Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Washington Redskins [Print without images]

Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Survey says: Redskins fans want Byrd

By John Keim

Two names stood out when it came to who the fans wanted in free agency. Beyond that, there’s little agreement as to who the Redskins should sign when free agency begins Tuesday.

In a Redskins Nation Twitter survey, 19 of 75 voters named Buffalo safety Jairus Byrd as their top choice for whom they wanted Washington to sign. The runner-up? Giants defensive lineman Linval Joseph with 14 votes.

Obviously both would fill a need. The Redskins have been unable to solve the safety position ever since Sean Taylor died in 2007. Byrd would offer a legitimate free safety, who would enable the Redskins to use more eight-man boxes with a single-high look. But he’d also cost around $9 million per year. Joseph would provide another strong end against the run, with the potential for collapsing the pocket. He’s not as pricey as Byrd.

But after those two players? Redskins fans were all over the place. Nine other players received more than one vote: New England linebacker Brandon Spikes (3), Carolina safety Mike Mitchell (3), Cincinnati offensive lineman Anthony Collins (3), Cleveland safety T.J. Ward (3), Miami safety Chris Clemons (2), New England corner Aqib Talib (2), Green Bay corner Sam Shields (2), Cleveland center Alex Mack (2) and Arizona linebacker Karlos Dansby (2). Shields, of course, is now off the market, having re-signed with the Packers.

Of course, every one of those players would fill a hole. I’m a Dansby fan, but I’m guessing Arizona keeps him. Spikes would be good against the run, but was removed on passing downs. Mitchell would probably be paired with Talib as a way to fill the safety/corner void. Talib will be costly, perhaps around $10 million per year -- a hefty sum for someone who hasn’t played more than 13 games since 2009. His injury past should bump the price down, but I don’t know if it will.

Two voters named a combination of Perry Riley and Brian Orakpo as their top targets. Orakpo, of course, was given a franchise tag but if another team really wanted him it could still pursue him. But they’d have to pay him a lot of money and then surrender two first-round picks. That’s what we call a longshot, folks.

All totaled, there were 31 different players named with 20 of them on defense.

Here are some of the responses to the question: Which player would you most like the Redskins to sign?