In the midst of our delight that the lockout might soon be over, let us pause to consider the ominous evidence that Redskins One is fueled and ready, and that the new regime will indeed continue the ways of the old — that is, trying to buy a team rather than build one. Indeed, the Washington wish list is said to be a long one.
Exhibit one is Santonio Holmes. Everybody says the Redskins are after him. And why not? He fits the mold of some recent acquisitions: one standout season and a few pretty good ones; a history of injury; and off-season problems, as the euphemism has it — why wouldn’t we want to get in a bidding war for him?
The number crunchers at Football Outsiders rank 31 receivers in the league ahead of him, including, incidentally, a fellow named Anthony Armstrong who I seem to recall is already on the roster, and a bargain. Mind, I do not object in principle to the idea of signing of Holmes, but, if we land him, we are likely to overpay, as we always do, for a receiver the Steelers were only too happy to dump on the Jets.
I recognize that the free agent pickings at wide receiver are slim. Jacksonville’s Mike Sims-Walker would be a whole lot cheaper than Holmes, but his history of injury is even worse than Holmes’s. Lance Moore would be a bargain, but he is too inches shorter than Holmes, and not one to stretch the field. But if the goal is to get a downfield threat, surely the best one likely to be available is Malcolm Floyd, assuming that San Diego chooses to keep Vince Jackson instead.
Still, all of this is subsidiary to the main issue: that the checkbook is out again. Now, it’s Daniel Snyder’s team, and it’s Daniel Snyder’s money, and he has the right to do what he wants with both. I happen to like Snyder a lot — I know he’s made mistakes, and a lot of fans do not care for him, but his commitment to doing whatever is necessary to field a great team is unshakeable. The Donovan McNabb trade didn’t turn out as hoped, but it was a smart try. I am worried that a heavy plunge back into the free agent market, especially one aimed at securing expensive stars rather than young role-players (see: New York Giants) will strand us a few years from now right where we were a few years ago: out of the playoffs and burdened by dead money.