NFL Washington Redskins

21 Free Agents the Washington Redskins Should Consider This Offseason

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Free Agents the Redskins Should Target

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Across the board, the Washington Redskins need to improve. While the draft is coming and it’s possible new coaches can make players better, the easiest way to improve the team is through free agency.

Over the past two seasons, the Redskins have been hampered in their offseason ability due to a $36 million cap penalty. It stemmed from the 2010 non-capped year in which Washington restructured contracts so a majority of the bonus money would be paid then. The NFL and NFLPA then viewed that as an unfair competitive advantage and docked the franchise $36 million over the course of two years.

Now, the Redskins are no longer penalized and they have a little over $33.6 million to spend this year. With that kind of wiggle room, Jay Gruden and Bruce Allen could make some serious headway in filling the holes in the roster before the draft. The free-agent class this year has some solid talent and the Redskins could put themselves in a great position to win again in 2014.

The free agency period opens on March 13. It should be interesting to see which players that are currently set to become free agents receive the franchise tag. While some big-name players will likely get it, I don’t anticipate it changing what the Redskins can do in free agency.

On the following slides, you’ll find 21 players that the Redskins could sign in free agency. This list is based on realistic moves they could make to fill needs, not just sign big-name players. Washington could sign any of these players and they would make the team better.

It’s important to note that these players are organized by positions, this is not a countdown. Do you have any names not on this list that would make great fits? Let me know and start the discussion in the comment box below.

Brian Skinnell is a freelance sports writer for and contributor at Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter and add him to your network on Google.

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Eric Decker - Wide Receiver

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Eric Decker playing opposite of Pierre Garçon would make for a solid passing attack under Jay Gruden. With Santana Moss also set to become a free agent, and some believe he’ll retire, Washington will need to look for a second receiver that Robert Griffin III can throw to.

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Aldrick Robinson - Wide Receiver

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Speed kills and that’s the one thing that Aldrick Robinson has that the other receivers in Washington don’t. Robinson is the team’s home run threat and they should re-sign him to maintain their big-play ability on offense. He’ll be cheap, so they should make this happen early on.

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Brandon Pettigrew - Tight End

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Brandon Pettigrew hasn’t exactly grown into the dominant tight end that he has the potential for, but the Redskins could certainly use his 6-foot-5, 265-pound frame. With Fred Davis becoming a free agent, it should be interesting to see if the Redskins let Davis walk with a talent like Jordan Reed waiting in the ranks. The only downside to Reed is his size and Pettigrew would make up for that.

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Rodger Saffold - Offensive Guard/Tackle

Kyle Terada-USA Today Sports

The Redskins need help along the offensive line and Rodger Saffold could be in position to do that. He’s played both guard and tackle for the St. Louis Rams and they would like to keep him. However, other than at left tackle, the Redskins have areas that could improve on their front five. Saffold would be able to contribute wherever they need him.

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Brandon Albert - Offensive Tackle

Kirby Lee - USA Today Sports

If the Redskins want to sure up the edges of their offensive line, then looking into Brandon Albert could be an option for them. The Kansas City Chiefs don’t expect Albert to be on their squad next year and the Arizona Cardinals have reportedly expressed interest in him. Some say he won’t come cheap, that could deter the Redskins.

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Willie Colon - Offensive Guard

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Between the tackles, the Redskins could use a boost. In 2013, Willie Colon didn’t give up a sack on a struggling New York Jets team. At the end of the season, he tore his triceps, so there’s a good chance he won’t be ready for Training Camp. If that’s the case, the Redskins should stay away.

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Chad Rinehart - Offensive Guard

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Redskins originally drafted Chad Rinehart in the third round of the 2008 NFL Draft. In 2010, he was a part of the final round of roster cuts before the season. He’s bounced around the NFL with the Buffalo Bills and San Deigo Chargers, but he’s set to be a free agent in 2014. He’s a solid player that the Redskins should consider and he’ll be cheap.

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Ziggy Hood - Defensive (Nose) Tackle

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

With Jay Gruden saying he’s ready to roll with a 3-4 defense, he’ll need a good nose tackle. Barry Cofield and Chris Nield have played well, but that’s still a position worth looking at. Ziggy Hood has experience in a 3-4 defense with the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Steelers have already looked at moving him to play nose-tackle. He could certainly do the same in D.C.

