Monday, January 12, 2015

Redskins' Free Agents of 2015: Who Should Stay and Who Should go?

Santana Moss:
A longtime starting wide receiver and deep threat for Washington, the 35-year-old Moss has seen a significant drop in his offensive role. One of the most obvious reasons for his decline, aside from age, is that previous 'Skins personnel ignored the team's need for a true No. 1 receiver, keeping Moss atop the depth chart. This was the case until the acquisitions of starters Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson. When asked about his future in the NFL, Moss said, "I know I can still play, physically, therefore, I'm still going to try to play." Given the few opportunities Moss had in 2014, he made the most of them and looked quick, despite turning 36 by the time training camp starts. Washington should keep the savvy veteran around for one last ride at the minimum cost.

Tyler Polumbus:
For some strange reason, Polumbus has been the starting right tackle for the last few seasons. Perhaps the organization was stuck in the Twilight Zone (a dimension where anything is possible) during that span. This is the only plausible explanation I have come up with. Justifying my harsh comments is not necessary if you have seen him play. Therefore, I will keep it simple: Polumbus needs to be cut; right now.
Photo: usatoday.com

Roy Helu Jr:
The speedy running back who recently turned 26 will have his first opportunity to test the free agent market. Helu is a valuable player, especially in passing situations, and the Redskins would be wise to offer him a nice contract—without overspending. It would be hard to imagine heading into the 2015 season with Silas Redd and Chris Thompson as the backups to superstar Alfred Morris.

Brian Orakpo:
After being drafted 13th overall in the 2009 NFL Draft, Orakpo seemed to be a solid pick for Washington. Through six seasons, Orakpo has totaled 254 tackles, 40 sacks, 6 interceptions, 1 touchdown, and a Partridge in a Pear Tree. The problem for this gifted pass rusher is keeping himself healthy. Orakpo wants to be paid as an elite player, but his inability to stay on the field does not warrant a hefty contract. Still, after all of his injuries, there are numerous 'Skins fans arguing that he should be signed to a long-term deal. As MADtv's character 'Tank' would say, "PASS!"

Ryan Clark:
Sure, he has lost a step, but the Redskins coveted Clark, not the other way around. Therefore, I cannot fathom why fans hate on him so much and call him a "bum," among other names. Clark is still a reliable team leader who came at an affordable rate. His role was used as a Band-Aid to cover up the safety position that has been abysmal ever since the death of Sean Taylor. However, it would be a huge mistake if the Redskins choose not to upgrade their safeties in 2015. Unless Clark is willing to serve as a backup, it is time to move on.

Jarvis Jenkins:
Mike Shanahan selected Jenkins 41st overall in the 2011 NFL Draft, and Jenkins has yet to show signs of potential. He has missed time with injuries and even has a PED suspension during his brief time in the NFL. Whether through free agency or the draft, adding a pass rushing defensive end should be a top priority.

Chris Nield:
See above on Jenkins—just change "defensive end" to "defensive tackle." In Nield's defense (excuse the pun), he was not drafted nearly as high as Jenkins, nor did he have many expectations to make an impact. In addition, Nield was never suspended for PED violations.

Niles Paul:
There was a time when Paul drew comparisons to former tight end Shannon Sharpe. These were probably the same people who believed Nick Williams could be the next Wes Welker. However, 2014 proved to be a breakout year for Paul, putting up 507 yards on 39 receptions and a touchdown. When Jordan Reed went down with injuries—what else is new—Paul stepped up as the starter and showed some flash. At just 25 years old, there are two scenarios this offseason: 1) the Redskins re-sign him and continue to utilize him as a backup, or 2) they let another team entice him with the opportunity to be a starter. Unless Vernon Davis is brought to D.C. as some speculate, Paul should continue to wear the burgundy and gold.

E.J. Biggers:
The only feasible reason Biggers was brought back last year is because the team found themselves backed into a corner (no pun intended) once again by not landing a proven cornerback. He is still young and does not affect the salary cap very much, but he is not that good. There is always the possibility of the 'Skins spending on other needs first—leaving little cap room to work with—which means Biggers could be back. Still, they should look elsewhere.

Leonard Hankerson:
Standing at 6'2", he has the size of an ideal wide receiver. However, staying healthy has been a challenge for him, as has having butterfingers for hands. Not to mention, his work ethic has been questioned ever since his rookie season. Another no-brainer here: move on and find someone who can play the game.

Brandon Meriweather:
Somewhat surprisingly,  Meriweather played okay this past season, notching 55 tackles, 3 sacks (that's more than Orakpo), and 3 forced fumbles. Nonetheless, he continued to give up big plays while failing to play all 16 games—something he has not done since his 2010 season with New England. Meriweather will be 31 and can only get worse. Perhaps if Clark is not willing to serve a backup role, the 'Skins could keep Meriweather around. But, by no means should he be the starting safety in 2015.

Colt McCoy:
McCoy began the season as the third-string quarterback, but seized his opportunity when he rallied the team to beat the Dallas Cowboys in overtime. After that game, fans said he was the new face of the franchise and created "Vote for Colt" presidential logos on the internet. McCoy was injured later in the season, ruining his chance to continue proving his value. Now the Redskins are back to square one regarding their quarterback decisions. Assuming Kirk Cousins will be traded, McCoy's chances of staying in Washington should increase.