Although it remains unclear how active the Redskins will be when free agency opens next Tuesday due to their sticky salary cap situation, it’s possible the team will manage to make a few prudent signings. Over the next week, reporter Tarik El-Bashir will take a look some affordable options Mike Shanahan and Co. might target.
Name/current team: Patrick Chung/Patriots
2012 salary/cap hit: $615,000/$1.17 million
Stats: 12 games, 44 tackles, 2 interceptions, 5 passes defended
Scouting report: With Brandon Meriweather’s status clouded by injuries and Madieu Williams coming off an unimpressive season, Chung could be solid addition to the Redskins’ secondary.
Chung started the first six games for the Patriots last season, splitting time between both safety positions. But his season was derailed by shoulder and hamstring injuries and he finished the campaign as a sub-package player. The knock on Chung, in fact, is that not played a full season since his rookie season in 2009 due an assortment of injuries.
That said, when healthy, the 25-year-old has shown the potential to be a game changer. He’s the type of hard-hitting defensive back who puts a receiver’s head on a swivel and has seven career interceptions. Chung is also considered a leader as well as a consistent contributor on special teams.
Last season, inconsistent safety play ranked among the Redskins’ biggest deficiencies; the defense finished third to last in passing yards allowed and second from the bottom in passing touchdowns yielded. Right now, it’s not clear where help might come from.
The Redskins do not own a first round pick, but this year’s college crop is particularly deep at safety. There are also a handful of big name options that are expected to hit the free agent market.
But if the salary cap challenged Redskins are looking for a proven veteran that could step in right away and not break the bank, Chung could be the answer.