The NFL free agency bonanza is now in full effect. The Seattle Seahawks have solidified their offense, acquiring big play wide receiver Percy Harvin via trade with the Minnesota Vikings. In addition, the San Francisco 49ers added a veteran presence to their wide receiver corps with the addition of former Baltimore Ravens’ standout wide receiver Anquan Boldin. Even Wes Welker has been bitten by the free agency bug. He left the New England Patriots to become Peyton Manning’s main target with the Denver Broncos.
NFL fans are accustomed to the Washington Redskins being a major player in the annual free agency sweepstakes. However, things could be different in 2013 for the Redskins, who find themselves on the sidelines of the free agency bonanza. That’s unusual, considering that they usually win the Super Bowl of signing big name free agents that go bust after one season or less.
You see, Washington is extremely limited in how they can approach free agency. The Redskins thus far have released cornerback DeAngelo Hall, and have restructured the contracts of wide receiver Santana Moss, defensive end Adam Carriker, and safety Brandon Meriweather. Unfortunately, that leaves Washington only $600,000 under the 2013 salary cap. Needless to say, that paltry amount will force the Redskins to exercise fiscal responsibility.
Building through the draft may not be a viable option either. The Redskins traded away their 2013 first round pick to the St. Louis Rams to obtain the right to draft quarterback Robert Griffin III in 2012. It was a transaction that benefitted the Redskins greatly (for a change). Nevertheless, the team will still be unable to significantly solidify its roster. In fact, Washington will only have seven draft choices at their disposal in the 2013 NFL draft. Expecting to find a diamond in the rough draft pick in 2013 like Washington did in 2012 with running back Alfred Morris is unrealistic.
Yes, it looks like Redskins’ owner Daniel M. Snyder will have to keep his checkbook closed in 2013. While the Redskins’ roster could use some improvement, maybe the organization will benefit from not having to rely on free agency in 2013. The continuity of the team that won the NFC East in 2012 remains largely intact, save for the release of Hall. If Washington can retain that continuity in 2013, maybe they can surpass their success of 2012.