Do the Redskins need a free agent cornerback?

Do the Redskins need a free agent cornerback?
February 5, 2014, 1:45 pm
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Tandler - Tarik

This morning, we examined the Redskins’ 2014 outlook at cornerback. Now, Insiders Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler will give their take on how to fix one of the team’s pressing offseason needs: Should the Redskins target a veteran cornerback in free agency?

El-Bashir: Efforts to re-sign veteran DeAngelo Hall to a multi-year extension signal a strong first step for the Redskins, who improved from 30th to 20th in passing yards allowed last season.

But GM Bruce Allen can’t stop there. Josh Wilson, as we noted in the outlook, could be a candidate to be replaced following an uneven performance in a contract year. If the Redskins decide to move on from Wilson, a handful of quality corners are expected to hit the market next month, including New England’s Aqib Talib.

The Redskins targeted Talib in free agency last season but didn’t have the cap space to land the 6-1, 205-pound shutdown corner. They’ll have a better shot this time, though, because the NFL-imposed $36 million cap penalty has expired, leaving the Allen with $30 million to spend, according to estimates. (Talib earned almost $5 million from the Patriots last season.)

A lineup that includes Hall, Talib and an improving David Amerson sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

Tandler: At some point, the Redskins are going to have to stop going to free agency every time a player leaves. Bringing back Hall is fine, paying one of your own (even though he wasn’t originally drafted by the Redskins, he’s been around since 2008) is a good practice.

But Amerson was their second-round pick a year ago, the 51st overall selection. He played 694 snaps last year (two thirds of the total snaps) as the nickel back last year. His performance wasn’t great as he blew some coverages and missed some tackles. Still, Amerson showed that he’s ready to take the next step and become the starter.

If your second-round pick isn’t ready to start after a year of heavy action as a reserve, you have very serious issues in the scouting department. Even if he’s not 100% ready they have to start him for the sake of the salary cap. Hall won’t break the bank but he’s not going to come cheap like he did last year. Bringing him back and then signing a top veteran like Talib will seriously hamper the team’s ability to address other needs. The team needs to sign Hall, start him alongside Amerson and find a cheap veteran to be the nickel back or—here’s a novel concept for the Redskins—find one in the draft and develop him.