With Keenan Robinson tearing his pectoral muscle, his season looks to be over. With his loss the Redskins are now really limited to Rodderick Muckelroy and Bryan Kehl behind their starters, London Fletcher and Perry Riley. Both Muckelroy and Kehl have very limited experience beyond special teams, and the Redskins should consider bringing in some more quality competition. The good news is that the ILB free agent market is still fairly strong. Here are the top 5 options I’d look to bring in to replace Robinson:
-Barnett has both 3-4 and 4-3 experience and is probably the linebacker on this list still playing at the highest level. Now it is likely he could wait for a starting role to come open, but he could possibly consider an offer from the Redskins, particularly if it is a multi-year deal and he would be looked on to replace London Fletcher in 2014. A multi-year deal (only 2 or 3) would give the Redskins quality insurance this year, and someone to count on for next season, since Robinson was really the only guy under contract (at this point). A two or three year deal would also allow the Redskins to more easily fit him under the cap this season. Barnett could find himself as a nickel backer this year, given his strength in coverage and may split time with London Fletcher.
-Scott has plenty of 3-4 experience and would be a great veteran pick-up for the Redskins as he has quite a bit of playoff experience as well. Scott has seen his play decline the past few years and have some nagging injuries, but he’s still fairly effective when he’s on the field. He’s still solid in pass coverage and shows great instincts moving to the ball carrier against the run. He may be hoping for a starting job, but could get interested if the Redskins come calling. Price could be a factor as he’s likely going to want more than $1 million, even for a back-up role.
-Spikes actually teamed up with London Fletcher in Buffalo to form one of the best LB duos in the league. Spikes has had a long and very productive starting career in this league, but he may be willing to join Fletcher and the Redskins as a reserve this year. Spikes has plenty of experience in the 3-4, and has always been a very balanced ILB. His last two years his play has dropped off somewhat, but in a reserve role he would be a very interesting option to have. He’s probably holding out for a more defined starting role, but it can’t hurt to ask Spikes.
-Speculation surrounding Grant heading into the offseason was he was a back-up linebacker who could get a shot at a starting role for some teams. He had showed pretty well when he got 200+ snaps in 2011, and the thought was he could be capable of more. At the very least Grant would offer quality back-up play and good special teams work. Unfortunately for him he was suspended for the first 4 games due to violating the league’s substance abuse policy. The Redskins could sign him, but they would have to do without him for the first four games. It still might be worth it for them, because he is the only player on this list basically guaranteed to play for the league minimum. Given that he is the best special teamer of this group, he has another advantage as well.
-Mays has played most of his time in a 4-3, but does have some 3-4 experience as well. He’s a strong run defender on the inside, who makes a lot of tackle at or near the line of scrimmage. He’s got good instincts and solid pursuit, and plenty of experience to step in if one of the Redskins starters were to go down. He’s not a great pass defender though and that consistently plagued him in Denver. Considering he would facing better quality tight ends in the NFC East he might not be the best fit.
Who would you like to see in Washington?