Add to the list the following lower priority items:
Inside Linebacker (which moves up the list if London Fletcher departs)
Running back, tight end and defensive line are really more about depth than seeking to acquire top-line talent. Fred Davis and Chris Cooley (should both return) figure to be adequate at tight end for another year. Roy Helu and Evan Royster are solid at running back, but the team will have to make a decision on free agent Tim Hightower (who missed most of the year with a knee injury). And the defensive line should be bolstered by the return of Jarvis Jenkins, the promising rookie who hurt his knee in preseason.
All that is preamble. In the coming weeks, I'll be going through free agents at the different positions attempting to determine who might be a good fit for Washington. Today: quarterbacks.
Peyton Manning -- Yeah, Manning technically isn't a free agent yet. Still, he figures to be available. If he goes on the market, Washington would be nuts not to check out his health and how much he'll cost. If Manning is fully healthy, and acquiring him costs nothing more than money, AND his salary permits Washington to fill other personnel needs, sign him. If any of that criteria isn't met, find another option.
Drew Brees -- I know, I know -- there's no chance Brees is leaving New Orleans. Still, it's puzzling that negotiations have been moving so slowly. If he hits the open market, it's a no brainer for the Skins to bid for his services. He's 33, but should be one of the game's best QBs for the next 3-4 years.
Matt Flynn -- The backup to Aaron Rogers in Green Bay, Flynn has been spectacular whenever he's had a chance to play. When the Packers rested Rogers in the season's final game, Flynn went out and set franchise records for passing yards and touchdowns in a single game. I suspect he'll end up in Miami with new head coach Joe Philbin -- who was Green Bay's offensive coordinator.
Alex Smith -- Smith figures to re-sign with the 49ers, and he should. I know he was good this season, but I wouldn't trust him to duplicate that performance anywhere but San Francisco.
Kyle Orton -- Orton is a fantasy hero who teams keep getting rid of so they can get someone better. This season, Denver benched him for Tim Tebow, who can't throw. I wouldn't want him as more than a 1-2 season bridge to a quarterback of the future.
Jason Campbell -- Not going to happen, and it shouldn't. Mike Shanahan dumped Campbell for Donovan McNabb, and while Campbell outplayed both McNabb and this year's QBs, he's not a solution to Washington's quarterback woes.
If Washington goes the free agent route, the order of desirability would be: Brees, Manning, Flynn, and then maybe Orton. In terms of realistic chances of acquiring the player: the top three could be tough. Flynn probably makes the most sense because he's young. Brees probably isn't a realistic option.
Bottom line: Washington must go into next season with a new starting quarterback. And that new starter must be a playmaker for Washington to have hopes of returning to the playoffs.