The Redskins have a substantial amount of salary cap space and a ton of needs to fill. During the NFL playoffs, CSN Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take a game by game look at the best unrestricted free agent prospects playing for each team.
The second NFC Wild Card matchup pits the Giants against the Packers, and JP Finlay takes a look at possible fits.
New York Giants
- Johnathan Hankins - The Redskins need a significant talent upgrade along their defensive line, and how does a 25-year-old former 2nd-round pick out of Ohio State sound? Need to hear more? Fine - Hankins goes 6-foot-3, 320 lbs. and started every game this season for the Giants NFC best defense. The big fella has dealt with injuries in his four seasons in New York, including a trip to the IR last year with a torn pec. This season, Hankins posted decent stats with three sacks and 43 tackles to go with one forced fumble. He had a breakout season, however, in 2014 when he logged seven sacks and 51 tackles to go with another forced fumble and three passes defensed. The sacks are great, but Hankins is the type of player that would significantly help the Redskins in rush defense. It's also possible Washington could get a bit of a bargain on Hankins, as his numbers were down this season and some of that could have been a result of working back from injury.
- Jason Pierre-Paul - A much more high profile name that will have a very interesting free agency period. Pierre-Paul stood to sign a long-term contract before a Fourth of July fireworks accident resulted in the amputation of his right index finger and damaged his thumb and another finger. The 2016 season was a strong bounce back year for the Giants star until a sports hernia resulted in surgery and a trip to the IR. He might be back if the Giants make a deep playoff run, but the 6-foot-5, 270 lbs. defensive end will have plenty of suitors on the open market. This season, Pierre-Paul had seven sacks in 12 games to go with 53 tackles and a touchdown on a fumble recovery.
- Keenan Robinson - He's a free agent, but with his comments about his time with the Redskins earlier this year, it seems unlikely either side would pursue a reunion.
Green Bay Packers
- Micah Hyde - A young playmaker in the defensive secondary, Hyde has lined up at safety and cornerback for the Packers. That versatility is a bonus, and Washington needs help at safety. 6-foot, 197 lbs., and just 26 years old, Hyde has a proven ability to force turnovers in Green Bay. In four seasons with the Pack, Hyde has played in 63 of 64 game, grabbed eight intercetpions, forced two fumbles, recovered six, and recorded four sacks. Though a young player, Hyde would bring playoff experience and the vibe of a winner to the Redskins defensive backfield, as he has made the playoffs every season of his career.
- Nick Perry - This is a dude that's about to get paid. A first-round pick in 2012, Perry finally delivered on his potential this season, exploding for 11 sacks after a career high of four in 2013. What's more impressive, Perry broke his hand in early December and missed two games. He returned playing with a large club on his left hand, and logged three sacks in the Packers final two games. In 2016, he signed a one-year, $5 million deal with Green Bay. Basically a prove-it year, Perry delivered, and can expect a big payday in 2017.
- T.J. Lang - Are the Redskins going to shell out for a Pro Bowl guard with so many needs on the defensive side of the ball? Probably not. While the Washington brass might look to replace left guard Shawn Lauvao, the team would like to be able to promote an internal player, like Arie Kouandjio, rather than spend big money on the line. Trent Williams is already one of the highest paid players on the team, and contract talks loom for Morgan Moses and Spencer Long, not to mention Pro Bowler Brandon Scherff after the 2018 season.
- Julius Peppers - Sure, he's old, but still very productive. In 11 starts this year, Peppers registered seven sacks, two forced fumbles and 23 tackles. He turns 37 later this month, but unless he simply no longer wants to play, Peppers can still help a defense with his pass rush ability.
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