Joe Mendes Faces Tough Task

Joe Mendes just might be the Washington Redskins best off-season move. Can Mendes put the Redskins back on the salary cap saddle and still provide coach Steve Spurrier with enough talent to make a run at the title?

The more the off-season progresses, the more I think Washington Redskins fans should appreciate the re-acquisition of Salary Cap guru and Vice President of Operations, Joe Mendes. You might ask, "Just who is this guy?" because he's one of the guys you probably won't ever see or hear from unless you buy the media guide.

At the end of the 2001 season the Redskins were up against the wall or more accurately, against the salary cap ceiling. We've seen teams like the San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys and more recently the Baltimore Ravens crash and burn because the price of greatness became due. Enter Mendez who is widely respected throughout the NFL as a salary cap expert and his mission is not only to pull the Redskins from a downward spiral but make the team competitive in the title hunt.

Whatever magic Mendez has conjured up, the Redskins have surely already benefited from it.

Jesse Armstead and Renaldo Wynn are two exceptional additions that should help the Redskins defense. Then there are the so-called "blue light specials" that the Redskins have come up with to address several other pressing needs. Jacquez Green, Reidel Anthony, Larry Moore, Rod Jones and Shawn Powell should provide some solid play but are they upgrades?

The Redskins might even add Bears QB Shane Matthews this week and there are also rumors of the possibility of adding Jeremiah Trotter.

The addition of Matthews decreases the likelihood that the Redskins would move up to take Joey Harrington and this addition is also likely to cost the Redskins their 5th round selection at the minimum, unless Mendez can find some more wizardry left in his bag. Given the Redskins lack of ability to find any players later in the draft, Matthews might be the better way to go.

This is Mendez's first attempt at heading up the war room where all draft day decisions are made. The Redskins own the 18th selection, which is more cap friendly than a top 10 pick and they can be flexible and chose to address any one of several needs at a more affordable price with a quality player, if they go conservative.

Can the team of Mendez, Cerrato and Spurrier match the success that the franchise once enjoyed under Bethard, Casserly and Gibbs? What should be the Redskins draft strategy? Talk about it on our message boards.

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