A breakdown of the initial wave of free agency for the Washington Redskins:
Overall grade: C-plus. The Redskins have not gone overboard, which is smart, and they did re-sign some of their own key players (ILB Zach Brown; PK Dustin Hopkins). Their big move was trading for quarterback Alex Smith, so he’ll eventually factor into an offseason grade but not the free-agent one. They’re banking on a lot of improvement coming from within.
Most significant signing: Receiver Paul Richardson. The Redskins wanted more speed on the outside, opposite Josh Doctson, and targeted Richardson to help. They agreed to a deal with him before free agency. Richardson provides big-play potential from the Z receiver position, whether on deep balls or crossers. They’re hoping his presence can help create opportunities for others -- similar to what DeSean Jackson provided during his three seasons in Washington. Richardson has not been as dynamic as Jackson, but he is capable of hurting teams and making athletic, contested catches as well.
Most significant loss: Quarterback Kirk Cousins. But this wasn’t a surprise as the Redskins moved on in January when they traded for Smith, a move that wasn’t official until March 14. The Redskins clearly feel they’re in a better spot considering they signed Smith to the long-term extension Cousins was never going to sign. Still, any time there’s a change at quarterback, it’s a significant move.
Player they should have signed: Defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson. OK, the Redskins were definitely interested, but they’re clearly not going to go crazy when it comes to spending. So this was more of a pipe dream than reality (slot corner Aaron Colvin was another player they would have liked, but his price tag was more than double what they wanted to pay at the position). Richardson would have provided what Washington needed: someone who can help with the run and collapse the pocket. The Redskins do deserve credit for not just chasing names, as they did for a decade, and there’s time to find more help along the front -- whether in free agency or the draft.
What’s next: The Redskins remain interested in defensive linemen Johnathan Hankins, who has visited, and, to a lesser degree, Bennie Logan, who has not visited. They want to strengthen their defensive line, but also know it can be done through the draft. They still need to add another left guard, though they remain interested in re-signing oft-injured Shawn Lauvao and do have three backups returning. They want to add a running back, but have long targeted the draft for that possibility. Adding a backup safety is another option.