The League

Dave Goldberg
Sports Reporter

Dave Goldberg

Covered the NFL for the AP for 25 years and now is a senior NFL writer for

Time for a new gameplan


The NFL's uncapped season is upon us. In other words, the year when there are no salary-cap ceilings limiting Dan Snyder from throwing his money at every free agent out there has begun.

Two problems:

1. There aren't many free agents out there who are worth the kind of money Snyder will throw at them.

2. There aren't many "names'' either -- unless you count LaDainian Tomlinson and Brian Westbrook, who are past their peak and, in Westbrook's case, in dubious health. And we all know that Dan the Fan always want to sign free agents who his fans have heard of, which makes the most naive think he's really working to build a winner in Washington.

Washington fans have always been among the savviest in the country. After 11 seasons of Snyder, they certainly are wise to his ways and not very approving -- they'd rather have 53 guys few people have heard of than a collection of Albert Haynesworths out of sync with each other on a 4-12 year.

There's also a new guy in town named Mike Shanahan -- the latest big-name coach savior who on Thursday dumped a half-dozen veterans, some of whom can probably help other teams. That indicates he has the power to do what he wants and his expertise is on offense, where, the Redskins need the most help.

The best plan at this point for Snyder/Shanahan is to do what at least two of his division rivals, the Eagles and Giants, have been doing for years.

Neither of those teams flies planes somewhere at 12:01 a.m. on the first day of the new league year to fly in a "name'' and make a splash by signing him. Instead, they identify the guys they want -- often moderately priced second-tier guys -- talk to their agents and eventually sign them.

They don't always succeed. The Giants were supposed to have done marvelously last season and instead ended up spending a lot of money on guys who were hurt and didn't play or played badly. That's one reason their defense fell apart late in the season. But they've succeeded often enough to finish ahead of the Skins in the standings for most of the years Snyder has been in Washington.

Will the Redskins go wild?

To some extent.

They'll probably overpay a player or two, hopefully a decent and experienced offensive lineman. And they might chase some restricted free agents -- many of them guys who thought they'd be unrestricted until the uncapped year hit. That's dangerous because it costs draft choices, something the Redskins have given away too often.

Speaking of which... They might draft Sam Bradford if they get the chance to eventually succeed Jason Campbell. Poor Jason. I can't keep count anymore, but it seems to me that he'll be playing in something like his ninth offensive system in ten years if you count his four years at Auburn.

But this could be a different free-agent season for Redskins fans.

Maybe it will succeed. We know throwing the money at names doesn't work.

By Dave Goldberg  |  March 5, 2010; 12:00 AM ET  | Category:  Dave Goldberg , Free Agency , NFL , Washington Redskins Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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