WASHINGTON â?? The Redskins opened free agency with a splash, albeit a highly unconventional one, by firing GM Scot McCloughan.
They proceeded to sign a pair of defensive linemen (Terrell McClain, Stacy McGee), a safety (D.J. Swearinger), a linebacker (Chris Carter) and their biggest catch (no pun intended) thus far, a receiver (Terrelle Pryor). They also re-signed three of their own players (tight end Vernon Davis, defensive lineman Ziggy Hood, offensive tackle Vinston Painter, allowed their three top free agents (defensive lineman Chris Baker, receivers Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson) to find new teams and cut defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois.
As of Monday morning, about a week and a half into free agency, that’s where the Redskins stand.
The defensive line, which was not good a year ago, has lost its two best players from 2016, but it’s gained a pair of possibly useful players in McClain and McGee. More help is still needed on that unit, especially on the ends.
Washington would love to improve an unimposing inside linebacker unit that currently features a wealth of players but not nearly as much talent.
The addition of Swearinger should help the secondary somewhat, and if second-year hybrid player Su’a Cravens emerges as a reliable safety, Washington at least has its starting safeties in place. Predicting the contributions of Bashaud Breeland in 2017 is no easy task, and it’s probably unwise to expect any production out of DeAngelo Hall given his age and injury history. Second-year corner Kendall Fuller flashed some potential as a rookie, but he remains unproven.
In other words, the secondary is a giant question mark. The upside is evident, as Breeland, Fuller and Cravens have room to grow, and Swearinger could very well step in and play his part admirably. But there are so many ifs, and Washington should be kicking the tires on any remaining free agents.
On offense, the line could stand upgrades at left guard and center, another receiver wouldn’t hurt, and another running back would be a big help.
The Redskins showed interest in safety Jairus Byrd when he entered free agency in 2014, coming off three Pro Bowl seasons in five years with the Buffalo Bills. Washington was outbid by the New Orleans Saints, who never got to experience the full talent of Byrd …
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