The Redskins clearly have a lot of work to do this offseason after finishing last year 3-13 and firing coach Mike Shanahan. They made their first real move of the offseason yesterday by re-signing CB DeAngelo Hall to a reported 4 year $17 million deal. Now the complete terms of the deal are not known yet, so it is impossible to know exactly how good or bad this deal is (the guaranteed money will be key here), but there are some general things we can comment on.
Four years $17 million, breaks down to an average of $4.25 million a year, which is a pretty solid number for Hall. Top tier corners are going to get $8.5-11 million a year, and even 2nd tier guys were going to be pushing $6-8 million a year, and most would be looking for 5 year or longer deals.For the Redskins right now it’s not necessarily a good thing to sign a lot of big money players for 5 plus years. Given the size of Hall’s deal, it is very likely the Redskins can get out of it after 2 or 3 years with little dead money, that would have been next to impossible with a bigger money deal. Though Hall’s play has been streaky in the past, re-signing him over diving in with a big money corner makes some sense. Sure another corner may be more consistent, or play at a higher level, but is it worth it for twice the level of commitment, especially when the Redskins have so many other needs.
Hall also brings some stability to a very young secondary and ensures that the Redskins won’t need to force David Amerson to start covering number 1 receivers, which he clearly isn’t ready to do. Hall has been around and has now been under Haslett for four previous seasons and DB coach Raheem Morris for the last two. That experience both in the league and with these coaches will help ease the transition for these younger defensive backs. While a veteran from another team would offer some of the same benefits, the difference is that they would need to be learning the system and coaching staff at the same time they would be trying to help the younger players. Hall already has that down, so it should make for a smoother process.
Hall should not be seen as the “answer” to the Redskins woes, but he fits into their budget and this contract seems to be at a level that reasonable to have him play nickel (though not his strongest position) if the Redskins can find another top corner (though that seems unlikely). Hall can be a positive member of the Redskins Defense and at this price it makes sense. Ideally Hall will have more help in the secondary this year with better safety play over the top, which could help make-up for some of the mistakes when Hall gambles.
The best part about this deal though is that it appears to be so favorable in relation to the cap (though the final numbers need to come out). Even if the Redskins were going to have a cap hit of $4.25 million this year on Hall (unlikely), that shouldn’t prevent them from being able to bring back other key free agents (Brian Orkapo) and remain active on the open market. While it is possible they could have gotten a better deal by letting the market set itself, and either bring in Hall at a lower rate or a similar corner at that lower rate, this doesn’t seem like a gross overpay. Chances are Hall would have gotten this or similar money on the open market, so the Redskins might not have been able to actually save any money in that approach.
From here the key is for the Redskins to re-sign Brian Orakpo before the need to use the Franchise Tag on him (they could also tag him and re-sign him later, but that would give them less initial cap room). For other players like Chris Baker or Perry Riley, it is probably the best to let the market set itself and see if their price tag is worth what you are willing to pay. Right now the Redskins would be bidding against themselves and would likely overpay either player.