Note: This article has been updated to reflect Matt Cassel re-signing with the Minnesota Vikings.
NFL free agency would be so much more dramatic this offseason if NaVorro Bowman, Kam Chancellor, Geno Atkins, Sean Lee, Clay Matthews and Percy Harvin were hitting the market as previously scheduled. Each of them signed a contract extension well before hitting the market, a theme I referenced in January when scratching together a list of 25 must-sign free agents.
Two months later, six of the first 10 players on that list have effectively come off the market. Franchise tags will restrict Jimmy Graham, Greg Hardy and Brian Orakpo. A transition tag will complicate matters for Alex Mack. Two others in the top 10, Anquan Boldin and Dennis Pitta, recently signed new deals.
Fortunately for NFL teams, free agency can be less about marquee dollars spent and more about finding the right fits to maximize investments. With that in mind, I’ve put together a list of five free-agent fits, starting with one that could hinge upon what happens when the Houston Texans are on the clock with the first pick in the 2014 draft.
Talib isn’t for everyone. In 2012, he served a four-game NFL suspension for violating the policy on performance-enhancing drugs. He has been arrested more than once for his involvement in off-field incidents. Injuries have been a problem more recently.
The Redskins could be more comfortable with Talib than other teams would be simply because they have multiple strong connections to him. General manager Bruce Allen and secondary coach Raheem Morris were in similar roles with Tampa Bay in 2008 when the Buccaneers made Talib the 20th player chosen in his draft class.
The Redskins have needs throughout their defense.