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Redskins Following a New Free Agency Game Plan


Every day, head coach Joe Gibbs and team officials review the list of NFL players who are unrestricted free agents, including those players waived after the start of free agency as teams maneuver around the salary cap.

And personnel officials are also monitoring how other teams are negotiating their cap and how moves could affect the release of another player down the road.

It's part of an approach that tries to stay one step ahead at all times.

"There are things happening with other teams right now--sometimes other teams are being forced to make a decision [about releasing a player]," Gibbs said. "If they do, and it is somebody who we felt like could help our football team, we want to be ready to do that.

"That's part of being smart with our money and being in a position where we could do some things. I don't know what is going to happen out there. Every day, that list comes out and we pour over it."

As the Redskins wrap up the first week of free agency, it's clear that there's a new strategy in place at Redskins Park.

Just a year ago, the Redskins had one high-profile signing after another, from Cornelius Griffin to Shawn Springs to Marcus Washington. (Not to mention the trades for Mark Brunell and Clinton Portis.)

This year, the Redskins have acquired a pair of free agents in center Casey Rabach and wide receiver David Patten.

Both could emerge as starters next season, but neither qualify as high-profile pickups.

At this point of free agency, most of the highly sought-after players in free agency have signed with teams.

A few high-profile free agents remain, including the Redskins' Fred Smoot. Gibbs hopes to re-sign Smoot in the coming days, although his status remains uncertain.

Gibbs signaled that this free agency period would be slower for the Redskins in mid-February, as the team was evaluating which free agents to pursue.

"When you finish a season, the most important thing is evaluating the team and where you're at," Gibbs said. "You look at it and say, 'This is where we need somebody as a starter, this is where we need somebody as a solid backup. It's a series of needs you want to fill.

"I think we'll do a lot less than last year in free agency because our needs are not nearly as many."

At this point, it appears the Redskins' biggest offseason move will be the pending trade of wide receiver Laveranues Coles to the New York Jets for wide receiver Santana Moss. The deal is contingent on both players passing their physicals.

The cap ramifications associated with Coles' contract, not to mention the possibility of a contract extension for Moss (just like the team did with Portis last year), have yet to be announced.

Could it impact the team's ability to pursue other free agents? Possibly. That's the way of the NFL right now.

That doesn't mean the team is finished pursuing players in free agency, though.

Said Gibbs: "I wouldn't say that we are done, because something could crop up."

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