Since free agency opened March 11, front offices around the league have been busy retooling rosters and getting ready for next season. Here at CSNWashington.com, we’ve kept a watchful eye on the moves made by teams who appear on the Redskins’ 2014 schedule.
So who’s gotten better? Who’s gotten worse? Let’s take a closer look.
Up today …
Opponent/location: Jacksonville Jaguars/FedEx Field.
2013 record: 4-12 (third place in the AFC South).
Key additions: DE Chris Clemons (Seahawks), DE Red Bryant (Seahawks), RB Toby Gerhart (Vikings), G Zane Beadles (Broncos), WR Tandon Doss (Ravens), DE Ziggy Hood (Steelers) and LB Dekota Watson (Buccaneers).
Key losses: RB Maurice Jones Drew (reportedly agreed to terms w/ Raiders), RB Justin Forsett (unsigned), C Brad Meester (retired), G Uche Nwaneri (unsigned), DT Brandon Deaderick (unsigned) and WR Taylor Price (Seahawks).
Best move: Signing Gerhart, who received a three-year contract with $4.5 million in guaranteed money. The former Vikings backup has never carried the ball more than 109 times in a season, but with MJD apparently out of the picture, the underrated Gerhart figures to become the Jags’ No. 1 ball carrier.
The bottom line: Much like the Redskins, the Jaguars entered free agency with a number of questions to answer and glaring holes to fill.
Now two-and-a-half weeks in, General Manager David Caldwell and second-year Head Coach Gus Bradley must feel pretty good about what they’ve accomplished, particularly along the defensive line.
Bradley, Seattle’s defensive coordinator from 2009-2012, has reunited with former Seahawks defensive ends Chris Clemons and Red Bryant and signed underachieving former first round pick Ziggy Hood away from the Steelers. The addition of those three should boost a pass rush that ranked last in sacks the past two seasons.
On offense, the Jags re-signed quarterback Chad Henne. And while the 28-year-old is not the long-term solution, he should be able to bridge the gap to whoever’s next. (More on that in a second.)
Henne will also have some new weapons at his disposal. Gerhart is 27 years old, but, as we mentioned above, has low mileage and untapped potential. Tandon Doss is similarly underrated and will complement Cecil Shorts III and Ace Sanders. Doss could also return punts for the Jags; he led the NFL with an average of 15.6 yards per attempt last season.
The Jaguars have improved, no doubt about it. And with the No. 3 overall pick in May’s draft, it's likely they'll get even better. They could draft a quarterback such as Blake Bortles or Teddy Bridgewater. They could also take an impact-making defensive player like Jadeveon Clowney or Khalil Mack.
Whatever direction they go, the Jags figure to better than last year's four-win outfit when they visit Landover, Md., next fall.