Saturday's NFL slate includes Chiefs-Patriots and Packers-Cardinals. Chris Russell on the possible free agents worth watching with the Redskins in mind.
This weekend we get to watch four NFL playoff games. Granted, none of them involve the Redskins. That might allow you to relax, maybe.
It might also allow you to do some advance scouting for potential free agent additions to the Redskins when the new league year starts.
While I expect the Redskins to be active in free agency, look for volume signings rather than big names.
So let’s take a look at who might be available of the players that are on the eight teams this weekend. First up will be Saturday’sgames. All grades and snap counts are courtesy of ProFootballFocus.com. Grades are based on a 0-100 scale.
Kansas City @ New England: 4:35 PM ET - Foxboro, MA
The Chiefs have stud free safety Eric Berry, a 27-year old ranging centerfield type that overcame a battle with a form of cancer last year to rebound and have a fantastic year. He is ProFootballFocus.com’s (PFF) top rated free agent safety as a 87.5 grade on 1,052 snaps.
Kansas City also has 33-year old veteran stud Derrick Johnson (88.3 – 1082 snaps) at inside linebacker and 29-year old cornerback Sean Smith (83.9 – 853 snaps).
The Redskins tried to sign veteran strong safety Tyvon Branch (75.7 – 435 snaps) this past off-season. The Chiefs also have veteran safety Husain Abdullah (31 years old) and defensive lineman, Mike Devito (32). One interesting name could be offensive tackle Donald Stephenson who struggled this year but is generally regarded well.
The Patriots have LeGarrette Blount, a 29-year old running back, who is a physical thumper, but he’s on injured reserve. Not good for a free agent with baggage. Steven Jackson, 33, has been somewhat productive since signing with the Pats later this year.
I really think the Redskins are going to bring in a veteran running back to pair with Matt Jones, Chris Thompson and perhaps Pierre Thomas for a camp battle.
Akiem Hicks (76.1 – 409 snaps) as a defensive tackle depth option. He’s 26 years old.
Green Bay Packers @ Arizona Cardinals – Saturday 8:15 PM ET - Glendale, AZ
Packers corner Casey Hayward (78.8 – 933 snaps per PFF) is a favorite of mine. I don’t see Green Bay letting him go, but I’m not sure they are going to franchise tag him. The 26-year-old is physical, smart and sound.
The Packers also have edge defender Nick Perry (71.7 – 358 snaps), but with Junior Galette presumably coming back, I’m not sure if the Redskins really need help in that area.
If he can hold on to the ball, James Starks (54.4 – 542 snaps) is a 30-year old running back option that can help in the screen game.
B.J. Raji is a 30-year old gap stuffing nose tackle (66.8 – 457 snaps) that could be on the way out of Lambeau, while Letroy Guion (69.9 – 338 snaps) is a player that has some talent as an interior defensive lineman but also has a sordid past.
For the Cardinals, Rashad Johnson (76.1 – 864 snaps per PFF) is a 30-year old unrestricted free agent who calls a lot of shots in the Arizona secondary. He’s got size and leadership, but with Tyrann Mathieu gone for part of next year, the birds might be reluctant to part with Johnson.
Dwight Freeney (74.0 – 264 snaps) is a veteran edge pass rushing option who the Redskins should have signed (my opinion) in the off-season last year and has added a really nice dimension to the Cards pass rush.
The physical D.J. Swearinger could be a young safety addition (25) that was a former 2nd round pick (55.0 – 272 snaps).
Chris Johnson is still out for the Cards (41.7 – 370) but he would also be a potential name for the Redskins down the line.
Chris Russell is a senior writer for Breaking Burgundy, longtime reporter on the Redskins beat and radio host for 1067 The Fan. Follow Chris on Twitter @russellmania621.
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