It has been four days since the Redskins released DeAngelo Hall, leaving the team with just one cornerback on the roster who has started an NFL game. Since Josh Wilson isn’t going to cover both sides of the field, the Redskins need another cornerback.
Second-year player Richard Crawford will be doing well if he can take over the nickel CB role and first-year corner Chase Minnifield can’t be counted on so let’s take them out of the equation for the moment. What are the Redskins’ choices at this vital position?
There are two basic options for the Redskins with some variations to each of them. Both of them would involve manipulating the salary cap to some extent.
One would be to create a few million dollars in cap room by restructuring some contracts and signing one of the top corners still on the market. The name being linked to the Redskins by many is Aqib Talib, formerly of the Bucs and most recently with the Patriots. He is the top free agent cornerback available per our friends at Rotoworld but there are many other options. Nine of the top 12 and 17 of the top 24 corners on their list are still available.
The idea here would be to get the position settled for the next few years. The organization might figure that they are going to sign a free agent cornerback next year, when the cap penalty is gone, so it would be acceptable for them to stray from their usual practices of not pushing money into future years.
Besides Talib, other corners the Redskins might consider under this plan would be Sean Smith, Brent Grimes, Keenan Lewis, or E. J. Biggers.
The other way to go would be to put a Band-Aid on the position this year and look for a long-term solution in the draft. That would mean going with a lower-priced corner option like Antoine Winfield, Antoine Cason, Sheldon Brown, or even the quite-familiar DeAngelo Hall. Then the team would look to draft a cornerback early in the April draft. The hope would be that the rookie could either take over at some point during the season or by 2014 at the latest. The veteran could play nickel back or cold be released.
Other variations exist. They could go for the higher-priced veteran and the rookie and then let Josh Wilson leave when his contract is up after this season. They could go with a lower-priced veteran, have Crawford play nickel back and hope that Crawford will be ready to start in 2014.
Just picking a corner in the second or third round of the draft is not one of the realistic options on the list. It is rare for players who are picked from the second round on to become immediate starters as rookies.
The options are out there for the Redskins, they just have to pick one and run with it.