Redskins fans know the sight all too well. They see it every weekend.
An hour and a half before the game, an inactives list comes out identifying the key players that Washington will be without when kickoff arrives. Then, 90 minutes later, those key players take to the sidelines in team-issued gear rather than a uniform.
This is a cycle that needs to end for the Burgundy and Gold. And it’s a cycle they can begin to end when free agency tampering opens this coming Monday and deals can be struck on Wednesday.
The goal during the frenzy that happens every March is the same for each NFL organization: find quality pieces to fill out your roster.
But what good are those pieces when they can’t suit up for you in October, November and December?
This is something that the Redskins’ past regime struggled with and something that tanked a few promising campaigns. At times, the churn of bodies felt like a convenient excuse. Yet at others, it truly was too much to overcome.
Of course, some of their most injury-prone players were draft picks, like Derrius Guice, or mainstay veterans, such as Jordan Reed and Chris Thompson. Those kinds of personnel decisions must be cleaned up in their own right.
However, they’ve also invested big money in contracts for Paul Richardson and Chris Culliver, for example, guys with IR trips in the past that indicated they weren’t reliable. Those expensive whiffs have to stop, too.
Now, this is football, not tennis or golf. Nearly every offensive, defensive, and special teams option that's going to be available in free agency will have some sort of ailment or issue that’s kept them from the field. It's unavoidable in certain cases, and risks will be taken.
That said, it’d be prudent for the Redskins to stay away from those in the 2020 wave who have major or recurring problems. So, who fits that bill in this crop?
There’s A.J. Green, Eric Ebron, Jimmie Ward, Devin Funchess and Jimmy Smith, to name a few. That group lines up at various spots the Redskins need help at and they all have plenty of talent, but they don’t always get to showcase it.
On the flip side, two possible Washington targets – Austin Hooper and James Bradberry – maybe should be more appealing because of their durability. Sure, some of their contract demands may seem jarring, but they should at least give themselves every chance to earn those dollars.
Overall, this isn’t exactly a cutting-edge strategy or one that takes complicated analytics to figure out. It's still worth recommending, though, because this isn't a franchise that always abides by the obvious.
The Redskins have too often relied on free agents, draft picks and trade acquisitions who aren’t healthy on a weekly basis. That simply must change throughout the offseason, and that change can first come to fruition starting in a few days.
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