Redskins fans might not like the Albert Haynesworth jokes that come rolling out at the start of free agency each year, but for some, the desire to chase the biggest free agents on the marketplace still burns. Don't expect that to rub off on the franchise though.
"When you talk about free agency you never ever want to try to rely on a big core of free agents coming here," Washington head coach Jay Gruden said last week at the NFL Scouting Combine.
"It's about developing the people you have. I feel good about the players we have in house," he said.
True to his word, the Redskins could lose two starting wideouts in DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon via free agency. Gruden said he "won't blink" if that happens, and talked about the development of young players like Ryan Grant and Maurice Harris.
Gruden's comments fall in line with previous assessments of free agency from Bruce Allen and Scot McCloughan. While plenty of questions exist about McCloughan's current role with the franchise, regardless, he and Allen feel the same way about free agency: They'd rather build through the draft.
Washington has 10 picks in the 2017 draft, but also plenty of cap space. Early in the open tampering period, the 'Skins haven't been connected with a single big-name on the market, of which there are plenty.
Even recent history suggests Redskins brass will largely skip the spending spree that occurs early in free agency. Last year's big acquisition, Josh Norman, was a unique scenario where he hit the market weeks later, after Carolina rescinded his franchise tag.
The 'Skins may well open up the checkbook for one player, but it would be their quarterback Kirk Cousins. Outside of that, listen to Gruden. Keep those expectations in check.
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