Allen: Redskins didn’t expect to be able to keep team intact in free agency

The Washington Redskins managed to keep their team basically intact in free agency this offseason even while absorbing the second half of their two-year, $36 million salary cap penalty.

General Manager Bruce Allen said Monday in Richmond he had not expected to be able to pull that off.

Bruce Allen

Redskins GM Bruce Allen said the Redskins were pleasantly surprised by being able to keep almost their whole team intact, and praised the players who re-signed. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

“This free agency, we accomplished something we didn’t think we were going to be able to,” Allen said at a tour for media members of the team’s training camp site.

“But with the cooperation of our players, we did. We have our entire team coming back except for Lorenzo Alexander, who signed with the Arizona Cardinals. So bringing that type of stability, adding the draft and half a dozen free agents, it does give us some stability. We have to get a lot of guys still healthy, and that’s what the offseason is for. It’s a good feeling knowing that 80 percent of your team knows the offense, the defense and the special teams that we’ll be running.”

The Redskins re-signed a string of free agents that included tight end Fred Davis, guard Kory Lichtensteiger and right tackle Tyler Polumbus. They re-signed cornerback DeAngelo Hall after releasing him just before the free agent market opened. They lost Alexander, a linebacker and a Pro Bowl selection on special teams last season, to the Cardinals but added a few relatively modestly priced free agents, including two candidates to compete with Polumbus for the right tackle job in Tony Pashos and Jeremy Trueblood.

“It makes you proud of what they feel about their teammates as well,” Allen said Monday. “I’ve always said that the players understand the salary cap better than any executive, and they understand the restrictions that were placed on us by the league and the Players Association. And to have them want to come back to continue to build this team, it’s a heart-warming feeling.”

The team started organized team activities, or offseason practices, this week. Allen said the organization’s decision-makers will use the OTAs to decide whether any further offseason additions should be made.

“As we get through OTAs, we’ll see if there’s anybody out there who can enhance our roster,” Allen said. “But right now we feel pretty comfortable with the 90 we have. We’re just short in depth in a couple areas because some players are still mending.”

One possibility could be re-signing running back Tim Hightower, who was released prior to last season.

“I know Tim wanted to look at a few other teams,” Allen said. “We did draft two running backs. So we’re going to go through the OTAs, see where we’re at with our young guys and then make a decision closer to training camp.”

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