Offseason Forecast: Washington Redskins


With the offseason officially underway, Around The NFL will examine what's next for all 32 teams. The series continues with the Washington Redskins.

What's changing?

The Redskins finally took a tangible, progressive step forward with the hiring of general manager Scot McCloughan, a highly respected talent evaluator. McCloughan plans to build through the draft, which should be music to ears of local fans who have watched this organization overspend for mediocrity on an annual basis.

With the offseason underway, Around The NFL explores what's next for all 32 teams.

AFC East:
AFC North:
AFC South:
AFC West:
NFC East:
NFC North:
NFC South:
NFC West:

In addition to McCloughan, the 'Skins have revamped the coaching staff, replacing beleaguered defensive coordinator Jim Haslett with Joe Barry while adding Bill Callahan and Perry Fewell as offensive line coach and defensive backs coach, respectively. Barry was Lions defensive boss in 2007 and 2008, overseeing a unit that ranked last in total defense both seasons.

From a face for the franchise perspective, Robert Griffin III is now an afterthought. The galvanizing force of the 2012 playoff team was noticeably missing from a recent letter promoting the team's nucleus players to "premium" fans.

Biggest free agents

» LB Brian Orakpo: The Redskins aren't going to use the franchise tag after Orakpo tore his pectoral muscle for a third time. They drafted a replacement in Trent Murphy, which means Orakpo could be headed elsewhere on a one-year, make-good contract for a chance to rebuild his market value. The Falcons reportedly had designs on signing the three-time Pro Bowl selection last offseason, before Orakpo was slapped with the tag.

» QB Colt McCoy: McCoy signed as a third-string quarterback and ended up Jay Gruden's best option by midseason. Too brittle to complete a 16-game season, he's not viewed as a legitimate starter outside of the nation's capital.

» S Brandon Meriweather: The Redskins have needed major upgrades at safety for a decade now. Meriweather, 31, is best known for concussion-inducing head shots and coverage mishaps.

Other key free agents: Roy Helu, Jarvis Jenkins, Ryan Clark, Niles Paul, Santana Moss, Leonard Hankerson, Tyler Polumbus, E.J. Biggers

On the way out?

» WR Pierre Garcon: The entire roster is overpaid. Why should Garcon be any different? Garcon is a fine blocker and an explosive runner after the catch, but he turned out to be ill-suited to Jay Gruden's scheme, which emphasized DeSean Jackson instead. Is that package worthy of a $9.7 million cap number? A trade would make sense here.

» CBs DeAngelo Hall and Tracy Porter: Now 32 years old and coming off two Achilles surgeries, Hall is due $4 million in 2015. Slot corner Porter, due over $2 million, is another candidate for release. The Redskins got a promising rookie season out of Bashaud Breeland but need David Amerson to emerge as a solid starter.

» DL Stephen Bowen:  The Redskins released Bowen. The defensive lineman was scheduled to make $5.4 million next season. 

» OG Chris Chester: Now 32 years old, Chester is no longer an asset in the run game. He carries a $4.8 million cap number.

What they need

An intervention? An exorcism? An excavator? Considering the bloated salaries attached to the veterans, this might just be the least attractive roster in the league. McCloughan isn't ready to give up the RGIII ghost, which is understandable. Now he and Gruden need to find out if Griffin can remember how to play quarterback. Beyond that all-important issue, the Redskins need the following: a pair of guards and a right tackle on the offensive line, a third-down back if Helu leaves, a rebuilt defensive line if Cofield and Bowen are jettisoned and an overhauled secondary.

Offseason crystal ball

Griffin will likely be given every chance to win the quarterback job, perhaps with McCoy re-signed as an insurance policy. It's not clear how the organization views Kirk Cousins after Gruden washed his hands of the former Michigan State star late last season. As painful as it might seem to fans, this roster needs to be stripped, with most of the improvements coming via the draft. Deconstruction is easy. As Jaguars and Raiders fans have learned, reconstruction can take years.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast previews this week's NFL Scouting Combine with Bucky Brooks. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.