In contrast to what we're seeing in many businesses, the Washington Redskins will be hiring later this summer.
There is opportunity aplenty in Ashburn. Of the 53 players on the roster for the last game of the 2008 season, 13 of them will not be reporting to training camp on July 30. That means that the Redskins roster will experience at least a 25 per cent turnover.
Actually, in practical terms, it won't be quite that dramatic. Chris Samuels and Phillip Daniels weren't a part of that 53 because they were on injured reserve. They are certain to make the team. And the team already has hired two replacements, handing out a large free agent contract to Derrick Dockery and a monstrous one to Albert Haynesworth. Also, Hunter Smith will be taking the roster spot vacated by punter Ryan Plackemeier.
That still leaves eight jobs, or about one sixth of the roster, up for grabs. The departures of Khary Campbell and Marcus Washington create opportunity for someone like Robert Henson. The sixth-round draft pick was a special teams monster for three years at TCU before becoming the starting linebacker and that was Campbell's job description.
There are a few other plug-ins that seem obvious. Shawn Springs is out, third-round draft pick Kevin Barnes is in. Jason Taylor out, Brian Orakpo in.
There will be fierce competition for the backup spots on the offensive line. With Jon Jansen and Jason Fabini gone and that final 2008 roster carrying players who are not certain to make it in '09, players like Wil Montgomery and Devin Clark, the backup jobs are wide open.
There are 11 wide receivers on the roster. Four of them—Santana Moss, Antwaan Randle El, Devin Thomas, and Malcolm Kelly—are virtually guaranteed roster spots. The Redskins carried five last year and it's not unusual for teams to carry six. Marko Mitchell, Keith Eloi, Marques Hagans, Roydell Williams—get the suit pressed, show up early, and be ready to make a great impression. You each have a big, month-long job interview coming up.
I'll be posting my stab at the final 53-man roster sometime before training camp and I have to say that it's going to be more difficult to figure it out than it has been the past few years.
I suppose that competition is healthy but you can have too much of a good thing. The wide open nature of the O-line, for example, tells me that even thought the starters are aging there is no succession planning going on. You'd like to see at least a few reserves that are considered to be too valuable to even consider letting go. While some players like that may emerge as training camp unfolds as of right now none exist.