The Washington Redskins won’t have the dark cloud of salary cap circumvention sanctions hanging over their heads in 2014. They may have as much as $43 million to spend on free agents, after having a combined $36 million in free-agency dollars taken away from them in the past two years by the NFL. Washington will have to resort to free agency to rebuild their roster, as they will once again have a limited amount of draft picks at their disposal.
The Redskins’ approach to rebuilding will be unfamiliar to Redskins’ fans. They have a new head coach in Jay Gruden (above, left), who won’t have the final say on player personnel decisions like his predecessor Mike Shanahan did. Redskins’ general manager Bruce Allen (above, right) will handle those duties. Gruden and Allen are familiar with each other from their days with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Allen was the Buccaneers’ general manager, while Gruden was an offensive assistant. They have a good working relationship, which could reflect stability for a Redskins’ franchise not known for that quality in recent years.
A friend of mine suggested that Washington spend free-agency dollars to solidify the offense. Gruden was the offensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals, so it would make sense to focus on upgrading the Redskins’ offense. The offensive line could truly use an upgrade. In 2013, they had trouble in pass protection. That led to quarterbacks Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins taking a lot of hits from opposing defenses.
While the offensive line has had their issues, it’s the Redskins’ defense that needs serious attention. Washington’s secondary is the source of much concern. Cornerback Richard Crawford and safety Philip Thomas missed the entire 2013 season due to season-ending injuries. Strong safety Brandon Meriweather didn’t have the impact necessary to solidify the secondary due to injuries to both knees. In addition, starting cornerback Josh Wilson hasn’t justified his starting status, as he was routinely beaten by opposing wide receivers.
It’s too early to talk free agency now, as the AFC and NFC championship games will soon commence. For now, Redskins’ fans hope the Allen/Gruden regime provides a solid foundation in regards to building a contender. It’s a solid first step for a team that always seems to be in rebuilding mode.