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Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Redskins and 'Plan B' free agents

By Dan Graziano

PHOENIX -- Aqib Talib was a pipe dream, a cornerback solution that wasn't realistic for the Washington Redskins so long as there were other teams bidding on him in free agency. It was nice to think about, since he'd have fit their need in the secondary so well, but the reality of the Redskins' salary-cap crunch is that first-week free agents weren't going to be there for them this year.

So as discussed in this Washington Post story, the Redskins are on to Plan B. They believe they can succeed in the draft, even without the first-round pick they traded away last year in the Robert Griffin III deal, and they don't want to restructure current contracts just to fit in one-year free-agent fixes. But that doesn't mean they won't sign anybody. The cornerback and safety markets in particular have yet to really take shape, and the Redskins will be patient and see what sorts of bargains shake out for them later in the process.

You want names, though, and while I understand that it's very difficult to give you any beyond speculative ones. They Redskins could pursue an older veteran such as Tampa Bay's Ronde Barber, who doesn't fit their usual free-agent profile but might be worthwhile as a one-year stopgap. He has ties to secondary coach Raheem Morris, who used to coach the Buccaneers, and a veteran presence that would be welcome in the locker room. Free-agent Antoine Winfield would be a similar option at cornerback if they decide to go the older-guy-for-a-year route.

Failing that, look to younger free agents whose value might be suppressed due to some reason that could be overcome. Someone like former Dallas cornerback Mike Jenkins, who wasn't a starter for his own team last year but has experience as one and could be looked on as a potential value pickup because he didn't play as much last year.

I'd recommend using our free-agent tracker and looking through the cornerback and safety pages for guys who might fit into those types of categories. I do not know who the Redskins will sign or when they will sign someone. But they do still need help in the secondary, and the early part of free agency just wasn't going to offer it for them this year.