In rebuilding the Redskins over the past three seasons, Mike Shanahan and Co. have done many things right. They have their quarterback, a nucleus of young talent around him, and have straightened out the team’s salary situation after years of overspending. Coming off a year they won their division, the Redskins now have money in theory, they just can’t spend it.
This predicament inspired the team to fight the league over the league-enforced cap penalties, if given the choice they would of course do without them. But in the long run, could they be seen as a blessing in disguise? If the Redskins are able to be competitive in 2013, they could set themselves up for the next few years with a good team that sits way under budget.
The Redskins will have to endure one more year doing things on the cheap, relying mostly on young and inexpensive players. For example, instead of attacking their secondary through free agency this year, they had no choice but to utilize the draft.
Depending on one’s philosophy of which positions matter most, spending big money on cornerbacks is a risky move, just look at the Cowboys and Eagles over the past few seasons. Then contrast that with the Steelers, Ravens, and Giants who allocate their money elsewhere.
NFL Hall of Famer Bill Parcells frequently says he would never give a big contract to a cornerback. And in this day and age, the rule changes to help the passing game have made it harder for those that play the position, making shutdown corners more and more rare. Improving the secondary through the draft could have been the best option anyways.
Now, the Redskins could have used some extra money this year, and last, to offset their lack of a first round pick. Washington was without a first rounder this April and will have the same issue next season, all part of the trade for Robert Griffin III. But if they can endure one more season of playing forced moneyball, the overall situation they could find themselves in may be preferred.
Windows for contention are hard to define in sports, but the age of RG3 may be the Redskins’ best indication. He will be just 23 for this season, 24 when they get their salary space back, and 25 when they have both money and a full slate of draft picks. The money situation isn’t ideal, but it could indirectly set the Redskins up financially for the next few years and maybe more.