The Redskins' forced thriftiness led them down a path they didn't want, but it's one they've handled well. And one that might pay off just as well as if they'd spent like, well, the organization had done once upon a time.
The Redskins didn't do much after the first day in free agency a year ago, but they at least landed two starting receivers on the first day in Pierre Garcon and Joshua Morgan. This year, they might add no starters. Which is a good thing.
Their focus has been -- and had to be -- on retaining their own players. The result? Every offensive starter will return and, for now, the only changes to the starting lineup defensively will come from three players returning from injury. Except, of course, for safety, where they need to add a starter. In total, of the Redskins' 22 projected starters next year, 21 have started a game for them. That can't be underestimated.
So the Redskins' improvement will have to come from familiarity with the system and the coaches and the growth of players in their scheme. It's how the best teams typically win. Draft and develop players and let free agency patch the holes.
That's what the Redskins have been forced to do. Some turnover can be good; the Redskins aren't a perfect team and could use help in areas other than safety. But they took care of their own -- the only one they wanted who got away was Lorenzo Alexander -- and that's a good start.
- John Keim