By Rich Tandler
As the Redskins prepare for the 2012 offseason, let’s take a step back look at the big picture. What pieces of the puzzle for 2012, 2013 and beyond are in place? Where will the Redskins have to look for help in free agency and in the draft? We are going to put the roster under a microscope and see where the Redskins stand.
Key starters: Stephen Bowen, Barry Cofield, Jarvis Jenkins
Marginal/depth players: Kentwan Balmer, Adam Carriker, Kedric Golston, Doug Worthington, Chris Neild
Out: Darrion Scott, Chris Baker
Carriker and Golston, both starters at times, are unrestricted free agents so some of the logjam among the marginal and depth players could sort itself out of they end up signing elsewhere. Golston is coming off of a knee injury and it would not be surprising to see him come back on a one-year deal.
Carriker’s situation may be a bit stickier. He has been the starter for the past two years and he will be looking for money commensurate with that role. However, Jenkins will likely be the starter. If that’s the case, Carriker will still see a lot of action in the line rotation but that doesn’t pay as well. Both sides would like to work something out but it remains to be seen if that will happen.
Bowen and Cofield played well despite not having the benefit of an offseason program to learn the defense; they will be fixtures for at least the next few seasons. Jenkins has yet to play a regular season snap but he was the star of training camp before he was injured.
If Carriker and/or Golston end up leaving, the depth gets a little shaky. In fact, it’s already could be shaky at nose tackle. Neild played fine when he was in to give Cofield a rest. But it remains to be seen if he could handle nose tackle in the long term should the need arise. Balmer is a former first-round pick who has ideal size and physical ability to be a 3-4 end but he has yet to show that he can get his act together mentally.
Worthington flashed in the preseason but he spent almost the whole year on the practice squad. He will get an opportunity to earn a backup spot.
Scott made the roster coming out of camp thanks in part to Jenkins’ injury. He was waived in favor of Balmer on Nov. 8 but he came back a week later when Golston went on IR. He also is a free agent and his return is up in the air.
Needs: They probably will keep six or seven D-linemen on the 53-man roster. If Carriker and Golston both leave, look for a mid- to late-round draft pick or two to compete with Balmer and Worthington for the backup spots. More competition could come from lower-level free agent pickups.