Five Free Agent Targets for the Washington Football Teamby Mike Fanelli March 24, 2021 0 comments
While free agency kicked off nine days ago, there are still plenty of quality free agents left on the open market. Part of the reason is the drop in salary cap as most teams are out of cap space to spend. The other reason is teams have become smarter in handling their cap space. However, the Washington Football Team has roughly $21 million in cap space, according to Over the Cap, the eighth-most in the league. With several quality free agents left on the open market, let’s take a look at five players Washington should target.
Alejandro Villanueva, Offensive Tackle
After trading away Trent Williams during the 2020 NFL Draft, Washington used several players at left tackle last season. The one with the most success was Cornelius Lucas, who gave up only two sacks and one penalty in 536 snaps. However, before last season, Lucas was a career backup swing tackle. Instead of backing one year’s worth of success from Lucas, Washington should target Villanueva. He played 97 percent or more of the snaps at left tackle in each of the past five years for Pittsburgh. In each of those five seasons, Villanueva recorded a 74 or better Pro Football Focus grade. If Washington is committed to Lucas for next season, they still need to add a veteran swing tackle.
K.J. Wright, Linebacker
Washington signed former New York Giants castoff David Mayo, but he doesn’t solve the linebacker problem. Cole Holcomb has one starting spot locked down while Jon Bostic was better at middle linebacker than many believed. However, the other starting outside linebacker spot is up for grabs. While Landon Collins could play in the box as a linebacker full time, that’s not likely to happen. Wright shouldn’t be on the market at this point. He has played in 15 or more games in nine of his 10 seasons. Furthermore, he had 107 or more tackles in five of the past six seasons that he played 15 or more games. The Washington defense is young, and adding a veteran like Wright to the unit could take them to the next level.
Malik Hooker, Safety
Hooker has struggled with injuries, missing 44 percent of the games in his career. However, when on the field, he showed the ability to cover the back third of the field and create turnovers. Despite missing almost half of the games in his career, Hooker had seven interceptions in his first three years with the Indianapolis Colts. Furthermore, if the Colts didn’t have two star safeties on cheap rookie contracts, they likely would have re-signed Hooker. Whether Collins or Kamren Curl starts at strong safety, the free safety spot is an open competition. After Anthony Harris signed a one-year $5 million contract with the Philadelphia Eagles, Washington should be able to add Hooker for less than that.
Melvin Ingram, Defensive End
Yes, Chase Young and Montez Sweat are the best defensive end duo in the NFC. However, unless Ryan Kerrigan accepts a backup role, Washington has no proven depth behind the starting duo. While Ingram has been one of the best pass rushers in the league over the last six years, he struggled with injuries in 2020 and will be 32 years old next month. If Washington can convince him to take a backup role, they would create the best pass rush trio in the league and protect themselves against the injury bug. Even if Ingram lands a starting job elsewhere, there are several other veteran defensive ends on the open market Washington should target.
Tyler Eifert, Tight End
In his first year in Washington, Logan Thomas had a breakout season, finishing third among tight ends in catches and targets while finishing top 10 in receiving yards and touchdowns. He is under contract for next season and should be part of the future in Washington. However, if he ended up missing time, the depth at tight end is awful. The other four tight ends on the roster have four career catches combined. Meanwhile, after struggling with injuries early in his career, Eifert has played 15 or more games in each of the last two seasons. His days as a starting tight end are likely over; however, he still offers a consistent middle-of-the-field and red zone target. Washington needs to add a veteran to the tight end room.