as expected, or they might be very pricy mistakes if the guys don’t.

    2. Fair enough, but it’s $12.5M guaranteed, which is pretty close to the ratio of guaranteed money to total dollars of a typical NFL contract. The “look at the guaranteed money” argument can be made for every player. Some have a high % of guaranteed dollars ($32M of Charles Johnson’s $76 million is guaranteed – 42%), while others have a very low % (Jason Babin only has $5.5M of his $27.725M deal guaranteed – 19.8%).

      Cofield’s deal is right in the middle. With $12.5M of his $36M deal guaranteed, that’s 34.7%.

      I agree that the reported numbers aren’t great measuring sticks, especially when they include severe nontraditional clauses in them, like McNabb’s deal that could void after the season if the Redskins so chose to void it, although there’s nothing like that in Cofield’s deal to my knowledge.

      At any rate, I still feel the Skins over-payed there.

  2. Immynimmy says:

    Haha, the only other team that had a worse offseason than the Giants was probably the Niners or Bengles

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