Redskins Free Agency: Keep, Walk or Tag Options for Every Free Agent

Shae Cronin@@BetBigDCCorrespondent IJanuary 10, 2014

Redskins Free Agency: Keep, Walk or Tag Options for Every Free Agent

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    Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

    In addition to a new head coach in Washington, the Redskins should see plenty of changes, as the team will need to make decisions on nearly two dozen players this offseason. 

    After spending the last two years under the limitations of a league-imposed cap penalty, the Redskins will enter this spring in a beneficial situation as it pertains to free agency—with lots of holes to fill on the roster and lots of money to do it with. 

    Here's a look at each of the Redskins' upcoming free agents and the team's best move heading into 2014. 

Joshua Morgan

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    Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

    The Move: Let him walk 

    Mike Shanahan signed Joshua Morgan two years ago because the Redskins lacked a receiver who could generate yards after the catch.

    But after $11.5 million, 30 games and just two touchdown catches, it's safe to say Morgan didn't work out in Washington the way anyone would've hoped. 

     

Santana Moss

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    Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

    The Move: Let him walk 

    After nine seasons in Washington, it'll be tough to see watching Santana Moss go. But that's the right move for the Redskins as it pertains to a 35-year-old backup receiver heading into next season.

    Moss' role in the offense has decreased significantly over the past three years, and even more so over the last 16 games. Moss may very well be putting a cap on his respectable 13-year NFL career. 

     

London Fletcher

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    Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

    The Move: Applaud him

    According to Mark Maske of the Washington Post, 38-year-old linebacker London Fletcher will hang 'em up after 16 seasons and more than 250 consecutive starts in the NFL. Hats off to a brilliant football career. 

    The Redskins will have a large hole to fill with Fletcher's departure, but it was an inside linebacker position that would need to be upgraded even if Fletcher decided to keep playing football.

    The team's larger task will come by way of replacing Fletcher's leadership and maturity more so than replacing his production from a season ago. 

     

Josh Wilson

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    Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

    The Move: Let him walk

    After grading out in the bottom half of all cornerbacks playing at least 25 percent of their team's snaps last season, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Josh Wilson has likely played his last games in Washington. 

    Because he'll be 29 at the start of next season and likely affordable, bringing back Wilson in a reserve role could work. But when you think about a new coaching staff and rebuilding a roster, it wouldn't be a shock to see Wilson playing elsewhere next year. 

     

Brian Orakpo

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    Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

    The Move: Re-sign him

    What to do with Brian Orakpo will be the hardest decision the Redskins make in regards to their upcoming free agents this year. 

    Since being drafted by the Redskins 13th overall in 2009, Orakpo has recorded 157 tackles, 39.5 sacks and seven turnovers in 64 games. However, the jury is still hung when it comes to labeling Orakpo one of the league's elite pass-rushers. 

    Personally, I only like the idea of re-signing Orakpo for the right deal. If he demands top-tier money, the Redskins can wisely spend their dollars elsewhere. But if the 27-year-old Orakpo offers a fair deal, retaining him will be in the team's best interest. 

    Another thing to think about regarding Orakpo's future in Washington is the new coaching staff and what defensive scheme they elect to run. If the defense changes to a 4-3 and Orakpo is then lined up with his hand in the dirt, I believe he can be very effective. But do the new coaches?

    Finally, I expect to hear a lot about slapping Orakpo with the franchise tag instead of signing him to a multi-year deal. But consider what the franchise tag could cost, its damage against the cap, what it could mean for a future deal and how the move itself may affect Orakpo personally in potential future negotiations. 

    Based on the projections and predictions by Joel Corry of CBS Sports, a franchise tag for Orakpo is a hard sell. 

     

Fred Davis

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The Move: Let him walk

    Despite the immense size of Shanahan's doghouse, there were more negative rumors surrounding tight end Fred Davis last season than good ones. Missing team meetings, falling asleep in the ones you do attend and not being accountable are all ways to keep yourself off the field, regardless of coaching staff.

