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.
First up, Tandler looks at the AFC wild card game between the Raiders and Texans.
The Texans have most of their core players locked up at least through 2017 but there are a few intriguing names to watch.
—The biggest name on their list of free agents is NT Vince Wilfork and he seems much more likely to retire than to move on to another team.
—Given how the Redskins are always looking for help at safety they might take a look at S Quintin Demps. He has started 26 games the last two years and he had six interceptions in 2016. But he will be 32 before training camp starts and he has been with five different teams in nine seasons in the league. Bringing him in to the Redskins would have the feel of another patch job at a position that has had too many of those.
—TE Ryan Griffin could get targeted as many as half a dozen times today. This season he caught 50 passes for 442 yards and two touchdowns. That’s not significantly less production than the Redskins got from Vernon Davis in 2016. At age 27, he could be a relatively inexpensive alternative to Davis or a good addition to the tight end corps.
The Raiders have a few more pending free agents on display today; here are a few who might be of the most interest to the Redskins.
—If the Redskins’ new defensive coordinator moves the team to a 4-3 base defense they will need an outside linebacker or two to fit the new scheme. OLB Malcolm Smith has started 30 games for the Raiders in the last two seasons. You may have heard of him; he was the MVP of the Seahawks’ Super Bowl win following the 2015 season, mostly for returning an interception 59 yards of a touchdown. Smith, who will be 28 before training camp starts, was a 2011 pick of the Seahawks, a time when Scot McCloughan was a personnel executive in Seattle.
—CB D.J. Hayden was a first-round pick of the Raiders in 2013, the 12th pick overall. But things have not gone well for him in Oakland as he has started just 25 of a possible 64 games. He still has talent and he’s only 26; if he is willing to sign a deal as a depth player the Redskins could give him a look.
—An alternative to Demps as a Band-Aid at safety could be S Nate Allen, who is a couple of years younger. He has seven years in the NFL with the Eagles, who drafted him in the second round in 2010 (using the pick acquired from the Redskins in the Donovan McNabb trade) and Raiders. The Redskins may look to see what he has left.