The Washington Redskins have already taken care of the necessary business by placing the franchise tag on quarterback Kirk Cousins. A deal could still potentially come, but at the very least, they’ll have him for one more season.
As a result, they have to be in win-now mode. They don’t know what’s going to happen with that situation next offseason if a long-term deal isn’t reached, so going all in this offseason is a must. With $38 million in cap space, they have the money to be aggressive and go after some of the top free agents at positions of need, namely safety and defensive tackle.
Here are five names they should target in free agency next week.
Getty ImagesTom Pennington
LB Zach Brown (Bills)
The Redskins need to add some speed at inside linebacker after losing the resurgent Perry Riley to the Raiders. Brown would certainly bring athleticism and quickness to that position if he does hit free agency. He would pair nicely with Su’a Cravens, who figures to play a big role at outside linebacker and a hybrid safety role for years to come. Yes, Brown has had only one good season, but sometimes that’s all it takes for a linebacker to find his groove. He’s great against the run and isn’t a liability in coverage.
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G Evan Mathis (Cardinals)
Shawn Lauvao didn’t have a great season at left guard, and a change could be coming as a result. Mathis is 35 years old and has been bothered by injuries, but he could be a cheap veteran addition for a team that’s in win-now mode. Arie Kouandjio is still developing and could take over as the starter at some point, but Mathis would be an insurance option for the time being, allowing Kouandjio to hone his craft for one more season. Guard isn’t a huge need, but an upgrade certainly couldn’t hurt.
WR DeSean Jackson (Redskins)
It’s likely to come down to either Jackson or Pierre Garcon. Both are pending free agents and both play significant roles in the offense. The Redskins can’t afford to go into 2017 with Jamison Crowder and Josh Doctson as their starters. Jackson would be a better choice to keep because not only will he be cheaper but he’s also one of the best deep threats in the NFL. And if they let him get away, a reunion with the Eagles has a good chance of happening. They certainly don’t want that to happen.
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S Barry Church (Cowboys)
The Cowboys won’t be able to keep both of their free-agent safeties, and Church is the likeliest one to be out of their price range. He’s a true strong safety, and he fits that role very well. He’s a sure tackler and a punishing hitter, while also holding up well in coverage. The Redskins have a significant need at safety, and though it’s a deep draft class at the position, they need to address it in free agency first and foremost. Church would be a good addition and would bring a physical presence to the defense.
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY SportsTim Heitman
DT Bennie Logan (Eagles)
The Redskins’ run defense was not good last season. As a result, they need to shore up the defensive line and add playmakers up front. Logan sometimes gets overshadowed because of the studs he plays alongside, namely Fletcher Cox. He’s a terrific run defender, though, and can play a variety of spots on the defensive line. It’s unclear what scheme new defensive coordinator Greg Manusky will run in Washington, but whether it’s a 3-4 or 4-3, Logan can fit anywhere. He’d make a good nose tackle if the Redskins stuck to a 3-4.