2010 starts today
2200 Saturday 6 March 2010: There has been a signing, and it is a good one, history will now always remember that the first incoming free agent signed by the new Redskins management regime of new real actual general manager Bruce Allen and head coach Mike Shanahan was... an offensive lineman. Say hello to Artis Hicks, 31 years old, late of the Minnesota Vikings and earlier with the Eagles, Artis has played both guard and tackle. Artis at one point was a regular starter, his last two years with Philadelphia and his first with the Vikings, and has been a reliable backup the past two years. Jason Reid is already penciling him in at right guard where the Redskins started five different players in seven different starting offensive line combinations, I would say there is a decent chance we could see him at either right guard or right tackle. Welcome Artis, Curly R is already working on your introduction.
1730 Saturday 6 March 2010: The Offseason of Cautious Moves continues as the Redskins visit with fourteen year veteran center slash guard Casey Wiegmann, Casey played for coach Shanahan in Denver but was let go last month after new coach Josh McDaniels' first year. Casey did not sign a contract and he may be on the market later. At that age he may be a good depth player.
1700 Saturday 6 March 2010: The team still has not reached out to unrestricted free agent longsnapper Ethan Albright, I hope they are just taking care of other business, Ethan is a mainstay and even at 38 with fifteen years in the league, nine in Washington, there is no reason to switch up now. The team brought in a your guy, Nick Sundberg for competition, I have to think it will end up Ethan's job, he is a consummate pro, he is like the guys that walk around with headsets and clipboards but never get on camera, the show could not go on without them. His annual re signings are a humorous subject, he has no agent and every year they FedEx him a standard one year contract for the veteran minimum, he signs it and sends it back. The difference between Nick's presumed one season veteran minimum of four hundred thousand dollars and Ethan's ten-plus season veteran maximum of 860 thousand dollars cannot possibly be a stopping point in this uncapped season.
1500 Saturday 6 March 2010: Scuttlebutt from Pittsburgh brought to you by the Washington Post is saying that recently released Steelers tailback Willie Parker might be headed to Washington for a visit next week, with Ladell Betts, Rock Cartwright, Marcus Mason and Quinton Ganther all gone, by the way those four guys teamed up for 214 carries or 63 percent of all 338 running back carries and 766 yards or 61 percent of all 1260 running back yards last season, there will need to be someone back there besides Clinton Portis.
1100 Saturday 6 March 2010: Linebacker Larry Foote looks like a good idea the more I read about it, if the Redskins are going to go 3-4 let's go all the way and do it with 3-4 experienced players. Washington cannot continue to go it with converted linemen at the linebacker positions.
0730 Saturday 6 March 2010: I wake to find no earth shattering signings by the Redskins, wonder if this is what it is like to root for a normal team. My parents are coming to brunch but all I want to do is sit in front of my computer hitting Command-R over and over.
0015 Saturday 6 March 2010: After one last look around there is no news and as far as I can tell there are no late night negotiations or signings expected to happen, we will pick it up tomorrow, stay tuned and drop me a comment or an email if you hear something I missed.
2350 Friday 5 March 2010: Ouch, it would suck to be a Cardinals fan right now, that team has lost quarterback Kurt Warner to retirement, linebacker Karlos Dansby to free agency, safety Antrel Rolle, who they had cut to avoid paying a roster bonus of four million dollars but wanted back, Antrel has signed with the Giants, and now the final insult, the team has traded disgruntled yet productive receiver Anquan Boldin to the Ravens. Reason number 7,683,444 why being a Cardinals fan would suck. Hey Anquan, say hi to Jim Zorn for me when you get to Baltimore.
2100 Friday 5 March 2010: Oh for three, Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby has signed with the Miami Dolphins and it looks as though either a) The Redskins really did have a philosophy this year of appear to be interested in only the biggest names and then do nothing and confuse the opposition or b) The Redskins blew another one and they are just playing it off.
There is also word that former Steelers and current Lions linebacker Larry Foote will be visiting Ashburn on Monday, Larry played under former Steelers and new Redskins linebackers coach Lou Spanos in Pittsburgh.
2030 Friday 5 March 2010: Green Bay left tackle Chad Clifton, at 33 one of the prized if underwhelming unrestricted free agents, visited Ashburn today but left without a contract and now word on the street is Chad has re signed with the Packers. In fairness to Chad, he is a good player, after a decade of Chris Samuels Redskins fans are going to think any replacement left tackle short of Bryant McKinney or is somewhat chumpish. Oh for two.
