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Redskins Free Agency: Thoughts on Day 1

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Thoughts on Day 1

Bruce Allen said weeks ago that the Washington Redskins would be very active in free agency this year. After not being able to have a “normal” free agency period since Allen arrived in DC the Redskins finally have some money to build a team with and it appears that Allen is being conservative with that money, shying away from big-money deals on day 1. This should come as a breath of fresh air for all of those in Redskins Nation who constantly complain about the Vinny Cerrato/Daniel Snyder past free agency binges and how they turned out. Those days appear to be in the rear-view mirror now as the Redskins were, for the most part, quiet on day one in free agency.

It has long been said that to be build a winner you must find a way to keep your own “in-house” talent at a reasonable price, while developing  pieces from the draft and add certain free agents who come at the right price and produce. In the past the Redskins have had multiple years with tons of money and have over-paid for the biggest free agent names on the market, this year Allen seems directed to not reach for any players or overpay. This was made evident to everyone in the world who was paying attention yesterday when the Redskins didn’t chase after Aqib Talib, Jairus Byrd, TJ Ward or Mike Mitchell, all safeties who were seeking big money deals that signed elsewhere. The Redskins were patient and Allen must have realized that there are several players the team can turn to in day two without setting the franchise back with ridiculous contracts.

The biggest move made on day one was without doubt the re-signing of Perry Riley. Having Riley signed to a reasonable deal lets the Redskins concentrate on the other needs at hand and will ensure that the Redskins have their defensive signal caller back for the next four seasons. The Riley contract is perfect, 3 years at $13 million, which will break down to $3 million next year, $4 million in 2015 and $5 million in 2016, keep in mind Perry Riley was originally asking for nearly $7 million a season just a few days ago.

The Redskins positioned themselves in talks with Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Andre Roberts early in the day and had a deal struck soon after free agency opened. The Roberts contract is set for 4 years, $16 million with $8 million guaranteed, his $1.5 million dollar cap hit this year will be fully guaranteed as well. Roberts was drafted in the third round out of the The Citadel, he has 182 catches for 2,123 yards and 11 touchdowns in his career (despite having sub-par qb’s throwing him the ball almost his entire career). Last season he recorded 43 catches for 471 yards and two touchdowns. The kid has blazing speed (4.36 at the combine) combined with pure toughness and improving hands.

As free agency opened, the Redskins announced that they had come to an agreement with veteran Santana Moss on a one year deal (terms are unknown at this point). Bringing Moss back may have came as a surprise to many who thought the signing of Roberts would mean the end of the “Cowboy Killa”, fact is the Redskins can do much, much worse that Moss as a number 5 receiver and there is no guarantee that ‘Tana will even make the team.

The Redskins made a move to strengthen their offensive line signing Cleveland Browns offensive guard Shawn Lauvao. Lauvao, 26, started 44 of 53 games while in Cleveland and was a player they intended on re-signing this year. This deal could mean the Redskins are looking to switch out one of their current starting lineman this upcoming season and is a four-year deal worth $17 million. Kinda puzzled at this move but I’m withholding judgement for now, just wondering when Josh LeRibeus or Adam Gettis will, if ever, get a chance…I like the idea of filling needs from within with drafted players more.

In a move that could help bolster both the depth of their inside linebacker position and their special teams units, the Redskins also agreed to terms with former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Adam Hayward. Hayward’s deal is for three years, $3 million. He is scheduled to visit Redskins Park on Wednesday to take a physical; if he passes, he will sign his contract. The 6-1, 240-pound Portland State product has played primarily on special teams in his seven previous seasons in the NFL. Hayward has made 13 starts on defense in seven seasons, recording 128 tackles and a sack.

The Redskins also setup meetings for day two with Ravens cornerback Corey Graham (28) , Texans defensive end Antonio Smith (32) and Panthers right tackle Bruce Campbell (25).

Allen gets a B+ grade from me for day one, he signed two current guys and brought in three new guys for reasonable deals and he also was patient enough to sit calmly and not chase overpriced players. I expect Bruce to be active in day two possibly trying to fill the franchises holes in the defensive secondary and maybe land a wide receiver with some height to the roster. There are still literally tons of players available for the Redskins, they just need to find the ones who fit the mold Allen is looking for.