    Clearly last year's draft pick Jordan Reed is the team's future at the position, but even bringing back Davis as a backup doesn't seem worthwhile. A possible distraction who will be 28 to start next season and a year removed from an Achilles tear is replaceable.

E.J. Biggers

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    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    The Move: Let him walk 

    When the Redskins signed E.J. Biggers last year, it was seen as a kind of project. Washington's secondary clearly needed help, Biggers was available on the cheap and defensive backs coach Raheem Morris had drafted and coached him in Tampa Bay

    It didn't take long to deem the Biggers Project a failure in Washington. Luckily, it didn't cost much either. 

    The Redskins secondary is still in need of help, Biggers will only be 27 at the start of next season and he'll still be available at a low salary. But assuming the team looks to address the defensive back-half in the draft come April—and a guy like Josh Wilson had a much more productive season—no one's going to argue for Biggers to be re-signed. 

     

Reed Doughty

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    Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

    The Move: Re-sign him 

    It's about time Reed Doughty starts being recognized as a real iron man—and for reasons other than completing a triathlon or playing in 2,632 consecutive baseball games. 

    Instead, Doughty has weathered the storm of umpteen regimes and coaches in Washington since being drafted by the Redskins in the sixth round more than seven years ago. 

    Despite turning 32 a quarter way through next season, re-signing Doughty for what should be no more than $1 million or so to help the Redskins' disastrous special teams unit would be a bargain. He may not be able to cover or contribute on critical downs, but Doughty is a valuable special teams player. 

Perry Riley

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    Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

    The Move: Re-sign him

    Riley isn't a star, but he's dependable, and his improvement in pass coverage this season was a reassuring development. So long as he doesn't get all crazy with contract demands (which he shouldn't), the Redskins should highly consider retaining Riley, as he can be a nice piece in whichever scheme the new regime decides to use. 

Chris Baker

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    Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

    The Move: Re-sign him

    Chris Baker made strides last season after the Redskins re-signed the 298-pound defensive lineman on a one-year restricted free-agent tender. Playing both inside and outside on an unstylish 3-4 front, Baker demonstrated the versatility necessary whether the Redskins were to stay put in their current scheme or move to a 4-3. 

    Seeing as how he'll be 26 to start the season and his play is improving, Baker is deserving of a decent contract and should have other potential suitors giving him a call. 

DeAngelo Hall

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    Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sport

    The Move: Re-sign him

    The Redskins won't have to go far to sign a good starting cornerback. DeAngelo Hall has spent the last six years with his childhood team.

    Despite turning 30 last November, Hall is coming off arguably his best season as a pro and he was one of the few players on defense last season who could proudly show his face in public. He consistently took on the opposition's best receiving target, played with his regular fiery attitude and handled 3-13 like a pro when he had every right to blow up.

    During Mike Shanahan's reign in Washington, the head coach and Hall seemed to have a mutual respect for one another, often times backing each other off the field. And while a new staff may lead to something completely different, the front office needs to remember Hall's play since the end of the 2012 season and pay the man fairly.

Bryan Kehl

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    Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

    The Move: Let him walk

    If the Redskins wanted to retain Bryan Kehl on account of special teams contribution, then a veteran minimum contract is fair. He's a willing player on special teams and he can fill in at linebacker in desperate situations. 

    If, however, the Redskins add a younger position player that can also contribute on special teams, Kehl is expendable. Picking and choosing special teams players becomes more of a byproduct when you're rebuilding a roster. 

Dezmon Briscoe

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    Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

    The Move: Re-sign him

    Remember when Dezmon Briscoe hauled in 35 catches for 387 yards and six touchdowns in Tampa Bay? 

    No worries, most others don't either. 

    I understand the argument against my election to re-sign Briscoe after the receiver didn't play a single game last year. But there's reason, I promise. 

    For starters, Briscoe was injured last season, then waived and ultimately forced to miss the entire year after being placed on injured reserve. But according to Mike Jones of the Washington Post, the team told Briscoe he would've made the team had he been healthy. 

