Jim Haslett recently talked about some pending free agents on defense that he would like to retain. He named linebackers Brian Orakpo and Perry Riley, lineman Chris Baker, and cornerback DeAngelo Hall.
Yesterday here we looked at the salary cap numbers on the defensive line. It is possible that their contracts will tie both Stephen Bowen and Barry Cofield to the team this season.
A picture of the 2014 Redskins defense is beginning to emerge and it is looking a lot like the 2013 unit. Let’s take a look:
Defensive line: Assuming Cofield and Bowen are retained and Baker is back, those three would join Jarvis Jenkins, Chris Neild, and probably Kedric Golston and your depth chart is identical to what it was in 2013.
Linebacker: There will be one hole in the middle, created by London Fletcher’s retirement. If Orakpo and Riley come back they would join Ryan Kerrigan and 75 percent of the linebacking corps would be returning.
Secondary: If Hall comes back he will be one starter at cornerback and 2013 second-round pick David Amerson likely would get the starting nod opposite him. Amerson played about two thirds of the snaps last year so that would be a very familiar look. Brandon Meriweather is under contract so there’s a good chance he lines up at one safety spot. The other one could be filled either Phillip Thomas or Bacarri Rambo or the team could bring in a free agent or another draft pick.
Under the very plausible scenarios here, the Redskins would wind up with two new starters in defense and perhaps a new nickel back. That doesn’t seem to be much of an infusion of talent that many think is needed to turn the defense into a playoff-caliber unit.