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 filled in free agency.
Veterans: LT Trent Williams, G/C Kory Lichtensteiger, C Casey Rabach, G/C Will Montgomery, G/T Artis Hicks, T Selvish Capers, T Clint Oldenburg, G Erik Cook, T Xavier Fulton
Drafted: G Maurice Hurt (Florida)
Expired contracts: RT Jammal Brown , RT Stephon Heyer
Top needs: Right tackle, center
The Redskins addressed their need at left tackle last year when they drafted Williams fourth overall. But the right tackle position is a question area.
They acquired Brown from the New Orleans Saints for a third-round pick in the 2011 draft, but he is now a free agent. Brown was working his way back from 2009 hip surgery last season, and didn’t really start feeling good until late in the season. He has expressed a desire to return to the Redskins, but admitted that he feels more natural at left tackle. He could sign elsewhere if the opportunity to move back to that position presents itself. Heyer was the backup at both tackle positions, but depending on the rules set by the NFL when the lockout ends, he will be either a restricted or unrestricted free agent.
Coaches have valued the leadership Rabach provides, but he wasn’t as effective last year while playing through several injuries. He needed shoulder surgery this offseason. Montgomery and Lichtensteiger both are natural centers, but saw significant time at the right and left guard positions, respectively. Hicks can play guard or tackle. He began last season at right guard, but was slowed by groin and thigh injuries. He lost his job to Montgomery and never regained it once healthy.
While discussing the state of his line in March, Shanahan praised the development of both Lichtensteiger and Montgomery. So, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if Washington stuck with both, banking on another year of experience for improvement.
The lack of a new collective bargaining agreement means that many of the top young linemen who could be on the market may end up as restricted free agents, which would limit the number of players available. A good number of the unrestricted free agents -- Matt Light, Barry Sims, Olin Kreutz -- are on the downside of their careers.
At tackle, Oakland’s Kalif Barnes and Seattle’s Sean Locklear are available, but the pickings are slim beyond that.
Washington’s best bet probably is to re-sign Brown.