NFL Washington Redskins

The 5 Biggest Free Agency Rumors Surrounding the Washington Redskins

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Top 5 Free Agency Rumors for the Washington Redskins

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By any stretch of the imagination, 2013 was a disastrous year for the Washington Redskins. The team finished last in a poor NFC East with a dismal 3-13 record and failed to win a single division game. It was the worst season the 'Skins have had since their dreadful 1994 campaign.

On top of everything else, their star quarterback, Robert Griffin III, did not play the last three games of the season. The decision, spearheaded by head coach Mike Shanahan, was not exactly universally popular. Shanahan, along with most of his staff, was fired at season's end.

So where do the Redskins go from here? It's obvious the team needs to make offseason adjustments, but what areas require the most examination?

Many fans will tell you that the secondary was a major issue in 2013, as well as the defensive and offensive lines. Aside from Trent Williams on the offensive side and star linebacker Brian Orakpo leading the defense, the team didn't have much to offer in these areas.

Will the Redskins have enough money to thoroughly improve their squad? Luckily for Washington, the team has some cap room to work with. With free agency a mere four days away, the Redskins have just under $22 million in salary cap room. It's possible to increase that number by making a few cuts.

2014 is going to be an interesting year in Washington. In many ways the season will be a new beginning. The team has already hired a new head coach, Jay Gruden, and former tight ends coach Sean McVay has been promoted to offensive coordinator. There's going to be more new faces in town in a short period of time, so let's take a look at who these players might be.

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5. Jon Asamoah

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As an offensive guard, Jon Asamoah did an extraordinary job for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2013. Asamoah was a major factor in Jamaal Charles' outstanding year, establishing Kansas City as a major running force.

Asamoah is a young player, which makes him even more desirable on the free agent market. His experience blocking for a star running back also adds to his value, and the Redskins hope he can achieve similar success clearing the way for Pro-Bowler Alfred Morris.

Naysayers may point to Asamoah as a product of Andy Reid's system, but there's no doubt the Redskins have their eye on this talented youngster.

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4. Arthur Jones

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With the Redskins in need of a quality defensive end, Arthur Jones is certainly on their radar. Jones, while not the greatest pass-rusher, is well-versed in defending the run and fits wonderfully in a 3-4 defense, which Washington uses. Jones excelled for the Baltimore Ravens as a 3-4 run-gobbler, and the Redskins hope he can be as much of a force as he was in Baltimore.

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3. Alex Mack

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Alex Mack had been a standout center for the Cleveland Browns since joining the team in 2009. He is a two-time Pro-Bowler (2010, 2013) and was selected second-team All-Pro in 2013.

The Redskins would love to have Mack to anchor their offensive line, but the downside here is cost. Cleveland put a transition tag on Mack, which means that Washington would have to exceed Cleveland's offer in order to procure him. As much as Washington wants Mack, his price tag may be an issue and the team has many other holes to fill.

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2. Aqib Talib

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Aqib Talib is on most everyone's wish-list, and the Redskins are no different. However, Washington may have a leg-up on the competition in one regard: Raheem Morris. Morris was the secondary coach and head coach while Talib was a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Morris has been the secondary coach in Washington since 2012.

While Talib has obvious talent and was a Pro-Bowler with the New England Patriots in 2013, there's going to be a bit of uncertainty surrounding his performance abilities once he leaves the Patriots. Essentially, it's rare to see someone leave Bill Belichick's system and thrive with another squad.

Still, Talib is a physical play-maker who does a great job hounding receivers, something the Redskins sorely lacked in 2013. Expect a strong push to be made for this standout cornerback.

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1. Jairus Byrd

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Considered by many to be the top free agent in the NFL, Jairus Byrd is unquestionably a stud free-safety who can shore up the middle of any team's secondary. Byrd is about to enter his prime as an athlete, and basically every team in the league would love to have him.

A Pro-Bowler and first-team All-Pro in 2009, 2012 and 2013, Byrd has led the AFC in interceptions twice. He's just the kind of man the Redskins are looking for.

However, there are a couple downsides. First things first, Byrd will be very expensive. Secondly, he dealt with some injuries in 2013 and wound up missing five games. While his career has not at all been plagued by injuries and 2013 may simply be an aberration, it's enough to give some GMs a reason to balk. Nonetheless, Byrd is a star and would make a lasting impact on any defense. The Redskins hope he'll be plying his trade in our nation's capital in 2014.