The NFL Draft took place just more than a week ago, and whenever the lockout is lifted, free agency could begin. The Washington Redskins have money to spend and are champing at the bit, according to people inside the organization.
Over the next couple days, we’ll take a look at the Redskins’ needs, how they addressed them in the draft and where the holes remain that could be met in free agency.
Veterans: DEs Adam Carriker, Phillip Daniels, Kedric Golston, Vonnie Holliday, Jeremy Jarmon, Darrion Scott, Albert Haynesworth; NTs Ma’ake Kemoeatu, Anthony Bryant.
Expired contracts: Golston
Top need: Nose tackle.
The Redskins addressed two defensive line needs in the draft, but while the 6-foot-4, 310-pound Jenkins (taken with the 41st overall pick of the draft) and the 6-foot-2, 319-pound Neild (253rd overall pick) possess good size and potential, they may not make an impact immediately.
Washington struggled in the trenches last season largely because the team didn’t have a dominant nose tackle to anchor its 3-4 defense. Kemoeatu was coming off a year-long recovery from Achilles’ surgery, then wound up on injured reserve and required shoulder surgery. Bryant showed some promise, but appeared in only six games, starting three of them.
It wouldn’t be a surprise if the Redskins went after a veteran nose tackle while they groom Neild, whom Shanahan likes. The top nose tackle expected to be on the free agent market is San Francisco’s Aubrayo Franklin, a 6-foot-1, 317-pound eight-year veteran who last season recorded 39 tackles.
Ten-year veteran Ron Edwards (6-3, 315), who recorded 26 tackles last season while anchoring the Chief’s line, is also expected to be available..
Carriker and Golston (who will be a restricted free agent) recorded 37 and 35 tackles, respectively, as the team’s starting ends last season, and Holliday and Daniels played in a lot of third-down situations. But Holliday hinted at retirement the day after the 2010 season ended, and Washington could look to add another end. One of the top 3-4 ends on the market is Green Bay’s Cullen Jenkins, a free agent who recorded seven sacks for the Packers last season. League insiders say that the Redskins are high on the seven-year veteran, and that he also has interest in playing in Washington.
Other top free agent 3-4 ends: Six-year veteran Jacques Cesaire, who tallied 31 tackles and 1.5 sacks for the Chargers last season, and 10-year veteran Gerard Warren, who recorded 28 tackles and 3.5 sacks for the Patriots.