NFL Offseason: Time to separate the wheat from the chaff
We all know what happened last season. The Redskins failed to improve their 10–6 record from 2012, and closed the regular season play holding a shameful 3–13 record. The team not only disappointed fans and bettors all over the country, but it also set the worst record since 1994, which resulted in the firing of head coach Mike Shanahan and most of his staff.
The Skins had a tremendous preseason, closing the 4-game play undefeated for the first time since 1985, and with the much-anticipated return of quarterback Robert Griffin III, the team was considered by many as a plausible candidate to take the NFC and make it to Super Bowl XLVIII, even when it opened the season listed at +4000 or even higher (45 to 1 on the online betting site SBO.ag).
Despite the hype and high expectations that surrounded the team during the preseason, the same squad that beat the Titans, Bills, Steelers and Buccaneers, opened the regular season with three straight losses, including their first home loss vs. the Detroit Lions in franchise history. The situation got even worst on week 9 when the team won its last game of the 2013-14 NFL season: an OT home victory (30-24) against the San Diego Chargers. Beyond that point, the team failed every attempt, losing eight games in a row. The poor performance shown on the field left fans baffled and raised many questions concerning the coaching staff and player roster.
But now, months before the Redskins start offseason workouts, the team is already preparing for next season, and for that, they were forced to make some early adjustments. There’s been almost a month since Jay Gruden was named the new head coach, and with the offseason officially kicking off in less than a week, fans, team supporters and bettors are already talking and discussing the potential offseason moves, expectations and improvements coming for the 2014 season.
Last week, Washington GM Bruce Allen told the media that now that the salary cap penalty is gone, there will be plenty of room to reorganize the team. Over the past two seasons, Washington’s offseason ability was limited due to a $36 million cap penalty. But now that the Redskins are no longer penalized, the team has a little over $33.6 million in salary-cap space. While this gives Washington some financial flexibility this offseason, there’s something the team’s management has to take in consideration before they bring any new talent to its roster: What to do with the Free Agents.
When the he free agency period opens on March 13, the team will have to deal with a total of 22 players (19 unrestricted, 3 restricted). It should be interesting to analyze the list of free agents and predict who’s in and who’s out and start a quick discussion on the team’s future.