We're almost a week deep into NFL free agency, and most of the "big moves" have already been made, so now is an appropriate time to take a peek at what the rest of the division has done so far. On Sunday we profiled the Giants' free agency moves. Today we move on to the Redskins.
• Jason Hatcher, DT, Cowboys: As a late bloomer (he'll turn 32 in July), Hatcher was a beast for the Cowboys on the interior of their 4-3, when he was given the opportunity to attack upfield and harass the QB. His signing with the Skins comes as somewhat of a surprise, as he'll head back to a 3-4. If the Skins allow Hatcher to attack off the snap, he'll make plays. If they give him 2-gap responsibilities, it's a waste of the high price they paid (4 years, $27.5 million) to get him. But indisputably, this move makes the Skins defensive front better.
• Andre Roberts, WR, Cardinals: 43-471-2 as the 3rd WR in Arizona last season. Possession type receiver who lacks explosion. Skins receivers Andre Roberts, Pierre Garcon, Aldrick Robinson, and Santana Moss are all under 6'0. The only WR with decent size is Leonard Hankerson, who has been a disappointment through 3 seasons.
• Darryl Sharpton, LB, Texans: The Skins are giving 3rd year 2012 4th round pick Keenan Robinson some competition for the starting ILB job opposite Perry Riley.
• Tracy Porter, CB, Raiders: Porter is the guy who picked off Peyton Manning in the Super Bowl, icing the game for the Saints, but he has become a journeyman type of player since, as the Skins will be his 4th team in 4 years.
• Shawn Lauvao, OG, Browns: Lauvao is thought of as being better in pass protection than in the run game, as the Skins struggled to provide adequate protection for RG3 last season on the interior OL. His game is broken down in depth here. The Skins made Lauvao a priority, as they got a deal done with him very early in the free agency period, for 4 years, $17 million. Average player.
• Adam Heyward, LB, Buccaneers: More competition at ILB for Sharpton and Robinson.
• Clifton Geathers, DE, Eagles: Decent in the run game, non-existent as a pass rusher, really just a big body who will be on his 7th team already at the young age of 26.
• Brian Orakpo, OLB: The Redskins' defense was a dumpster fire last season, so the threat of losing one of its rare good players was a major driving force behind franchise tagging Orakpo. The Skins were able to keep Orakpo in place, but they are paying him the hefty price of $11,455,000.
• Perry Riley, ILB: Riley is another competent starter on a defense lacking them, so it makes sense that the Skins prioritized bringing him back on a 3 year, $12 million deal.
• Santana Moss, WR: In 2013, not including his rookie season when he only played 5 games, Moss had career lows in yards per catch (10.8) and TDs (2). His long reception was 28 yards, also the lowest of his career. Moss' stat line on the season: 42 catches on 80 targets, 452 yards, 10.8 yards per catch, 2 TD. By comparison, Jason Avant's 2013 numbers: 38 catches on 72 targets, 447 yards, 11.8 yards per catch, 2 TD. And Moss is 4 years older. Moss is only on a one year deal which is likely close to the veteran minimum (terms are not currently available), so it's not as if he's eating up cap space. Still, Moss is a declining player coming off several career lows on a team that is not going to realistically compete for a Super Bowl this year. He's probably not guaranteed a roster spot, but what's the point?
• Darryl Tapp, OLB, Lions: Odd fit to begin with in Washington's 3-4, and now he's moving on to Detroit to re-join Jim Washburn.
• J.D. Walton, C, Giants: Never played a snap with the Skins.
Other noteworthy developments
• Will Montgomery, C: Reportedly has a visit scheduled with Denver.
• Rob Jackson, OLB: Reportedly has a visit scheduled with Oakland.
• Additional current players who remain unsigned: LB Nick Barnett, CB E.J. Biggers, WR Dezmon Briscoe, DE Adam Carriker (released), TE Fred Davis, S Reed Doughty, LB London Fletcher, QB Rex Grossman, S Jose Gumbs, RB Jawan Jamison, LB Bryan Kehl, RB Davin Meggett, S Brandon Meriweather, WR Josh Morgan, P Sav Rocca (released), CB Josh Wilson.
For the first time in years, the Redskins have had some cap space to work with. Franchise tagging Brian Orakpo ate up a lot of that available cap space and was a debatable move, but certainly an understandable one. Otherwise, unlike their historical way of doing business, the Skins exercised self control, and opted not to make any major high profile signings, which was probably the right thing for them.
They did open up the purse strings a bit for the Cowboys' Jason Hatcher, who should provide an immediate interior pass rushing presence, provided they use him correctly. They also added a starter in OG Shawn Lauvao, and will likely move on from Will Montgomery. Otherwise, they mainly focused on adding depth, and should continue to do so as free agency continues.
The Skins really didn't have much to lose once they decided to tag Orakpo, even though they had over 20 free agents of their own. When you're a 3-13 team, there's a good chance that a lot of those players will sit on the market for a while, and that is exactly what has happened so far.
Up next: The embarrassing mess that is the Dallas Cowboys.