In an interview on Redskins Radio on Friday (nicely summarized here by host Bram Weinstein) Vinny Cerrato said that the Redskins do not expect to be major players in free agency in 2008. The signing period is set to start on Friday, February 29.
This is not exactly shocking news considering that it takes cap room to be a major player in free agency and the Redskins have precious little of that. They're currently about $4 million over the cap. Most of that overage will go away when Mark Brunell's contract voids out at the start of free agency, creating a net cap deduction of around $3 million (all cap information, as always, courtesy of my friend PC's Redskins cap site). The rest of the overage can be taken care of with a few minor restructures.
As of now, there is no talk of any players becoming cap casualties or even being asked to take a pay cut. As long as that remains the status quo it's good news for some players like Phillip Daniels and Cornelius Griffin, both of whom have high cap numbers, declining productivity and significant savings if they were to be released.
As was discussed here earlier this week, Brandon Lloyd could be released before free agency starts, either as a regular cut or as one designated as post-June 1. The former move would force the Redskins to find another $3 million of cap space as that would be the net hit for doing so.
The Redskins will be able to sign a couple of moderately-priced free agents, like they did last year with London Fletcher and Fred Smoot. There isn't much floating around out there in the way of names, although Cerrato did say that the team would be looking for a tall WR either in free agency or in the draft. Among free agents who would fill that bill are Ernest Wilford (6-4) of Jacksonville and Bryant Johnson (6-3) of Arizona.
There still is talk of the Redskins going after Chicago LB Lance Briggs or New England CB Asante Samuel, but all of that is likely to remain talk. Both of those players are going to command $20 or more in guaranteed money and while it's possible that the Redskins could clear enough space and structure a deal the right way to fit such a contract in this year it would be unlikely.
Unlikely, but not out of the realm of possibility. You never say never with this bunch.