The Redskins didn’t break any rules when they dumped long term contracts into the uncapped 2010 season, but they were robbed of $36 million in cap space because they chose not to collude along with most of the rest of the league. That whole debacle has already been beaten to death, but of course it must be mentioned because the Redskins really felt the effects of that injustice this offseason.
The 2013 free agency period has been a buyers market, and Washington is an attractive place to play after coming off a division title led by the RGolden3 child. With major holes at RT, the secondary, and some other places where it would have been nice to fill in additional talent, the Redskins missed out on a great opportunity to not have to overpay for outside talent for maybe the first time in a decade.
Still, despite being handcuffed by the NFL, I think they’ve done a nice job with what they’ve had to work with. Here’s a recap:
• The Redskins re-signed Kory Lichtensteiger: In 2011, the Redskins’ Week 1 OL starters missed 1593 snaps. That OL was a disaster. In 2012, with basically the same personnel to begin the season, swapping out an ineffective/injured Jammal Brown for a similarly ineffective Tyler Polumbus, they only missed 239:
That 2012 version of the OL paved the way for the Redskins to become the #1 rushing offense in the NFL (with a major hat tip to type of offense the Skins ran). They ran for 169.3 yards per game, and the OL was monumentally better than the 2011 version. Here are the ridiculous rushing numbers the Skins put up against NFC East opponents last year:
That would be 195.8 rushing yards per game, as they steamrolled the Giants to the tune of 455 rushing yards, and the Cowboys to the tune of 423. For those reasons, it makes a lot of sense why the Redskins would want to maintain that continuity.
Kory Lichtensteiger signed a 5 year deal to stay in DC. The numbers on that deal aren’t awful. Based solely on talent, Lichtensteiger can be replaced rather easily. However, due to the continuity the Skins have developed, he’s probably worth more to the Skins than any other team. From that standpoint, it made sense to bring him back.
Josh LeRibeus was a 3rd round pick last year, and you typically want those guys to play sooner than later. I had a chance to watch LeRibeus play against the Seahawks in the playoffs last year, and I came away very impressed. For the better part of the day, he won his battles against a really good player in Brandon Mebane. However, the Redskins cannot count on the good health the OL was fortunate to have last season to continue. LeRibeus will provide good depth in the short term, before he eventually takes over at one of the interior OL spots.
• Re-signed Darrel Young. Nice job. Very nice role player, and an unheralded cog of the aforementioned Redskins rushing attack.
• Re-signed Logan Paulsen. The Browns reportedly sniffed around Fred Davis, and now the Bills appear to be hot and heavy after him. If you read this blog regularly, you know how much I like Fred Davis. There’s the thinking that Logan Paulsen can step right in be the starter without the Redskins losing much. I don’t buy that for a second, even with Davis missing most of the season last year during the Skins’ impressive second half run. That’s not to say I don’t like Paulsen. He’s a nice role player, but I wouldn’t want him seeing 700+ snaps.
• Re-signed Rob Jackson. Jackson made some enormous plays last season for the Skins, including the division clinching INT of Tony Romo. He was then pinched for violating the league’s policy of performance enhancing drugs. He faces a 4 game suspension, the 7th incurred by the Skins for PEDs or substance abuse since 2011, which is the most in the NFL.
• Re-signed Kedric Golston, RFA Chris Baker, Ron Brace and Brian Kehl. DL/ILB Depth.
• Re-signed punter Sav Rocca and long snapper Nick Sundberg. They’ll need those guys when they have to punt.
• As they’ve done in the past, the Skins loaded up on a handful of crappy RTs, hoping one might pan out. This year that trio is Tyler Polumbus, who the team re-signed, and a couple of imports in Tony Pashos and Jeremy Trueblood. I haven’t done much work on Pashos, so I won’t offer up any opinions there, but on a slow day in free agency last week, I watched some Jeremy Trueblood tape. He started Week 1 last season, and was benched, with good cause.
• Signed CB E.J. Biggers from Tampa. The Bucs’ secondary was an absolute train wreck last season, but it is my understanding that Biggers was not a heavy contributor to that mess. Apologies, but I still have some work to do there, although on the surface it’s a move I like with what the Skins have to work with.
• It appears the Redskins had significant interest in Aqib Talib, but they eventually lost out to the Pats for his services. Bummer. I was really pulling for the Skins to bring him in, selfishly, so I could launch my Aqib Talib – Brandon Meriweather game show.
• The Skins cut DeAngelo Hall. No-brainer. Hall was a bad starting CB with an occasional great game. Frankly, in my opinion, they should have cut him last offseason. This will save the Skins $8 million in cap space. It would have saved them $6.5 million if they cut him last year.
• Lorenzo Alexander signed with the Cardinals. Tough loss. Alexander did everything, and everybody seemed to respect him. Alexander is the kind of player that is buried deep on your roster, but you just love knowing he’s there. This loss was a direct hit from the cap penalty, in my opinion.
• The Skins also finally said goodbye to Brandon Banks. The Skins loved to try to shoehorn Banks into the regular offense, for reasons I’ll never understand. He was also one of the most prolific fumblers in the NFL, and probably the luckiest.
I went to Amsterdam once. In Amsterdam, when the weather is nice, an absurd number of people ride their bikes. In the 3 or so days I was there, I marveled at how so many people on bikes could be riding around, and not collide with a high level of regularity. By the end of my trip, I was almost kind of rooting for it, not because I’m a sadistic jerk, but more because it just made sense for me to have seen at least one crash. To have not seen at least one would have defied all reason.
Finally, literally as I was walking to the train to head to Brussels, two bikes smashed into each other, and all was right in the world. Conversely, I never got to see Brandon Banks lose a fumble in Washington, and that is very unsettling to me.
With the cap penalty severely hampering what the Skins could do this offseason, all they could hope for was to retain as many of their own key players as they could. So far, they’ve lost Lorenzo Alexander, and it looks like they could lose Fred Davis. Considering the circumstances, that’s not a disaster. It also helps that London Fletcher appears to be returning for one last ride. The Redskins weathered the storm, and can now look forward to continuing to build through the draft.
Also, as always, I’m contractually obligated to mention Josh LeRibeus’ male modeling career whenever his name comes up in a blog post.