May 20, 2010

Five Players The 'Skins Should Pull Off The Scrap Heap In Free Agency

By the time the NFL offseason hits late May, interesting football news is hard to come by. The free agent market has dried up and ESPN has begun the annual Brett Favre watch.

I will not succumb to discussing whether #4 will return for another season. Nor will I break down every possible scenario in the Albert Haynesworth stand-off (the way things look now, it appears as if Haynesworth will just show up to training camp and play another year in DC anyway).

What I will do is examine several of the players left on the scrap heap in free agency. Washington has done a solid job addressing depth along the defensive line and also acquiring alternatives to Clinton Portis at running back, but they still could use help at receiver, free safety, tackle and outside linebacker.

1. Kevin Curtis -WR

Curtis is a speedster who has been slowed by injuries the past two seasons in Philadelphia. He only has one 1,000 yard season on his resume, but he could provide a spark in the slot and should Santana Moss face a suspension due to his HGH use, Washington will need more bodies at receiver.

Curtis' best days may be behind him. He's 31 and entering his eighth season in the league. However, when healthy he can give you 40 or so receptions.

2. Terrell Owens-WR

TO is taboo here in Washington for a lot of people. He has already played in Philly and Dallas so many would rather not see him come to DC.

But you can argue that he can still produce at a solid level. In Buffalo, with nothing save Lee Evans and Fred Jackson on offense, Owens posted 829 yards and 55 catches last year to go along with five TDs.

Granted, those aren't eye-popping numbers, but TO can still contribute and last year he proved he can also keep his mouth shut.

I don't know what there's not to like with TO. His receiving average last year was 15.1 yards per catch. On his career he averages 14.9 YPC. The three season before he played in Buffalo were all 1,000 yard seasons.

Last year, Washington's top receiver was Moss with 902 yards on 70 catches. Owens' numbers were comparable.

The only drawback is Owens will likely command a big salary, but considering what he can still bring to the table it seems worth it.

If Donovan McNabb gives the green light, it would make a lot of sense to add Owens by training camp.

3. Chester Pitts-G

Pitts is a longtime member of the Houston Texans offensive line. He possesses the athleticism to play tackle or guard and still has some mileage left.

Pitts is 30 years old and 2010 will be his ninth season in the NFL. He is 6-4, 308 and played under Kyle Shanahan in Houston.

Shanahan is now the offensive coordinator in Washington and it would be wise for him to try and bring Pitts to Washington too.

Right tackle is a bit of a question mark right now. Newly acquired Artis Hicks appears to be pencilled in as the tentative starter, but he is better suited as a reserve. Pitts is primarily a guard, but he could provide depth at right tackle.

Pitts has knowledge of the Shanahans' zone blocking scheme. He has played in it under Kyle Shanahan and Gary Kubiak in Houston. He would be a great pickup at this stage in the offseason.

4. Chike Okeafor-OLB

With the Redskins switching to a 3-4 defense this season, Okeafor can brings a much needed presence to the strongside OLB position opposite Brian Orakpo.

Okeafor played defensive end until the Arizona Cardinals moved to a 3-4 in 2006. Since then Okeafor has racked up 17.5 sacks in three seasons at OLB.

Okeafor is 34 years old, meaning his best days are behind him, but the Redskins still haven't set their linebacking corps in place yet.

Andre Carter and Rocky McIntosh are option at the OLB spot, but Carter has struggled before in a 3-4 while McIntosh may be moved inside. That leaves just Chris Wilson or Lorenzo Alexander as the starting OLB. Neither are full-time players.

So Okeafor could be the answer at OLB.

5. Oshiomogho Atogwe-FS (RFA)

Atogwe has been mentioned in several circles as a player the Redskins could try acquire even though he is a restricted free agent. He is a five-year, 28-year old veteran free safety who has been one of the few bright spots on a woeful St. Louis Rams team.

Atogwe refused to sign his tender with the Rams, meaning the 'Skins could sign him to an offer sheet at a relatively low cost or wait until June 1st for Atogwe to become an unrestricted free agent (that will happen only if the Rams opt not to sign him to a one-year, $7 million deal before June 1st).

He has 19 career interceptions along with 29 passes defensed. Since 2006, Atogwe has had no fewer than 72 tackles in a season and is a steady presence in the secondary.

Washington moved LaRon Landry back to his natural strong safety position this offseason, leaving the free safety position in the hands of Kareem Moore. Moore is a solid player, but he isn't the caliber of Atogwe.

The other safeties (Reed Doughty, Chris Horton and Lendy Holmes) likely to make the roster aren't equipped to play center field in the secondary either. So vote Atogwe on June 1st.


Scott said...

TO is a bad move. Even when he puts up good numbers he is a distraction and a cry baby. And with the afore-mentioned O-line issues he won't get the number of catches he wants. LEAVE HIM ALONE

Jack said...

But TO still had number better than any Redskins WR last year (Santana's numbers were comparable). You can say his skills have eroded, but he stil has more skills than any Redskins WR.

Plus, he didn't play to his usual TO standards in Buffalo, but he didn't cause any issues.