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What's Next For Redskins In Free Agency?

Posted Mar 26, 2012

Free agency has hit its inevitable lull despite the fact that dozens of veterans remain on the market. The Redskins still have question marks on the roster, such as right tackle where Jammal Brown is rehabbing a hip injury.


Two weeks into free agency, and all is quiet at Redskins Park.

With team officials in Palm Beach, Fla., for the NFL Owners Meeting, free agency has hit its inevitable lull despite the fact that dozens of veterans remain on the market.

And coaches and scouts have already started to turn their attention away from free agency to the April 26-28 NFL Draft.

That doesn’t mean the Redskins are content with their roster heading into the draft.

The team still has obvious needs to deal with in the weeks ahead.

Considering that the Redskins traded away their second-round draft pick as part of the deal to acquire the No. 2 pick in the draft, free agency could remain a key part of the team’s off-season strategy.

Here are some positions the Redskins may look at prior to the NFL Draft:

-- INSIDE LINEBACKER

It’s a glaring need for the Redskins, and London Fletcher remains on the market. Both sides appear to want a deal to happen, and it’s unclear why it hasn’t.

The Redskins have just one inside linebacker on the roster in Perry Riley, who emerged as a starter in the second half of last season.

Coaches could insert the ever-versatile Lorenzo Alexander to fill the other position at inside linebacker. He has played mostly outside linebacker the last two years.

In addition to a starter, the Redskins will also need to find some quality backups at the position as well.

Fletcher and Seattle’s David Hawthorne are perhaps the two biggest names left on the inside linebacker market. Some others to keep an eye on: Dallas’s Bradie James and Pittsburgh’s James Farrior.

-- LEFT GUARD

Will left guard come down to a preseason competition between Kory Lichtensteiger and Maurice Hurt?

Or will the Redskins seek to add another experienced veteran to the mix?

Lichtensteiger continues to make progress on his knee as he rehabs a ligament tear suffered last season. He likely won’t be ready to practice fully until training camp, meaning that Hurt should get the bulk of off-season reps.

Hurt started eight of the last nine games last season and made strides, especially in the run game. He could have the inside track to reclaim the starting job due to Lichtensteiger’s injury but coaches may want another veteran to challenge him.

Miami’s Vernon Carey and St. Louis’s Jacob Bell are among the free agent guards available.

-- RIGHT TACKLE

Jammal Brown has been a regular presence at Redskins Park this offseason as he continues to rehab hip soreness that has bothered him the last few years.

Mike Shanahan issued him a challenge at the end of last season, suggesting Brown’s career could depend on how well his hip responds to treatment and rehab.

Still, Brown turns 31 years old on March 30 and it’s unlikely he is a long-term solution at right tackle.

Undrafted rookie Willie Smith started three games last year at left tackle. Could he make the transition to right tackle? At the very least, the Redskins may need some veteran help at the position.

Buffalo’s Demetrius Bell remains on the free agent market as does San Diego’s Marcus McNeill.

-- RUNNING BACK

The Redskins’ running back corps consists of promising 2011 draft picks Roy Helu and Evan Royster as well as first-year player Tristan Davis.

Tim Hightower, who opened last year as a starter but suffered a season-ending knee ligament injury, is an unrestricted free agent.

Helu and Royster could compete for the starting job in preseason. Beyond those two, the team could seek to add a veteran back to the mix.

Could be Hightower – that would make sense given his familiarity with the Redskins’ offense. He did prove to be an impressive pass blocker last season.

Free agent options include Green Bay's Ryan Grant, Indianapolis's Joseph Addai and Arizona’s Chester Taylor.

-- SAFETY

The Redskins lost strong safety LaRon Landry to the New York Jets and released free safety Oshiomogho Atogwe.

The team quickly addressed the safety position in free agency, signing Brandon Meriweather. Cornerback Cedric Griffin, another free agent pickup, could be considered for safety as well.

Perhaps cornerback Kevin Barnes, who played some at safety during the 2010 season, could be a candidate as well?

With Meriweather, veteran Reed Doughty and second-year player DeJon Gomes on the roster, the Redskins may still look to upgrade the position.

Among free agents, Miami recently released Yerehmiah Bell, a 34-year-old strong safety. It appears the New York Jets may not bring back Jim Leonhard; he is coming off a patellar tendon tear last season.

 

 

 

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