Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports

Hey, Redskins:You're Spending Real Money On The Defensive Line This Year, Right?

All the chatter is about offensive personnel, but the Redskins remain super needy on defense. Two offer ideas to Breaking

INDIANAPOLIS -- Essentially all free agent talk involving the Washington Redskins to date involves the offense. There's quarterback Kirk Cousins' second straight franchise tag and discussions over a long-term deal. There are wide receivers Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson apparently headed elsewhere. Very, very important issues, truly.

Reminder: The defense wasn't good last year and on paper is worse right now, particularly the line. That's where the Redskins need to improve, bigly. Changing from Joe Barry to Greg Manusky at defensive coordinator might help. That general manager Scot McCloughan didn't spend heavily last year on sackers and run stuffers suggested he wasn't focused solely on the 2016 season, but rather the big picture. For the organization to have any hope of contending for the NFC crown in 2017, that cannot happen again.

"I think the Redskins are set up for a potentially disastrous season," analyst Gregg Rosenthal told Breaking Burgundy at the NFL Combine. "You have to see how the offseason goes, but you see what they are losing on offense, including [offensive coordinator Sean] McVay, and I think they just have so much to do on defense and I’m not sure they got the [defensive] coordinator they necessarily hoped for and they just needed way more talent."

Free agency discussions can begin Tuesday. Contracts can be signed starting Thursday afternoon. 

"Regardless of the coach, they need defensive line, they need secondary," Rosenthal continued. "They’re just transitioning a lot so a lot kind of falls along the air like if the Cousins thing is a distraction. I think it’s going to be tough to back up their last two seasons.”


Chris Baker, Washington's top lineman the past two seasons, is among its 12 free agents. Other teams are reportedly looking hard at "Swaggy." Yet even if Baker return, the Redskins arguably need two more starters for their base 3-4. Not just bodies, but impact players. The Redskins were 28th in defensive ranking last season and 24th in rushing yards allowed per game. Sacks came from edge linebackers, not ends and tackles.

During discussions at the NFL Combine with various league sources, the name of one free agent lineman came up more than most. 

“Calais Campbell if they want to spend a lot of money. We have him now as the number two overall free agent," Rosenthal said of the Cardinals defensive end. "That’s exactly what the Redskins need."

The disruptive Campbell, who turns 31 in September had eight sacks and 53 tackles last year. He makes sense. Same for tackles Johnathan Hankins (Giants), Dontari Poe (Chiefs) and Bennie Logan (Eagles).

Baker is in that tier below Campbell, but does it make sense to retain him?

“With the cap going up, there is more money for people to spend," analyst Bucky Brooks said. "How do they value him? I think the Redskins are determining what does he do and what does he bring to the defense. Can they find that in the draft at a cheaper cost and maybe a long-term cost efficient solution where they can do some other stuff. He’s a good player, really good player for them. It comes down to does compensation meet the production. Do they feel like what they have to pay will equal the production they get back."

We'll soon see what the Redskins feel about Baker, outside free agents and just the general idea of spending money on their defense this time.

Ben Standig is the Publisher of Breaking Burgundy and the Huddle Report's 2012 NFL Mock Draft champion. You can find him on Twitter @benstandig and on Google+.

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