The Redskins Have a Lot of Important Decisions to MakePosted on June 24, 2014 by Bryan Frantz
Robert Griffin III. Trent Williams. Alfred Morris. Brian Orakpo. Ryan Kerrigan. Kirk Cousins.
What do these six players have in common, aside from being key members of the Redskins' future? None of them are signed past 2016.
To make matters worse, Pierre Garcon, Barry Cofield, DeSean Jackson, Perry Riley, David Amerson, Jordan Reed and Phillip Thomas could all be free agents in 2017. That's 11 starters, a prized backup QB and a player who the team still hopes can be a safety of the future.
And let's not forget about other important players, who are less valuable than the aforementioned players but still key contributors to the team. The following players will all be free agents within three years: Keenan Robinson, Stephen Bowen, Jarvis Jenkins, Ryan Clark, Rob Jackson, Santana Moss, Brandon Meriweather, Tyler Polumbus, Chris Chester, Leonard Hankerson, Roy Helu and Chris Baker.
Paired with a new head coach, a new offensive coordinator and first-round draft picks in the near future for the first time in a long time, we could see serious overhaul in Washington in the next three years.
So how should Bruce Allen and Co. handle all these contracts? I'm going to take a look at some of these players and see who might be wearing a new uniform in a few years' time. First up, some odds and ends:
The Easy Choices
Of all the players listed above, the only two who I feel safe guaranteeing to be on the team in 2018 (barring serious injury or other unforeseen occurrences) are Griffin and Williams. You don't just give up on a potential franchise QB or LT. They're too valuable to a team, and both RGIII and Williams have shown elite potential. They should both remain in Washington for at least another contract or two, and they have the opportunity to go down as all-time greats at their positions.
Clark, Meriweather, Moss and Rob Jackson are all but guaranteed to be gone after this year. The first three are all retirement candidates, and even if they continue playing, the Redskins hope to have better options lined up. Jackson simply plays a suddenly overpopulated position and would have to demonstrate substantial improvement to warrant a roster spot.
Those With Caveats
A majority of the players listed will have to show significant improvement, either in their performance, their health or both, in order to stay safe. Some will get lucky and win extensions by default (Kerrigan might be guaranteed an extension if Orakpo doesn't have a great season – you can't lose both of your star young pass-rushers).
Hankerson and Aldrick Robinson could both be gone, or one could finally take that next step and earn an extension. Both Garcon and DeSean Jackson are free agents in a few years; one injury-lost season for either player could result in an extension for Hankerson or Robinson.
Orakpo and Kerrigan could both be kept and used as part of a pass-rushing trio with Trent Murphy. Each player, though all pass-rushing specialists, has a noticeably different technique from the others. Orakpo is the first of the bunch that the Skins will have to make a decision with – they've already stalled for one year – and if he moves closer to his scary high potential this year, Washington should lock him up for the long term.
While this is a possibility, it's hardly likely. Orakpo
wants elite OLB money. If Kerrigan can put together a full season that
resembles the first half of last season, he'll want it too. Considering Clay
Matthews costs roughly $13 million
per year and Tamba Hali checks in at a bargain $11.5 million
annually, the Skins are going to be hard-pressed to keep their linebacking