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Terrence Cody - Defensive (Nose) Tackle

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Terrence Cody has experience playing the nose tackle position with the Baltimore Ravens and has performed well. With Gruden expecting to run a 3-4 defense, Cody would be a good addition to the line. He would bring upgrade and fill a need. At 25, he’s younger than Cofield and Nield, which is a plus.

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Brian Orakpo - Defensive End/Outside Linebacker

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The Redskins would be foolish not to re-sign Brian Orakpo. He’s been a constant playmaker, when he’s healthy, and has been good for the defense. He plays well in the 3-4 scheme and does well opposite of Ryan Kerrigan rushing the passer. When Orakpo’s healthy, he can be dominant. I just hope he doesn’t ask for too much.

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Rob Jackson - Outside Linebacker

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

During the Redskins’ 2012 playoff season, Rob Jackson was an unsung hero. Jackson filled in for an injured Brian Orakpo for most of the season and played well. While he was suspended for a banned substance in 2013, character isn’t a question. Jackson has played well for the Redskins and they should re-sign him.

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Perry Riley - Inside Linebacker

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Not re-signing Perry Riley would be a huge mistake for the Redskins. In 2013, he totaled 115 tackles. He’s the heir apparent to the throne left void by London Fletcher and it should be interesting to see how he’ll do. One thing’s for sure, he deserves the opportunity.

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Wesley Woodyard - Inside Linebacker

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In 14 games for the Denver Broncos in 2013, Wesley Woodyard totaled 84 tackles. He’s a solid player and the Redskins should consider giving him a call. He’s played his entire career in Denver, so it should be interesting to see if he’ll test the market or be quick to return to Denver.

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DeAngelo Hall - Cornerback

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DeAngelo Hall made the Pro Bowl as an alternate, but I only feel that was because of statistics. While I understand that some believe Hall is an automatic for them to re-sign, I’m not so sure. Overall, Hall played inconsistent this year and that worries me. Lack of interest in the market could keep his price low, which would be good for the Redskins.

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Sam Shields - Cornerback

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Sam Shields totaled four interceptions and 17 pass deflections for the Green Bay Packers in 2013. With the Redskins needing desperate help in the secondary, taking an interest in Shields is a good idea. He’s a solid cornerback that plays his assignment well.

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Walter Thurmond - Cornerback

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Walter Thurmond is another cornerback that can come in and make the Redskins’ secondary better. In four seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, Thurmond has yet to play a full 16-game season, which can be cause for concern. However, he does play well when he’s healthy. Since he has a past history of health issues and suspensions, his price tag should be fairly reasonable for the Redskins.

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Captain Munnerlyn - Cornerback

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Through the end of the regular season, Captain Munnerlyn totaled two interceptions and 12 pass deflected for the Carolina Panthers. In practice, he’s gone against Steve Smith, so he’s bread to cover fast receivers. On top of that, Munnerlyn contributed to the return teams in the early years. He can do more than just cover and that’s why the Redskins should consider him.

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Tracy Porter - Cornerback

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Tracy Porter has played for three teams through his six seasons, but he’s recorded an interception each year. He’s a solid tackler and defender. For the Redskins, they should be able to get him a fairly reasonable price. If he isn’t cheap, stay away. He isn’t that big of an x-factor anymore.

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Malcolm Jenkins - Safety

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Malcolm Jenkins isn’t the most desirable safety out there, but he’s worthy of a look. He’s got five years of experience on a New Orleans Saints team that has found plenty of success. He’s a sure-tackling safety that can cover well. The fact the Saints have Kenny Vaccaro ready to take over the No. 1 job is encouraging for Jenkins’ price range.

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T.J. Ward - Safety

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There are reports that T.J. Ward could get the franchise tag from the Cleveland Browns and others state that he wants to remain with the Browns. However, the Redskins should make a play. Reed Doughty and Jose Gumbs are not capable manning the top of the secondary and retaining Brandon Meriweather would be a terrible idea. Washington should at least wave some money in front of Ward.

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Jairus Byrd - Safety

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Jairus Byrd is widely regarded as the best safety in this year’s free-agent class, and rightfully so. Byrd totaled four interceptions last season and 48 tackles through 11 games. On his career, he’s picked off a whopping 22 passes. Adding Byrd to the defensive secondary would do wonders for the Redskins and they should do their best to make that happen.