Say what you want about the Washington Redskins, but they got this year's free-agent market right by following a strategy that would have been unimaginable three years ago.
They did nothing.
|Washington's only move in free agency was to retain QB Todd Collins. (Getty Images)|
But outside of that? Nada. Zilch.
The team that shelled out millions for Adam Archuleta two years ago and paid a gazillion bucks to pry Laveranues Coles loose from the New York Jets in 2003 spent the past week minding its own business -- which, considering the market, might've been the smartest thing it has done in years.
Sure, there were big names out there. There were also big paydays. The Jets made Alan Faneca the highest paid offensive lineman in the game. He turns 32 this season. The 49ers paid defensive end Justin Smith $16.75 million in guaranteed money. He had two sacks last year as an end in a 4-3 defense.
The 49ers play a 3-4.
I mention that because the 49ers let Andre Carter walk two years ago when they decided he couldn't play the 3-4. So he went to Washington and produced 10.5 sacks last year in ... yep, you got it ... the 4-3.
Don't get me started.
I would rather celebrate teams like Washington, San Diego, Indianapolis, New England and Green Bay -- clubs that didn't go knee deep into free agency. Specifically, I'm here to celebrate the Redskins because they resisted the temptation to do what they've done for years, and, yeah, part of it was by necessity. They didn't have a lot of cap room to begin with.
But most of it was by design. They seem to have learned a lesson from past mistakes.
But while Washington didn't spend money in all the wrong places, there were others -- lots of others -- who had no trouble emptying their vaults. Take the Jets, for example. They shelled out a whopping $138 million in contracts, including $63 million in guarantees, and you tell me how that plays out with someone like Coles -- who wants a new contract -- or safety Kerry Rhodes, due to make $927,000 in the last year of his contract.