This morning, we examined the Redskins’ 2014 outlook at safety. Now, CSNWashington.com Insiders Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler will give their take on how to fix one of the team’s most glaring offseason needs.
El-Bashir: As we mentioned in the outlook, the safety situation got so desperate last season a cornerback who hadn’t lined up as safety since high school—E.J. Biggers—was pressed into the starting lineup Week 1.
If the Redskins intend to make strides next season, scenarios like that can’t happen again. And with an estimated $30 million in cap space, they won’t have to.
Several good safeties are expected to hit the open market next month, including Buffalo’s Jairus Byrd, Cleveland’s T.J. Ward and San Francisco’s Donte Whitner, to name a few. Assuming Brandon Meriweather is also re-signed (that should be on the table given his strong play down the stretch), pairing him with a top free agent should stabilize the position, at least in the short term.
Just as important, it will also allow last year’s draft picks— Phillip Thomas and Bacarri Rambo—to develop at their own pace. Thomas will be coming off foot surgery and Rambo will be attempting to regain his confidence after a rough rookie season that saw him lose his starting job after just two weeks. Thomas and/or Rambo still could be the long-term solution. But rushing them into a role they aren’t ready to handle isn’t the best way to get there.
RELATED: Redskins position outlook: Safety
Tandler: Man, Tarik, you’re shopping at Saks or someplace like that. Ward, Byrd, Whitner would all cost $6 million per year and up. Add in a few million to sign Meriweather and a third of the team’s $30 million in cap space is gone on one position group.
I don’t have an issue with Meriweather, I think he played pretty well once he got healthy. But for the other spot, I’m shopping at Target to pick up someone like Michael Mitchell of the Panthers (4 INT, 4 sacks in 2013) or, assuming he’s healthy after missing all of 2013 with a knee injury, the Giants’ Stevie Brown (8 INT in 2012).
One of the upsides to the team retaining Jim Haslett and Raheem Morris is that they know what Rambo and Thomas were able to do their rookie years and their development won’t have to start from square one. They may decide that one or both won’t make it and look to draft a new safety. But in any case they need to get two or more young safeties in the pipeline and develop them so that the next time there is a need at safety they won’t have to look to spend big money to bring in someone from the outside.