Ranking the most important Redskins free agents of 2017
Unrestricted Free Agents
Redskins Insider JP Finlay takes a look at the Redskins' unrestricted free agents, ranking them starting with the most important piece of the puzzle.
1. Kirk Cousins
This decision looms so large it should almost be it’s own category. While the Redskins face a number of tough decisions in free agency, nothing will determine the franchise’s direction for 2017 and beyond like what happens with their quarterback. This is the biggest decision for the team since the trade to obtain Robert Griffin III. Another franchise tag looks possible, perhaps even probably, as Cousins and members of the Redskins front office look at times like awkward dance partners at a middle school recital.
2. Pierre Garcon
Washington’s toughest and most fearless receiver, Garçon has been an intrsumental part of the Redskins offense for five seasons. He will also be 31-years-old next season. Tough and durable, Garçon hasn’t missed a game in four years. Garçon made nearly $8 million in 2016, and the price tag will determine if he returns for 2017 and beyond. While 88 made it clear he likes playing and living in Washington, especially given his humanitarian efforts in Haiti, he also wants to get paid for his services.
3. DeSean Jackson
Arguably the most dangerous deep threat in the NFL, Jackson is going to have a number of suitors this offseason. All signs point to a possible return to the Eagles as those rumors have swirled for months, and while Jackson has been mostly productive in three seasons with the Redskins, injuries limited his availability at times in games but more often on the practice field. When Jackson arrived in Washington it was under cloudy circumstances after his release in Philadelphia was mired in controversy. For three seasons, Jackson has done well to mostly rehab his image, save for a few questionable social media posts and missing voluntary workouts. Based on conversations with Redskins staff and coaches, it seems unlikely the speedster will be back, though the team harbors no animosity for Jackson either.
4. Chris Baker
This will be one of the more interesting negotiations for Scot McCloughan and the Redskins staff. In the past two seasons, Baker has produced 10.5 sacks, strong numbers for an interior lineman. Pro Football Focus graded Baker out as the highest defensive lineman on the squad, and the No. 6 overall 3-4 defensive end on the team. The other side of the coin: Baker will turn 30 next October and McCloughan has repeatedly said he wants to get younger. One thing to remember for Baker, his first real impact season came in 2014, so he has less tread on his tires than many 30-year-old linemen. Rebuilding the Redskins defensive line needs to be of paramount importance for the team this offseason, and it will be worth watching where Baker fits in that rebuild.
5. Vernon Davis
The 2016 season was just what Davis needed. A 10-year veteran that stumbled through two lost seasons in 2014 and 2015, Davis came back home to D.C. and reinvigorated his career, calling the season “nothing short of amazing.” He had 44 catches for nearly 600 receiving yards, and proved a capable backup to Jordan Reed, and a strong complement when Reed was on the field. Davis told the media he has already talked with Redskins brass about coming back for 2017 and that he would love to stay in Washington.
6. Junior Galette
The ultimate wild card free agent scenario. Galette has technically been a Redskin for two years, but is yet to play in a single game after suffering back to back Achilles injuries. Look at his Twitter account, and it seems very clear Galette wants back on the field for Washington. Team officials must consider what Galette has left after the two injuries, not to mention two years removed from competitive football. When he last played, Galette was a force, registering 10 sacks for the Saints in 2014, but it’s obvious he won’t be paid for that performance in 2017. An incentive laden, minimal guarantee deal seems like the only path to get Galette back in Burgundy and Gold.