Three weeks into free agency, the salary cap-strapped Redskins have focused mostly on retaining their own players. But that doesn’t mean their 2013 opponents haven’t been busy adding free agents to fill holes and reshape rosters. Recently, we examined Washington’s NFC EAST foes, the Giants, Eagles and Cowboys. In the coming weeks, we’re going to check in with the rest of the teams who appear on the Redskins’ schedule next season.
2012 record: 10-6
Key acquisitions: WR Greg Jennings, QB Matt Cassel
2013 outlook: One of the most unexpected developments of the offseason was Percy Harvin getting dealt to the Seahawks. While that’s a huge loss for Minnesota, GM Rick Spielman did well to parlay the disgruntled star wide receiver into a trio of draft picks.
The move, as surprising as it was, fit Spielman’s philosophy: keep player costs down and build the core of the team through the draft. In exchange for Harvin, the Vikings received the Seahawks’ first (No. 25) and seventh round picks in this year's draft as well as their third-round selection in 2014.
(For those wondering, Harvin racked up 133 yards on 11 catches in the Vikings’ 38-26 loss at FedEx Field last October.)
Spielman’s foray into the free agent market, meantime, has been a brief but impactful one. To replace Harvin, he signed former Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings (53 career touchdowns) to be Christian Ponder’s go-to target. Spielman also signed former Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Cassel to serve as Ponder’s $4 million backup – and potential replacement should Ponder struggle with inconsistency in his third NFL season.
The bulk of the Vikings’ signings this offseason have involved keeping retaining their own talent, such as right tackle Phil Loadholt, fullback Jerome Felton and linebacker Erin Henderson, to name a few.
The roster still has voids, though. But with 11 picks in the draft, including two first rounders, Spielman and Co. may be able to address the bulk of those needs later this month.
Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com recently wrote that the Vikings “broke even” in free agency to this point. And I’d be hard pressed to argue with that point.
But if Ponder steadies himself and develops some chemistry with Jennings, running back Adrian Peterson has another ridiculously great season, and cornerback Antoine Winfield returns, I’m predicting a very difficult afternoon for the Redskins at the Metrodome.