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Shanahan Expects 'Pretty Active' Offseason

Posted Jan 9, 2012

How will the Redskins approach free agency and the NFL Draft this offseason? "We will do everything possible to improve at every position," head coach Mike Shanahan says.


The Redskins were among the more active teams in last year’s NFL Draft, acquiring 12 picks. And when free agency finally opened in late July, they were equally aggressive in signing several players who emerged as starters.

After a disappointing 5-11 campaign in 2011, how will the Redskins approach free agency and the draft this offseason?

“I think very similar to last year,” head coach Mike Shanahan replied. “I thought we were pretty active last year.”

The Redskins own the sixth overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, scheduled for April 26-28.

The team should get an up-close look at some top prospects at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., where Shanahan's staff will coach the South squad. The game is scheduled for Jan. 28, but the Redskins' coaches will be working with prospects in the week leading up the contest.

In terms of free agency, the Redskins have cap room to make moves, Shanahan said.

“We did some things to help ourselves with the salary cap to get into position for the future,” Shanahan said. “I think we made some strides defensively with the acquisition of a few free agents who have helped us, as well as some draft choices. We’ll continue to do that as a team both on offense and defense.

“And I think we made some strides even though our record may not show it, but we’re a much better football team than we were a year ago.”

In last year’s free agency, the Redskins bolstered the defensive line with the acquisitions of nose tackle Barry Cofield and defensive end Stephen Bowen. The team traded for wide receiver Jabar Gaffney and added cornerback Josh Wilson and safety Oshiomogho Atogwe.

And the Redskins had a productive draft, with 8-of-12 picks seeing substantial playing time, including first-rounder Ryan Kerrigan, fourth-rounders Roy Helu and DeJon Gomes and seventh-rounder Maurice Hurt.

This offseason, the Redskins could have needs across the board, depending on what happens with their own free agents.

For example, if Fred Davis opts to sign with another team, the Redskins may need to bolster the tight end position. Or if London Fletcher and Rocky McIntosh sign elsewhere, then inside linebacker could become a glaring need.

Upgrading the quarterback position is thought to be the Redskins’ top offseason priority.

Under Rex Grossman last season, interceptions and fumbles were a lingering problem. He is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Backup John Beck struggled at times leading the offense in a three-game stint.

The Redskins could be in the mix for several top quarterback prospects in the draft, although they may have to trade up from No. 6 to get in position to select Stanford’s Andrew Luck or Baylor’s Robert Griffin III, the Heisman Trophy winner.

In his season-ending press conference on Jan. 2, Shanahan declined to go into specifics on the team’s plans for the quarterback position

“That’s pretty obvious – who is here and the potentials through the draft and free agency,” he said. “The only thing I can say is, we are going to do everything possible to improve at every position, whether it’s through free agency or whether it’s through the draft or it could be a trade.

“We’re going to get as much competition in here as possible and try to look through every scenario to help our football team win.”

Shanahan said that Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder has been “very supportive” of his approach to building the team.

“He wants to do it the right way,” Shanahan said.