Note: Options have been confirmed as free agents as of 10:14 PM EST on Sunday, March 17.
In the last three days, the Redskins have agreed to a deal with three quality wideouts. Now that they’ve added weapons, they must carry their “free-agency momentum” into addressing other positions. Priority number one? Offensive Line.
The state of the current line is absolutely atrocious. Trent Williams has not panned out as hoped, and a drug suspension ended his year prematurely in 2011. Beyond Williams, there isn’t much promise, and if probable 1st round pick Robert Griffin III is going to be an effective quarterback in Washington, they must give him some protection. So, who?
I love the work McNeill has done in San Diego. He’s proven to be one of the top tackles in football, and we’ve seen productive backs like LaDainian Tomlinson, Darren Sproles, and Ryan Matthews all benefit from his work. If nothing else, he proves to be a high-profile signing, and will instantly become the best lineman on the team. Hopefully signing him would convince other lineman to go to Washington, as they would have an anchor in McNeill and bounce back candidate Trent Williams. There’s not much else to say other than that he’ll give Robert Griffin III some confidence that the front office is trying to make sure he will get protection next season, and that he won’t be on his [butt] almost every down.
Urbick comes with a 3rd-round tender, so the challenge for the Skins here would be making an offer that the Bills could not match. The other challenge would be dealing with losing another draft pick, as they’ve already given up this year’s second rounder (along with many other picks…) to the Rams in order to move up to second overall. However, if they’re going to spend a pick, Urbick is the guy to do it on. Though he’s primarily a guard, he’s is one of the most versatile lineman available right now. He proved to be a very effective center in Buffalo last year when starter Eric Wood missed time due to injury. Since it is unrealistic to think Washington can build an entire offensive line through free agency, they might as well focus on players that can play multiple positions.
The one concern with Bell is injury history. However, the Redskins must realize that they are still not an extremely desirable team to play for, and must target some of the lower-profile free agents out there. Bell already appears interested in signing with Washington, as Mike Jones of the Washington Jones reports that he visited the Redskins yesterday, which should give Bruce Allen and company even more of an incentive to go all-in here. Hopefully a Bell signing is in the near future, which would allow the Redskins Front Office to focus more on interior line help the rest of the offseason.
All of the moves that the Redskins have already made this offseason will be in vain if the offensive line doesn’t improve, so hopefully one of these three is in Burgundy and Gold come August. With a quality receiving core combined with a competent offensive line, who knows what Robert Griffin III could become?