The Washington Redskins were at the bottom of one of the NFL’s most competitive divisions, but are looking to this offseason to bring in a game breaking rookie and some solid skill guys around him to help this club contend.

Washington redskins NFL Odds to win Super Bowl XLVII - 50/1

A season of beating the Super Bowl champs and no one else for the Redskins looks to be behind them, and there is actually some limited optimism surrounding the Redskins this season. Some free agent signings and one big trade has brought upon both skepticism and optimism surrounding this NFC East team.

This offseason blog will cover offseason news, transactions and buzz surrounding this team for April’s upcoming draft. We’ll start with the biggest news surrounding Washington this offseason, which happens to be a transaction and draft news combined.

Draft Buzz

It was quite evident that the Rams were going to shop the second overall pick in this season’sNFL Draft and the Redskins jumped on it. For the low, low price of three first round picks and a second round pick, the Redskins were able to move up four slots to second overall in the draft, where they will draft either Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III.

It is almost certain that the Skins will get Griffin III, after the Indianapolis Colts take Andrew Luck #1. This does a few things for the Skins. First, it handicaps them just a little bit in the next few years, because they don’t have a first round pick until 2015. However, the upside is very high if they will have Griffin III taking the snaps.

Griffin III is one of the fastest players in the draft, and under center for the Skins, he will pose a huge threat to opposing defenses. He is the first real quarterback drafted by the Shanahan crew, and if he is able to live up to expectations, the Skins could be one of the best turnaround stories of the NFL next season.

I am under the school of thought that he might be just as much upside as downside. We all saw what happened to a small Michael Vick this past season, and Griffin III is of a similar size and skill set. He may be fast, but everyone in the NFL is fast and can hit hard. I am hoping Griffin III can play his style and remain healthy and on the field. 

Offseason trades/free agent signings

Other then the big trade for moving up the draft board, the Skins have been steadily trying to help out their offensive skill positions. This team wasn’t a bad defensive team last season, so trying to improve upon one of the NFL’s worst offenses last season is a top priority.

Robert Griffin III will help out a lot if he is ready to start week one, but he also needs weapons around him. He will already have Santana Moss, but the Skins have also signed receivers Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan. This will only help take some of the pressure off of a potential rookie quarterback.

Washington RedskinsThe Skins have also done a little work on their defense, signing free agent cornerback Cedric Griffin and they also brought back their own defensive end Adam Carriker at the tune of four years and $20 million ($7 million guaranteed). 

General News

The one other big news surrounding this team is the penalties brought down by the NFL in regards to the salary cap front loading before the lockout. Just a month before the draft, and an hour before free agency began, the Redskins were informed by the league that they would be hit with a $36 million cap space penalty, which they can spread out throughout the next two seasons.

The Cowboys are also named in the infractions, but their cap space hit is only $10 million (chunk change, right). Both teams allegedly pushed spending into the uncapped year to save money last season. 

Both the Cowboys and Skins have filed a joint grievance against the NFL, but the owners voted Tuesday to uphold the penalties against both teams. The team and head coach Mike Shanahan have been silent in this issue, but once the appeals are done, I’m sure we will have a more concrete view of how the cap situation for the Skins will end. Keep an eye out for next week’s blog to cover just that!