2013 did not at all go how the Washington Redskins thought that it might.
A team picked by more than a few fans and analysts to win the NFC East finished with a worse record than that of a division rival that started out the campaign at 0-6. Washington had all kinds of issues that caused the season to get out of hand, problems that extend far beyond a head coach who has been shown the door and much-maligned owner Dan Snyder.
That said, it's not all bad news for the Redskins. The team's top players as it pertains to cap figures performed well, and those guys are hardly ancient. Washington will also have a decent amount of money to spend between now and the summer.
Keep your heads, up Redskins fans.
Most expensive 2013 Washington Redskins players: Were they worth it?
9 Josh Wilson, CB: $3,333,333
Wilson had an average season in what was a contract year. He is one of three cornerbacks who could leave the team this offseason depending on how Washington otherwise spends funds (see Orakpo, Brian for more). Wilson did take a pay cut last spring, meaning that he will likely be looking to make up for lost cash when March and free agency comes along.
That's just how the NFL works.
Grade: Can live without him.
8 Barry Cofield, DT: $3,892,500
Cofield quietly had himself a solid season while playing for a losing team. He led the Redskins in quarterback pressures/hits with 35, and he had 32 tackles along with 2.5 sacks. Cofield could find himself being moved outside to defensive end as new head coach Jay Gruden attempts to mold his ideal Washington 3-4 defense.
Cofield was good value considering that he wasn't paid superstar money. He's a scrappy player who does the dirty work down low, but don't undersell his ability to get into the backfield. Cofield could be in for a big year if he does move out to a flank.
Grade: Good investment.
7 Santana Moss, WR: $4,016,688
Moss made his money more because of his time spent in the league, 13 years, than because of what he is able to provide at this stage of his career. He caught 42 of 80 targets, and he had 452 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Those are the type of numbers a team such as the 'Skins could get at a fourth of the cost.
Washington is a side that already has a veteran presence at the position in Garcon. Moss' best days are well behind him, and the upcoming draft is very deep at wide receiver. No clear decision has been made by either party, but it's a no-brainer for me.
Grade: Thanks for the memories.
6 Chris Chester, G: $4,300,000
There's no nice way to say it. Chester hardly covered himself in glory in 2013, being somewhere between “inconsistent” and “a liability” for much of the season. Washington could, at the absolute worst, get similar play at a cheaper and, just as importantly, younger value. Chester turned 31-years old earlier this month, and his time with the club may have run out.
Grade: Move on.
5 Robert Griffin III, QB: $4,799,795
This past year was a lost one for RG3 and for the Redskins. That's fine, as what's done is done, but the excuses went out the door with the old year. Mike Shanahan isn't there to blame anymore. There's no “rehab offseason” fallback. It's time for Griffin III to take that next step into stardom.
Nobody within the franchise will yet be complaining about RG3's cap figure or dead money, but that could start to change if he doesn't begin matching the likes of Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick. That means playing well AND staying healthy for a 16-game schedule. He definitely has the goods to be a star.
Let's see it.
Grade: Jury remains out.
4 Josh Morgan, WR: $5,100,000
Morgan reeled in 20 of a total 33 targets, and he didn't find the end zone once in 2013. His numbers didn't come close to matching his deal, and odds are he won't be a Washington player in the spring. They don't all work out, I suppose.
Grade: Don't let the door hit ya.
3 Brian Orakpo, LB: $5,109,000
Orakpo, originally named to the Pro Bowl as an alternate, ultimately received his invitation to Hawaii. He had a himself yet another banner year in 2013, finishing the campaign with 60 total tackles (43 solo) and 10 sacks. Those numbers are now intimidating for the Redskins and their fans.
Orakpo will be looking to get paid this winter.
The team's front office has a difficult decision to make. Orakpo is, at 27-years old, one of the top pass rushers in the NFL. Is it worth it to the Redskins, the worst team in the NFC East, to invest highly in one superstar, or should the team reinvest that money and fill some glaring roster holes? It's definitely a difficult decision, one that will affect the Redskins well beyond 2014.
Grade: Either way, he's going to get paid.
2 London Fletcher, LB: $6,200,000
A veteran of 16 years such as Fletcher does not get a deal because of one season. Rather, it's a reflection of his work as a whole. Fletcher called time on his playing days following a decent performance against the Giants that saw him accumulate seven total tackles in his last regular season finale.
All good things must end, goes the saying, and Fletcher has taken his proverbial ride into the sunset. The undrafted linebacker will exit the NFL as an inspiration to every would-be pro who isn't taken in the annual springtime player selection process.
Grade: Tremendous career
1 2. Trent Williams, LT: $7,985,198
Williams has found himself in highlight reels over the past week due to the incident that saw him shove the face of Seattle Seahawks trash-talker Richard Sherman following last season's playoff lost, a moment that is being replayed because of Sherman's now famous promo that occurred after Seattle won the NFC Championship Game on January 19. Don't think that was Williams' most noteworthy event of the calendar year. He had himself a Pro Bowl season, and, at 25-years old, the sky is the limit.
Offensive line play can make the difference between a team with talent and a talented team. Just ask Eli Manning and the New York Giants if you don't believe me. Williams is one of the best in the business, the cornerstone of what could be a dominating unit up front.
Grade: Money well spent
1. Pierre Garçon, WR: $8,106,250
Garçon couldn't have done much more to earn his top paycheck. He led the league in receptions with 113, and he went for 1,346 receiving yards. Those questions about that big contract Washington gave to him a year ago have sufficiently been answered.
It seems, because he's played for two different teams, that Garçon has been in the league for a decade. He will turn just 28-years old next August. His best, so long as Washington's No. 1 quarterback stays healthy for an entire regular season, could be yet to come.
Grade: Well worth it