The Washington Redskins don’t just have to worry about re-signing a quarterback this offseason. Yes, Kirk Cousins’ situation will dominate the headlines, but it won’t be the only decision Washington must make.
They have 19 possible unrestricted free agents, including 13 who would be considered starters or key backups. Here are the Redskins key free agents not named Kirk Cousins:
CB Bashaud Breeland: He’s coming off a solid season, but he’ll want to get a big bump in pay. The Redskins like what they have as replacements, be it Quinton Dunbar or Fabian Moreau. They also could move Kendall Fuller outside with Josh Holsey covering the slot. Point is, they have options. Breeland’s price tag would have to come down for the Redskins to get involved.
S DeAngelo Hall: He’s a free agent, but this was his farewell tour season with Washington. At age 34, with multiple leg injuries the last several seasons – and the fact he struggled and was inactive the last two weeks – it’s real hard to imagine him getting another shot with the Redskins. They need to build legitimate depth at safety behind D.J. Swearinger and Montae Nicholson. Hall has a good career ahead of him, whether in broadcasting or in a front office.
LB Zach Brown: The Redskins want him back and already have had discussions. But they’re not yet willing to meet Brown’s price tag – and there seems to be a gap. Keep in mind Brown had a strong season in 2016 and had to settle for a one-year deal for $2.3 million last offseason. The top three paid inside linebackers in average salary are north of $10 million per year. If that’s what Brown wants, it could be hard to get that in Washington. He’s a good player with flaws whom the Redskins would like to keep – at the right price.
DL Phil Taylor: He’ll be coming off a torn ACL, and he hasn’t played since 2014. But the Redskins liked what they saw in training camp. It’s easy to see him being re-signed, just to see how he recovers. After missing so much time, Taylor must be viewed as a bonus. Regardless, they’ll continue to look for another interior pass rusher.
LB Mason Foster: The Redskins really liked how Foster played – at the end of 2016 and even while hurt in ’17. He can play either inside spot, thanks to his ability to handle play-calling duties as well. Losing him impacted the defense. He has been a bit underappreciated during his career, but he can help Washington when healthy.
LB Will Compton: They’ve had talks about a possible return, but the question would be: in what role? It’s hard to imagine Compton returning if Foster and Brown do, knowing he wouldn’t be competing for a starting job. Injuries slowed Compton at the end of ’16 and for much of ’17.
LB Junior Galette: They’d like to keep him around, but Galette wasn’t happy with his snaps this season. It’s hard to imagine a whole lot changing for him, barring injuries to others. He applied good pressure in the second half of the season, but game-changing plays would have helped his cause for a big deal.
LB Trent Murphy: The Redskins really want to keep him, knowing they need as many good pass-rushers as they can get. Murphy recorded nine sacks in 2016 before missing all of last season with a torn ACL. That will limit his price.
C Spencer Long: The Redskins appear ready to move on from him, thanks in part to how well rookie Chase Roullier played as Long’s replacement this season. Yes, Long can play left guard, but still the Redskins want to find ... a left guard. In other words: they don’t anticipate Long’s return. The two sides had negotiated in 2017, but no deal was reached. Barring a change in thinking, it appears he'll be elsewhere.
WR Terrelle Pryor: The Redskins have their X receiver of the future in Josh Doctson – the same spot Pryor played. The Redskins want a speedy receiver opposite Doctson. Also, I can’t imagine Pryor would want to return. He was surprised at how much the ball was spread around in Washington; that’s the result of having more talent around him than he had in Cleveland the previous season. It didn’t help him build the sort of numbers that would jumpstart big money talks after he signed a one-year deal last offseason. An ankle injury that ended his season prevented any sort of strong finish.
LG Shawn Lauvao: They know they need to upgrade, and he has missed 22 games the last three years combined because of injuries. Do the math.
TE Niles Paul: He has been with Washington since 2011, starting off as a receiver then switching to tight end. He has always been a leader on special teams. The Redskins have three other tight ends on the roster – Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis and Jeremy Sprinkle. The latter is the big-bodied blocker they need to develop. If everyone stays healthy and Paul re-signed, his role would be diminished in 2018.
WR Ryan Grant: The Redskins like him quite a bit and want him back. Even if he returns, they’ll look to add a speedy target. Of all the receivers this season, Grant probably was the one who most consistently performed to expectations. Ask Redskins players who their hardest-working teammates are and Grant will always be mentioned.
K Dustin Hopkins: They cut Nick Rose in order to take Hopkins off injured reserve. The Redskins are doing what fans have wanted for years: being patient with a young kicker who has a good leg. But they have to work out a deal first.