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Jack Bauer, save us!

By Mark Solway | February 22nd, 2007

With free agency set to explode in about 183 hours, I’m torn as to how involved I want the Redskins to be this year. I’ll admit that part of me loves the big name splashes, if only for the immediate hope of what the future may bring. However, the other half of me feels that the countdown is like a season of ’24’ where that clock keeps ticking away down to zero, and unless Jack Bauer saves us, we’re doomed. While it’s rather obvious that our previous free agent signings haven’t worked out great, I think their failures are a bit exaggerated. First off, you have the media which despises Daniel Snyder, and enjoys reminding us of the poor choices that his team makes in free agency. Add to that the natural fact that when you have a dismal season (and we’ve had our fair share in the past few years), the negative tends to be accentuated, and the positive forgotten. While Adam Archuletta, Brandon Lloyd, and Andre Carter have fans screaming for Dan to put down the checkbook and step away, they forget about guys like Marcus Washington and Corny Griffin. Springs and Salve’a haven’t been too shabby either. Casey Rabach, Randy Thomas, Santana Moss, all guys we picked up through means other than the draft. The bottom line is that while I agree that we haven’t done as well as we should be doing in free agency, I don’t think we’ve done as poorly as some may try to lead you to believe. I know some of you will disagree with me on that one. As long as the impetuous Dan Snyder is the boss, we’ll be debating the value of free agency and trading draft picks. But understand that I’m trying to be positive about this. And that positive sentiment leads me to believe that perhaps if we target the right free agents, rather than simply the biggest names, the whole process can be successful for us. Plus, I’ll admit that I enjoy that instant gratification of a big name signing. Player X has crushed his opponents for the last couple of years, and I can’t wait to see him do the same in burgundy and gold. I ignore the possibility that Player X may now sit back with his paycheck and underperform. Or the possibility that perhaps Player X doesn’t really fit into our schemes, or into our locker room. That instant gratification removes all logical thought. I’m aware of the value of home-grown players, of keeping the guys who have already bled for their team in Redskins uniforms. I understand that a guy like James Thrash may be more valuable to us than a London Fletcher or Nate Clements. But it’s that rush of the big name signing that gets me sometimes, like unwrapping that brand new Transformer on Christmas morning. All that being said, I’m fearful of March 2nd. I don’t want another Archuletta. I fear that Dan, and perhaps Joe Gibbs, can’t control themselves. They have money, money that wants – nay, BEGS to be spent. And there is a lot of apparent talent out there that is happy to take it. The Redskins are in need of help, there’s no doubt about that. My fear, like yours, is that Dan and Joe will try to some (or all!) of those needs by signing the biggest name, rather than the player who will best help us fill those needs. And of course, the media is watching. The second Redskins One touches down with a free agent on board, the headlines read ‘Dan Snyder is at it again.’ It’s inevitable. Dan is Dan, and he won’t change, and the media will continue to love bashing him until the end of time. It’s annoying, however, that the media will bash without even attempting to evaluate the free agent in question, and make an objective determination as to whether he’ll help the team or not. No matter who it is, the ‘skins get bashed for signing him. It’s like a natural law. And I hate that part of it. I try to ignore it, but the way that some of our fat friends over at that four-letter word of a sports network seem to take delight in mockingly reporting the Redskins activities irks me. Big time. So I’m not sure what I’m rooting for this March 2nd. Part of me will be glued to the wire, tracking Redskins One on the ‘net, looking for that big signing. The other part of me will be in bed with the covers over my head, waiting for it to be over. Like you, I have no choice but to trust in Dan and Joe, and hope for the…

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