The Redskins have been quick to lock up home-grown talent in the young offseason, already signing Darrell Young, Logan Paulsen, Kory Lichtensteiger and Nick Sundberg to multi-year pacts. One area that’s yet to be addressed, however, is the safety position.
This year’s free agent market has a plethora of options to choose from at safety, and since Washington is short on cap space, that’s absolutely fantastic news.
While the Redskins may not be adding a Dashan Goldson, Ed Reed or Glover Quin to the roster this offseason, other teams will be, and that’s a plus. That’s three safeties off the board right there, and since there’s only 30 teams and safeties to be had in the draft this April, quality players will be forced to settle for salaries much lower than they’d have in a more player-friendly market.
NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal published his list of the top 85 free agents yesterday, and six safeties cracked the top 60. However, quality options such as Charles Woodson (71), Chris Clemons (77), Dawan Landry (notable mention), Ronde Barber (notable mention) and Patrick Chung (notable mention) were all sitting outside the top 70. The safety market this year is as deep as we’ve seen in a long time, and if the Redskins play their cards right, they could certainly find themselves with an improved defensive backfield in 2013.
One player in particular that the Redskins should strongly consider is Patrick Chung.
Chung comes from four seasons of great coaching under Patriots coach Bill Belichick, and at just 25 years old, is still young, quick and athletic; three traits that fit the mold the Redskins are looking for. Considering he lost the starting strong safety job to Devin McCourty last season, Chung put up solid numbers.
In 12 games, Chung recorded 44 combined tackles, two interceptions and five pass deflections. Because he didn’t start, many teams will overlook him in pursuit of bigger names such as Clemons and Landry, which will lower his price tag – something the cap-strapped Redskins will certainly benefit from.
If the Redskins decide they want a more proven, veteran leader, Charles Woodson is probably the best fit. However, the soon-to-be 37-year old has lost some speed, and several teams have reportedly expressed interest in his services. He’s slow and expensive, meaning that his locker room presence likely won’t be worth the dollars he commands.
The Redskins’ current safety situation looks less than desirable.
While capable Reed Doughty currently projects to start at free safety next season, DeJon Gomes and Jordan Pugh will battle for the starting strong safety job. 2012 starter Madieu Williams will likely end up elsewhere, and Brandon Merriweather could potentially be cut to save the Redskins $2.9-million in cap space. Gomes and Pugh are both quality backup options, though neither is at a high enough level at this point their respective careers to be the starting safety of a playoff contender. Even Doughty didn’t put up overly impressive numbers in 2012(66 combined tackles, one interception, one pass deflection), so Bruce Allen and company would be best-served looking into an upgrade via free agency or the draft.