Of all the Redskins pending free agents, it makes the most sense for the organization to be moving forward now with Adrian Peterson.

Think about it. 

The Redskins have four 2018 starters that loom as potential free agents when the new league year opens in March: Preston Smith, Jamison Crowder, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Peterson. 

Smith will find a significant market place for his services. A 6-foot-5, 265 lb. edge rusher that has proven he can get to the passer and make athletic big plays, Smith has never missed a game in four seasons and won't turn 27 until November. His numbers dipped a bit in 2018, he logged just four sacks, but the tape showed Smith playing well last season. 

Former Redskins OLB Trent Murphy signed a three-year deal with Buffalo last year worth nearly $23 million. Smith will get much more than that on the open market. 

Crowder is in a similar spot. He won't be as coveted as Smith - pass rushers are harder to find than slot receivers - but still Crowder is going to get paid. 

For Crowder and Smith, two players that served out their rookie deals and stand to make a relative fortune in free agency, they should have little interest in talking with the Redskins now about a new contract. The time for a hometown discount passed, that would have been last season.

Free agency opens in a little more than a month, and why would they limit their possible suitors during a period of time they can speak only with Washington?


For Adrian Peterson, the situation is much different. 

John Keim of ESPN reported the Redskins have begun preliminary talks with Peterson's representatives about a new deal, and the team would be wise to move quick.

Peterson should also be motivated to sign. 

He found success in 2018 with the Redskins, but he also found carries and opportunity. In 2017, he found neither, and in 2018, he landed quite late with Washington after getting virtually no interest for months on the market. 

The Burgundy and Gold will be bringing back Chris Thompson and 2018 rookie Derrius Guice should be healthy and ready to roll. But having Peterson would help ease the load on Guice and his surgically repaired knee, not to mention a veteran presence that has been through knee surgery. 

And for Peterson, the streets of free agency could again be mean.

Teams don't tend to spend a ton on running backs, particularly veteran running backs with high mileage. Also, Mark Ingram and LeVeon Bell will be available, so the market will have serious talent ready to gobble up the RB cash that is available.

By most accounts, Peterson is looking for guaranteed money, not an incentive type deal. 

Last season in Oakland, Marshawn Lynch made nearly $4.5 million, but a lot of that was tied to incentives, only $2.35 million was guaranteed. 

If Washington can make an offer with real money up front, maybe $4 million, they might be able to get an important piece of their puzzle figured out before the new league year even opens. 

It's possible Washington could wait it out in free agency and get Peterson back at a decreased rate.

It's also possible, however, that another NFL team will see that Peterson ran for more than 1,000 yards in 2018 and provided a steadying presence for a team in flux. That could be quite attractive for some teams looking for a talented veteran at a relative bargain. 

To likely save less than one percent against a $190 million salary cap, that risk doesn't seem worth the reward.