For free agency, Redskins should spread their money out

March 10, 2014

The Redskins have expressed interest in signing Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib when free agency begins Tuesday. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Are the Redskins back to free agent star-chasing? Washington is considering signing New England cornerback Aqib Talib and Buffalo safety Jairus Byrd when free agency begins Tuesday. Having $22 million in salary cap space is a luxury for a team with this many needs, but signing either Talib or Byrd could cost nearly half of the budget.

Uh oh, it looks like owner Dan Snyder is back in business.

The Redskins need another cornerback and safety, but not someone who costs a major portion of their payroll. Not when the team — which went 3-13 last season — needs two safeties, two inside linebackers, at least two offensive linemen and another receiver. The remaining $12 million in cap space can’t begin to address the other needs.

Once more the Redskins are looking for big free agent signings. Sadly, it has rarely worked. Dana Stubblefield, Deion Sanders, Adam Archuleta and Albert Haynesworth were all busts and now Washington is looking to do it again? Madness.

The Redskins have already made their biggest offseason move by franchising linebacker Brian Orakpo for $11.45 million. There isn’t room for another eight-figure deal if the Redskins hope to build a balanced team. Keeping Orakpo isn’t a sexy move, but for once the Redskins valued one of their own players more than someone else’s.

Talib is a good player, but he’s not worth signing if it prevents the Redskins from making upgrades at several other positions. The Redskins re-signed cornerback DeAngelo Hall after a good season and second-year corner David Amerson needs to step up. The Redskins’ biggest need isn’t corner, but the biggest name they can sign may be Talib.

Is this franchise ever going to learn?

Washington needs to spread the money out. It would be better to get two mid-level safeties or a linebacker and right tackle for the cost of Talib or Byrd. Maybe a right tackle doesn’t sell jerseys, but it will help the Redskins win. And winning sells more jerseys.

This is where general manager Bruce Allen will show his power in the new front office following coach Mike Shanahan’s exit. Incoming coach Jay Gruden won’t have the same input as Shanahan. It’s on Allen now to improve the roster. Snyder always loves a big name, and while big names are great, they rarely prove to be worth the money.

A bad team doesn’t need Pro Bowl free agents if the bottom line is it will continue to lose games. The Redskins have been through this year after year since Snyder’s arrival in 1999. The team occasionally gets over .500 and has had a few first-round playoff exits, but it will never be a true contender until it learns how to better manage free agency.

Washington needs contributors, not marquee names that will tilt the salary cap.

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