A year removed from a severe salary cap penalty and fresh off a three win soap opera, Redskins nation appears to be thirsty for a spending spree. On March 11, the free agency period will begin and one of the more anticipated Redskins’ offseasons will kick into gear. Undeniably, there are gaping holes on the roster and attractive names in the free agent pool. I just hope it’s NFL draft dates May 8-10 and the pool of draft entrees that general manager Bruce Allen and gang are zoning in on.
Under Mike Shanahan, the Redskins made the draft process a priority. In his four years, the team averaged 8.5 draft picks per draft while the four years previous to his reign they averaged only 6.75 draft picks per draft. Among Shanahan’s selections are long term solutions Trent Williams, Perry Riley (UFA), Ryan Kerrigan, Robert Griffin III, Alfred Morris, and Jordan Reed. Out of all the 2006-2009 selections, only Brian Orakpo ended up making a lasting impact on the organization.
Obviously, Shanahan failed in Washington but I don’t think that means the team should automatically resort back to building through free agency and trades. Despite not putting together a complete product, by prioritizing the draft Shanahan managed to assemble something of a foundation. The same cannot be said about Adam Archuleta, Antwaan Randle El, Albert Haynesworth, Jason Taylor, and the rest of Dan Snyder’s investments. Free agents are often free agents for a reason whether it be health issues, off-field behavior problems, etc.
Here’s to hoping Allen, director of pro personnel Morocco Brown, director of player personnel Scott Campbell, and newly hired personnel executive Doug Williams stay committed to the draft and don’t get giddy with Snyder’s blank checks. Even more importantly, hopefully Snyder doesn’t reinsert himself into the decision making process. A free agent here and there with good intangibles at a reasonable price is certainly beneficial, as seen with Pierre Garcon and Barry Cofield. Looking at this offseason, possibly a tested interior lineman like Rodger Saffold to protect the fragile Griffin III. Ultimately though, the well being of the Redskins future lies in draft picks. The lack of a first round pick will surely hurt but plenty of value can be found with the Redskins’ later selections including the 34th overall pick.