Every NFL team's offseason begins with a look at the pending free agents on their own roster. The Redskins will have nine unrestricted free agents, seven restricted free agents and two exclusive rights free agents when the free agency process officially begins in March.
"The good thing about free agency is, we control most of that," Gibbs said during his Jan. 3 press conference at Redskins Park. "It's in our ballpark. But sometimes there may be a player where that won't work. Last year, we had two players we wanted to keep, but we lost them to free agency--that can happen."
Gibbs emphasized that maintaining a core group of Redskins is his top priority.
"We want to keep that core group together and we want to make every effort to sign those guys," he said. "But there may come a situation--hopefully not, I don't foresee a situation like that--where we have to look out for the core group.
"If a person says, 'That's not the kid of money I want, I want something else,' and it becomes unreasonable, then we think we have to protect the core group because that would impact how many we could sign from that core group."
The Redskins' list of pending free agents includes five starters, although four of them were elevated to starting positions as a result of injuries during the course of the season.
Here's a look at the Redskins' list of pending free agents:
Unrestricted Free Agents
Fred Smoot, CB
Smoot wrapped up his fourth season as a Redskin with another solid campaign, recording 57 tackles (45 solo), three interceptions and a team-high 12 passes defensed. For his efforts, Smoot was named a second alternate to the Pro Bowl.
Antonio Pierce, MLB
Pierce was mostly a backup and special teams player--until this season. With Mike Barrow sidelined with knee tendonitis, Pierce stepped in at middle linebacker and started all 16 games, recording a team-high 160 tackles (109 solo), one sack and four interceptions. He was named a second alternate to the Pro Bowl.
Joe Salave'a, DT
Salave'a was a free agent pickup last offseason who, after seeing limited action in 2003 and sitting out of football the previous year, excelled in Gregg Williams' defensive scheme. He logged 30 tackles (22 solo), five tackles for a loss and two sacks.
Mike Sellers, FB
Sellers played mostly on special teams, and considering his hefty 6-3, 260-pound frame, was a feared hitter on punt and kickoff coverage. He was second on the team in special teams tackles with 29. And toward the end of the season, Sellers returned to his fullback position, blocking in goal line situations.
Ethan Albright, LS
Known for his bright red hair, Albright has quietly served as the team's long snapper on punts and field goals for the last four seasons. In a job that gets little notice unless something goes wrong, Albright has been steady and reliable during his tenure in Washington.
Ray Brown, RT
Brown, a 19-year vet who played for Gibbs during the head coach's first tenure, was a training camp pickup when right tackle Jon Jansen went down with an Achilles injury in preseason. Brown started 13 games at right tackle and one at right guard. Gibbs has said he expects Brown to resign for next season, but Brown, 42, has admitted he is considering retirement.
Pat Dennis, S
Dennis was a midseason pickup who excelled on special teams late in the season. He finished with 13 tackles on kickoff and punt coverage units.
Cedric Killings, DT
Killings was a Redskins representative in NFL Europe a year ago, but he was released following Redskins training camp last August. The team resigned him in mid-December, and he was among the gameday inactive for three regular-season games.
Brian Kozlowski, TE/HB
Kozlowski signed with the Redskins prior to training camp and provided depth at both the tight end and H-back positions. He started one game and caught three passes for 29 yards.
Lemar Marshall, LB
Marshall filled in at outside linebacker when LaVar Arrington underwent arthroscopic knee surgery after Week 2. Marshall turned out to be more than a fill-in, though. He started the final 14 games and logged 82 tackles (52 solo), 1.5 sacks and four passes defensed.
John Simon, RB
Simon spent the entire season on the Redskins' injured reserve list.
Andre Lott, S
Lott started the Redskins' first two games at free safety until rookie Sean Taylor was ready to take over. He recorded 13 tackles (7 solo) on defense and eight special teams tackles, but went down with a knee injury in Week 5 and was out for the season.
Demetric Evans, DE
Evans was among the newcomers to the Redskins' defense who, given an opportunity when Phillip Daniels was sidelined, stepped in and surpassed expectations. He started eight games at defensive end and registered 31 tackles (15 solo) and 2.5 sacks.
Rock Cartwright, RB
Cartwright served mostly on special teams units last season. In 2003, he logged 411 yards and four touchdowns on 107 carries--excelling in goal line situations--and added 18 catches for 176 yards.
Tim Hasselbeck, QB
Hasselbeck served as the Redskins' third quarterback all season, behind Patrick Ramsey and Mark Brunell. In 2003, Hasselbeck started five games and completed 95-of-177 passes for 1,012 yards, five touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Todd Franz, S
Franz saw spot duty as a reserve safety, but mostly served on special teams. He was fifth on the team in kickoff and punt coverage tackles with 16. In 2003, he led the Redskins in special teams tackles with 21.
Exclusive Rights Free Agents
Ron Warner, DE
Like Evans, Warner saw significant playing time for the first time in his career and displayed impressive speed as a pass-rusher. He finished with 17 tackles (9 solo), 3.5 sacks and one interception.
Chris Clemons, LB
Clemons was released by the Redskins after preseason, but he returned in mid-November and saw significant playing time late in the year. Playing some as a defensive end in pass rush situations, Clemons recorded three sacks.
Jeff Chandler, K
Chandler arrived in Week 15 when John Hall was placed on the team's injured reserve list. In a three-game stint, he connected on 5-of-6 field goals and all six extra points.