1830 Friday 5 March 2010: In a bad omen that Arizona linebacker Karlos Dansby is not destined for Washington, Miami has released linebacker Joey Porter. No official word on Karlos, ESPN's Adam Schefter was all over Karlos to the Dolphins about six hours ago.
1730 Friday 5 March 2010: While I believe a lack of on strings attached free agents in the marketplace, to the tune of over 300 players that would have been unrestricted free agents last season, has as much to do with the Redskins low profile as does Some Big New Philosophy around Ashburn, the apparent attention the team is paying to the long term
...is a significant departure from focusing on reworking contracts of aging, unproductive veterans to remain under the salary cap in hopes of playoff runs that never occurred. In a league where 30 is considered old, the Redskins have been too old for too long. Allen and Shanahan began to address the age issue with the cuts.
Excellent stuff from Jason Reid at the Washington Post.
1500 Friday 5 March 2010: In the annals of I meant to do that, here is a good one: Redskins new real actual general manager Bruce Allen said about an hour ago on Dan Snyder owned ESPravda 980 that, get this, the Redskins were never interested in Julius Peppers, that it was all rumors and haha can you believe how fast they spread. I think an argument like that is just plausible walkback from missing out.
1445 Friday 5 March 2010: Julius Peppers is off the market, signing a something something year deal for something something million dollars with the Bears, it turns out Chicago was going Peppers all the way and Washington may never have been a serious player for his services. Oh for one. Interestingly, the same Mark Maske piece in the Washington Post reports that the Eagles offered Julius a contract, that would seem to go against the Eagles philosophies and as such I would guess their money was not as competitive.
1430 Friday 5 March 2010: Pro Football Talk is reporting and the Washington Post is retweeting that the Redskins are looking at quarterback Rex Grossman as a possible backup. With the backup the past four years, Todd Collins, shown the door yesterday, six foot tall maybe Colt Brennan coming off a season erasing quote hip injury unquote and incumbent starter Jason Campbell a restricted free agent the team has sought to do no more with than tender a one year, first round compensation offer, it raises a legitimate question, which would be who would Rex be backing up?
1415 Friday 5 March 2010: Restricted free agent Lorenzo Alexander aka Scarface has re signed with the team, Lorenzo in the past has played defensive end and defensive tackle and was prepped for emergency duty on the offensive line in 2007. In the presumed new 3-4 defensive scheme Lorenzo will join Chris Wilson and Brian Orakpo as linebackers converted from defensive ends. Might want to throw a real linebacker in there at some point in this offseason.
1400 Friday 5 March 2010: The Redskins have re signed former 400 pound man right tackle slash right guard Mike Williams, Mike was thrust into action last season among the line shuffling and injuries. This proves the team cannot find a worse lineman.
1230 Friday 5 March 2010: While sitting in Famous Dave's for lunch I heard ESPN's Adam Schefter reporting that Julius Peppers is heading for Chicago and Karlos Dansby is heading for Miami, no final word on contracts for either at this point, it looks like the Redskins may not land either of their top two targets.
1200 Friday 5 March 2010: Defensive end Phillip Daniels, one of the Redskins four unrestricted free agents, has signed with the team, after coming back from a torn ACL in 2008 training camp Phillip played on a one year deal in 2009. With center Casey Rabach signed that leaves longsnapper Ethan Albright and punter Hunter the Punter Smith as the team's only remaining unrestricted free agents, and I think the team wants to keep both.
1030 Friday 5 March 2010: Left tackles Chad Clifton of Green Bay and Tony Pashos of San Francisco both will be visiting Ashburn today. I would take either or both.
0900 Friday 5 March 2010: Remember that I am taking today off just to track the Redskins free agency activity, everyone fed, kids on the bus, now the two year old and I are sitting here waiting for something to happen.
0700 Friday 5 March 2010: The first thing I notice when I woke up is that ZOMG TEH REDSINS DIS NOT SIGN EVERY JUAN!!!1! Ahh for the days when the team could work out a one hundred million dollar contract from midnight to five am and still not be in violation of tampering rules...
Happy Football New Year people, the great uncertainty that is the NFL 2010 offseason is upon us, all completed contracts terminated at midnight. Normally, as was the case in 2007 and 2009 as examples, the Redskins would be the team roaring out the gate with money and high profile players.
