Redskins and free agents: On Aqib Talib, Jairus Byrd and Anthony Collins

Cornerback Aqib Talib. (Stew Milne/Associated Press)

Cornerback Aqib Talib. (Stew Milne/Associated Press)

Here’s The Insider’s Monday sampling of what folks outside The Post are writing about the Redskins and potential free-agent signees:

If you’ve been following, you know which players Mike Jones is reporting that the Redskins have interest in: CB Aqib Talib and S Mike Mitchell, as well as CBs Captain Munnerlyn and Corey Graham, and S Jairus Byrd, and WRs Kenny Britt and Andrew Hawkins. You also know that Talib is on Mike’s list of five free agents the Redskins should avoid.

By reading Mike closely, you’ll see WR Emmanuel Sanders linked to Washington, and on Twitter, he’s taking questions about other players as well:

Mike also went through the team’s needs on offense and defense last week.

If you’ve missed any installment of Mark Bullock’s series, looking at a big name, a value and an under-the-radar potential signee at each of Washington’s need positions, here they are: Wide receivers, defensive line, offensive line, inside linebackers, safeties and cornerback.

So you know what we’ve written. But at a time like this, when everybody’s writing something and it’s hard to tell apart speculation, wishful thinking and reporting, who can keep up? Here’s our stab at it:

● One of the Redskins top needs is at cornerback. So you’ll be not-thrilled to read that SI’s Monday Morning QB says cornerbacks are going to be the most expensive players on the free-agent market:

“That’s seven quality starters, some better, on the hook. [Vontae] Davis is close to re-signing with Indy, according to Jason LaCanfora, and [Dominique] Rodgers-Cromartie is likely to return to Denver. The others? The Giants are pursuing [Alterraun] Verner, but I can’t see them paying $10 million a year. Washington and New England want Talib; Washington might be more desperate to make a free-agent strike, and the Patriots won’t overpay.”

Cincinnati tackle Anthony Collins hasn’t been a headline here, but Jones has mentioned him. And Cincy Jungle was kind enough to give us credit for John Keim’s reporting on Collins; As longtime Insider readers know, Keim stopped by on his way to ESPN last summer.

From the MMQB article referenced above:

“Tampa Bay, or a latecomer to the party, could settle for the unknown tackle with promise, Anthony Collins of the Bengals. All he did last year, according to Pro Football Focus, was allow zero sacks and zero quarterback hits in 592 snaps played on the Bengals line.”

● Jeff Darlington of NFL Network is bullish on those Redskins fits:

● SI has Talib landing with the Redskins:

“A popular prediction for several reasons: 1) GM Bruce Allen and assistant coach Raheem Morris drafted Talib in Tampa Bay; 2) Washington badly needs help at corner; 3) After a couple of years on the free-agency sideline, the Redskins have [millions] available to spend … and no first-round pick, so they need to be aggressive.”

On Talib, Pro Football Talk wrote:

“With Talib, the concern for some is whether a significant payday will provoke a return of the off-field concerns that helped run him out of Tampa. Thanks to the Aaron Hernandez debacle, the Patriots can’t make a huge investment of guaranteed money in Talib without risking an I-told-you-so moment if/when Talib finds trouble away from the field, again.”

And Keim, in a detailed set of ‘quick takes,’ wrote:

“There is a lot to like about Talib. He’s a good cornerback and has transformed his reputation playing in New England. I remember being told when he was in Tampa Bay that he was a guy who wanted to be a leader, but really didn’t know how and that he wasn’t a bad guy but acted improperly. With the Patriots, that leadership side emerged.”

If you’re in the hoping-for-Jairus Byrd camp, where the Eagles, Browns, Redskins and Dolphins seem to be the teams most linked to the Bills’ safety, here’s some good news:

Armando Salguero backed his Miami Herald colleague:

“I remind you that last year the Dolphins signed Reshad Jones to a four-year extension worth $29.36 million with $15 million in guaranteed money. They are not cutting Jones because that would mean approximately $13 million in dead money.

So the Dolphins are going to have a starting safety duo that represents approximately $16 million in average annual salary? …

Look, I love Jairus Byrd as a player. As I’ve written, the man is a turnover machine. He averages one turnover every two games. And then I found out what his asking price is. And it gave me pause.”

Eagles beat reporter Jeff McLane wrote this:

“Aside from cost, the Eagles are unlikely to pursue free-agent safeties Jairus Byrd and T.J. Ward because neither is an ideal schematic fit. Instead, the best fit may be the Saints’ Malcolm Jenkins.”

That’s perhaps two teams thought to be in the running for Byrd who aren’t.

On the flip side with Byrd, there’s this, from ProFootballTalk:

“James Walker of ESPN.com reports that the safety is looking for an average salary of around $9 million from any team that wants to sign him when such signings become a possibility on Tuesday. There’s no word on whether he’s found interest at that price tag over the weekend.

If Byrd did land a deal averaging $9 million a year, he’d slot in behind Eric Berry and just ahead of Eric Weddle and Dashon Goldson when it comes to highest averages among safeties. Byrd’s desire to secure a contract in that range led to a long standoff with the Bills after they placed the franchise tag on him last season as Buffalo wasn’t willing to meet his price for a long-term deal.”

Tarik El-Bashir of CSNWashington went back over their best available free agents and best fit fpr the Redskins at every position. Here’s offense and defense.

● Looking for some names you haven’t seen linked to the team anywhere and everywhere? Brian Tinsman of the Redskins’ official site lists players like Ted Ginn Jr., Ed Dickson and Jonathan Dwyer in his countdown to free agency preview of the offense. I’ll have to assume the defense post is still to come.

● The Redskins and Darren Sproles?

● If you’ve read everything every Washington-related Web site has posted, here’s a suggestion: Birds 24/7 has in-depth breakdowns of safeties and outside linebackers. Sure, you might feel icky on a division rival’s site, but since Philadelphia has some needs similar to Washington, it’s chance to read a fresh take on Byrd, T.J. Ward, Jenkins and Mitchell, among others. Also a good way to get an outsider’s take on Redskins free agent Rob Jackson:

“At 6-4, 266, he has good size and experience. Jackson is considered a rotational player, but could be a stopgap option for the Eagles.”

If you just like lists, there’s NFL.com and Rotoworld’s lists of free agents by position. For an overall ranking, try Pro Football Talk’s Hot 100 or National Football Post’s Top 50 (Byrd is No. 1).

Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at mike.jones@washpost.com with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag on Tuesdays.

More from The Post:

D.C. Sports Bog: Cerrato: Bengals better without Gruden | More

Redskins interested in Byrd, Graham, Munnerlyn | Talib, Mitchell

Outsider: Free agent CBs Redskins could target | Safeties

Five free agents the Redskins should avoid  | All NFL news

Free agency: Redskins’ needs on defense | On offense

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