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.
The first position we’ll look at: defensive backs.
Veterans: Cornerbacks: DeAngelo Hall, Kevin Barnes, Byron Westbrook; Safeties: O.J. Atogwe, LaRon Landry, Kareem Moore, Chris Horton, Reed Doughty, Macho Harris, Anderson Russell.
Drafted: Cornerback Brandyn Thompson (Boise State), safety DeJon Gomes (Nebraska).
Expired contracts: Cornerbacks Carlos Rogers and Phillip Buchanon.
Top need: Starting cornerback.
The Redskins addressed a pressing need at free safety when they signed Atogwe the day before the 2010 CBA expired. They will pair him with Landry for their starting tandem. Hall is locked in at one cornerback position, but what about the other spot? The way Jim Haslett sounded at the end of the season, Carlos Rogers doesn’t seem to be very likely to return. Redskins coaches are high on Barnes, who as a second-year player, showed good versatility, smarts and coverage skills. If they go the affordable route, he could get the job. But it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Redskins throw money at that position.
The question is, however, who will be on the market? If a new CBA has been reached when free agency opens, the NFL will see a huge free agent class. But if the league operates under the rules used in 2010, players will need six years of experience to be unrestricted free agents.
The top player available would be shutdown corner Nnamdi Asomugha, who is due for a big payday and could be pursued by the Redskins, the Cowboys and the Eagles, among others.
From there, the cornerback crop isn’t great, but includes Pittsburgh’s Ike Taylor, Buffalo’s Drayton Florence, Minnesota’s Lito Sheppard and Philadelphia’s Ellis Hobbs, along with Rogers and Buchanon.