- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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It looks as though the Washington Redskins are serious about not letting their salary cap penalty break up their 2012 division champion team. A few weeks after cutting veteran cornerback DeAngelo Hall for cap reasons, the Redskins have agreed on a deal to bring Hall back to their secondary. He was going to cost them $8 million for 2013 under his previous contract, but obviously this one-year deal will be for considerably less.
Hall is not without his flaws as a cornerback, but the Redskins know him and like him and have seen him have success in their defensive system. They prefer to sign younger free agents to longer-term deals, but their salary cap problems this year have limited their ability to do that, and their best option in the secondary at this point is to sign a veteran to a one-year deal and then address the situation in a longer-term way next offseason. They courted free-agent cornerback Antoine Winfield, and some reports Monday night were saying they were still in the running for his services, but it's hard to imagine how they can pay him and Hall.
Assuming no further additions at corner, it's likely they'd use Hall and Josh Wilson as starters as they did last year and that Hall would move inside to cover slot receivers when opponents go to three-receiver sets, with E.J. Biggers filling the outside cornerback role Cedric Griffin filled last year. They still need to find a free safety (a role for which I actually think Hall would be well suited if he'd be willing to make the move), but it's likely they'll address that need in the draft later this month. They don't have a first-round pick, but most draft analysts believe the draft is deep at safety and that starters will be available in the second round.
What's remarkable at this point about the Redskins' offseason is how little they've lost from their 10-6 division champion team. With Hall back, reserve linebacker and special teams captain Lorenzo Alexander is the only significant loss they have suffered in free agency. Part of the reason is that the market didn't take off the way guys like Hall or tight end Fred Davis may have hoped it would, and another part of the reason is that they were able to convince several of their current players and restricted free agents to do deals that helped them fit others under the cap.