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Rich Tandler is the author of Gut Check, The Complete History of Coach Joe Gibbs' Washington Redskins.
Redskins Ponder WR Question
During his one-hour appearance on WJFK radio on Wednesday, Joe Gibbs gave a few hints as to what the team's strategy will be for the free agent signing period that starts next month and for the April College draft.
The clearest statement he made was:
We would like to solve everything that we could on our football team in free agencyThe team would then enter the draft with the idea of being able to "free wheel it" and take the best available player rather than drafting for need.
His other concrete comment was that the team would not be interested in free agent receiver Plaxico Burress and Carolina receiver Mushin Muhammad.
With (Muhammad) and Plaxico, what you're talking about is big bucks.Clearly, since the team has announced that it is seeking to trade Rod Gardner, receiver would have to be considered a need. With Muhammad and Burress apparently out of the picture, who does that leave? Perhaps David Patten could be persuaded to leave the Patriots and give the Redskins a solid, blue-collar performer who could be had for a blue-collar price.
Beyond that, the other options at the moment are inconsistent and overpriced, like Jerry Porter, or has-beens like Joey Galloway or never-were's like Tai Streets. There are certain to be a few cap casualties at the position, but the likes of Az-Zahir Hakim and David Terrell make that potential list of choices sound like the proverbial waiver wire from hell.
And the competition for this limited talent will be fierce. Just look in the Skins' own division; Philly certainly should be looking to upgrade from Alan "Alligator Arms" Pinkston and Freddie "The Mouth" Mitchell, the Giants aren't happy with their receiver corps and you have to think that Bill Parcells isn't happy with his group of Quincy Morgan, Keyshawn, and Ms. Terry Glenn.
Should nothing fall into place in free agency, the other option is to be not-so free wheeling in the draft and nab either Michigan's Braylon Edwards or USC's Mike Williams with the ninth overall pick. That wouldn't necessarily be a bad way to go but remember that receivers rarely contribute consistently until their third year.
Speaking of receivers in their third season, it's possible that the team will give Taylor Jacobs the opportunity to win the starting job. He showed some promise last year after losing most of his rookie season to a freak abdominal injury.
In fact, the Redskins just may need to give Jacobs a shot and either draft a receiver late or go for someone who is a second- or third-tier free agent. After all, since 2001 the Redskins have invested two firsts (drafting Gardner and compensation for Laveranues Coles) and a second (Jacobs) in the position. You can't go on spending that many high draft picks and, in the case of Coles, large chunks of cap money on one position and expect to be in a position to win.
True, all three of those receivers were brought in by previous coaching staffs. But that shouldn't matter to Joe Gibbs. You would think that a man who could adjust his offense so that Alvin Garrett could replace the injured Art Monk as a starter in and catch three touchdown passes in one playoff game and another one in the Super Bowl could figure out a way to get the ball in Taylor Jacobs' hands several dozen times next year.