This year though things are different. With the salary cap disappearing and a weak version of the reserve clause in place, free agency will be different this year. For those that still do not understand how it is working this year versus any other year since the salary cap went into effect in 1994, here is a primer:
Under regular Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) rules, if your contract is expired and your team has not released you and you have four or more years of service, you are an unrestricted free agent. There is no right of refusal from your original team, tender offers are not applicable, the losing team has no recourse. You sign with anyone you want. The losing team will get some draft pick compensation, but it will be low round and will be granted by the league as additional pick(s) and will not come out of the losing team's pocket.
If your contract has expired and you have not been released by your team and you have three or fewer years of service, you are a restricted free agent. Your team assigns your relative worth in draft picks, and any other team that signs you must surrender that pick or picks to the losing team. The draft pick(s) may be in higher or lower rounds, the original round or a combination. In addition, your current team has the right to match any contract offer from another team and retain your services for that price.
In exchange for making it harder for you to leave the team by requiring other teams surrender picks, the team must offer you a one year contract at a salary commensurate with the draft pick compensation the team has placed on you. To avoid teams assigning artificially low picks and salaries to try and devalue a player a team believes other teams may not have interest in, years of service, draft position and playing time all factor into a formula for a minimum required salary offer in that one year deal.
So if the team assigns a third round pick to your value, the team must also offer you a one year deal within the range of a third round pick with your experience. A first round requirement will yield a higher salary and combinations higher still. This entire process is known as tendering.
A Redskins example: Last offseason, 2006 sixth round pick Reed Doughty's contract expired and he was coming off season ending back surgery. He had three years of service. The minimum tender offer based on his draft position, years of service and playing time would have been one million dollars. The team did not feel Reed was worth that and extended him a contract at less than the tender value. This offer was not considered qualifying and therefore the team forfeited its restricted claim on Reed and he became a free agent. When no other team was interested in Reed, he was brought back at less than the tender value, about a half million dollars, which turned out to be a great deal for the Redskins. Even better now that this offseason, with four years of service, the team has tendered Reed at a second round pick, four rounds higher than where he was drafted. He is due for a raise.
Under this year's special rules as the CBA crumbles, the restricted free agency rules have been extended to free agent players with four or five years or service, meaning a player must complete his sixth year of service in order to reach unrestricted free agency. This then adds the entire draft classes of 2005 and 2006 to the list of players that have not earned freedom of movement in the league, in essence a previously negotiated right has been taken away from them, and those guys are pissed.
The tendering rules apply to these players this year as they would to players of three or fewer seasons last year. This means that if a team decides to tender an offer, it must be of no less dollar value than the matrix of draft position, years of service and playing time would dictate. In terms of draft picks, it can be as high as the team feels is fair compensation for losing the player.
Another team then, signing one of the players in this class, would be obligated to surrender draft picks specified in the tender offer. But first the losing team would have the right to match the offering team's contract to retain the player. If a team does not tender an eligible restricted free agent, it signals the team does not feel the player is worth the minimum tender and the player becomes an unrestricted free agent.
So the net effect of these special rules for this year should be a reduction in the movement of players in the primes of their careers. For the Redskins, this scenario affects linebacker Rocky McIntosh, safety Reed Doughty, cornerback Carlos Rogers and quarterback Jason Campbell, each of whom has been tendered by the team.
This fact does not mean the player will play for the team in 2010, or even that the player will be signed. All it signifies is the Redskins are seeking compensation and right of first refusal from any team that wishes to sign these players.
So heading into today the Redskins pretty much need one of everything, with Chris Samuels retired and Randy Thomas cut, they could use a lineman or two. If the team is switching from the 4-3 base defense to the 3-4, they are likely to need some real linebackers, not simply converted linemen. With Fred Smoot cut (op. cit.) and Carlos Rogers not worth his first round pedigree, they could use another starting corner. Clinton Portis is coming off a concussion-shortened season and has Methuselah Syndrome for a player of his age, and Ladell Betts, Rock Cartwright and Marcus Mason were all released (ibid.), so I guess you could say the team could use a tailback or two.
I can go on and on about the Redskins needs but I won't, let's just see how it works out. Defensive end Julius Peppers of the Panthers and linebacker Karlos Dansby of the Cardinals have been the principle names associated in the press with the Redskins, I would take both of them though Julius is going to cost a pretty penny.
Free agent left tackles Chad Clifton of Green Bay and Tony Pashos of San Francisco appear to be the top tackles available and should be in the mix. The team has already re signed center Casey Rabach, which means mediocrity is guaranteed to continue at that position, along the line last season mediocrity was superior so we will take what we can get.
Let the games begin.
Other Curly R Free Agency Open Threads: 2007 :: 2009
Free Agent BMX logo gaffled from here.