    Second, Briscoe will be just 25 years old at the start of training camp next year. Whether it's fine-tuning his on-field game or getting his head wrapped around the requirements of being a professional, Briscoe isn't aging himself out of the possibility. 

    And finally, the potential of a young receiver who's 6'3", 200 pounds, has strong hands and can run is enough to keep not only fans but coaches intrigued as well. If the right coach or coordinator can get into this guy's head and help translate it to the gridiron, who knows what the Redskins have floating around the bottom of their roster.  

Darryl Tapp

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    Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

    The Move: Re-sign him 

    Fans probably remember more of Darryl Tapp in last year's preseason more so than the regular season, and he was decent when given time. If the Redskins can land the linebacker for a salary similar to last season ($840,000, according to Spotrac), Tapp is a reliable backup who can rush the passer. 

     

Rex Grossman

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    Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sport

    The Move: Let him walk

    It's the end of an era in Washington.

    Although it's presumed more fans are left unaffected than they are typically saddened when the "end of an era" actually comes, it should be an end nonetheless.  

    The Redskins have no reason to retain a will-be-34-year-old Rex Grossman. His BFF Kyle Shanahan is no longer the offensive coordinator, the playbook is changing and the team can locate another clipboard holder who hopefully does a better job throwing passes than he does wearing an earpiece on the sidelines.

Nick Barnett

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    Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

    The Move: Let him walk 

    The idea of having Nick Barnett getting plenty of action behind an aging London Fletcher was nothing more than that—an idea. Barnett recorded just five tackles in 14 games last season. 

    Barnett will be 33 at the start of next season, which doesn't do much for his chances of sticking on a rebuilding roster. 

Rob Jackson

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    Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

    The Move: Re-sign him

    The Redskins re-signed Rob Jackson to a one-year deal last offseason with knowledge that a four-game suspension was forthcoming, according to Rich Campbell, formerly of the Washington Times. His compensation was likely adjusted accordingly. 

    This offseason, while the Redskins will still have a shot at retaining Jackson at a reasonable price, the negotiating table is slightly different.

    Jackson will be 28 at the start of next season and his resume over the last two years is convincing that he's a magnet for big plays. In 15 starts over the last two seasons, Jackson has recorded 6.5 sacks, five interceptions, two forced fumbles and seven pass breakups. 

     

Aldrick Robinson

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    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    The Move: Re-sign him

    Despite being a sixth-round pick back in 2011, Aldrick Robinson still feels like a disappointment so far.

    Everyone can see he has the speed and playmaking ability to be a key offensive piece in the NFL, but Robinson's inconsistency has been beyond frustrating. 

    Even so—and this may change if/when the receiving corps is upgraded—the will-be-26-year-old Robinson should get a chance to build on his 18 catches, 365 yards and two scores from last season. 

Jose Gumbs

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    Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

    The Move: Re-sign him

    He was more a special teams player, but a depleted Redskins secondary also allowed for Jose Gumbs to get some playing time at his natural safety position.

    At just 26 years old to start next season, Gumbs has potential on special teams and he can lay the wood as a safety. If the price is right, why not?  

Doug Worthington

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    Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

    The Move: Let him walk

    Doug Worthington showed well during the preseason last year, but a biceps injury resulted in the Redskins waiving the defensive lineman and ultimately placing him on injured reserve. 

    Worthington is decent against the run, but I'm not sure what his lack of athleticism means for his versatility. 

Will Compton

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    Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    The Move: Re-sign him 

    We barely knew Will Compton in the burgundy and gold, but I'd like to see him back based off his time in college at Nebraska.

    Compton will be 25 at the start of his second season next year, and he's a tough young linebacker with good instincts who could at least cut his teeth on special teams. 

J.D. Walton

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    Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

    The Move: Re-sign him

    Consider him the Mr. Irrelevant of the Mike Shanahan era—center J.D. Walton was the last player acquisition for the Redskins under the previous coaching regime. 

    However, given the Redskins' poor offensive line, keeping a young center with NFL experience (36 starts in four seasons) and a history with your franchise quarterback (Walton played at Baylor) doesn't seem like a bad idea.