Is Shaun Rogers A Good Fit For The Redskins?
Yesterday the Cleveland Browns cut the former Pro Bowl Defensive Tackle Shaun Rogers, and the speculation immediately began as to where he will end up next. Now since Rogers was cut, he doesn’t have to wait until March when the new league year starts to sign with a new team (technically the new league year will start when the new CBA says it will, but I’m trying to be a bit of an optimist). Rogers is free to sign with any team now, which could make sense for him, given the uncertainty of the labor situation. At this point teams don’t even know exactly what players will be eligible for free agency (will it be 4 years of service time? 5? 6?), much less when it will start. This makes Rogers pretty marketable right now, and it probably would be in his best interest to sign now.
I know a lot of people would say he should wait to see what the new CBA looks like and what the salary cap shakes out to, but that could easily backfire for Rogers. If the free agency rules go back to the way they were prior to last season (4 years of service time, before unrestricted free agency), then the market will be flooded with talent. Given the free agency rules last season that forced players to have 6 years of service time, there are technically 2 classes worth of free agents. Things could get even worse for Rogers if the players settle for less money or somehow negotiate the franchise tag out of the CBA. Rogers is no longer an elite player so him worrying about how much cap room teams will have won’t help him. While some money will funnel down any increase in the Salary Cap will primarily go to the star players. In which case I thinking waiting only hurts Rogers.
Alright so maybe I’ve sold you on it being in Rogers best interest to sign now, but is it in the Redskins best interest? I realize a lot of fans will see Shaun Rogers as automatically think Albert Haynesworth, but don’t be so quick to judge. Yes Rogers has had some off the field issues in the past, but those show more of a lack off judgement than say a bad person. Okay having a loaded gun in your carry on luggage isn’t the brightest thing, to do but he accepted his punishment and isn’t comparable to a Plaxico Burress or Gilbert Arenas situation. At the same time Rogers has also shown a positive side when he helped the police arrest a drunk driver. Now that might not make up completely for his negatives, but it is a start.
I know there are other similarties with Rogers and Haynesworth like keeping his weight in check and his committment, but he has also been considered a team leader in the past. I know he didn’t have the best relationship with Browns coach Eric Mangini, but let’s be honest, who did. Now I’m not saying there won’t be any baggage, or that Rogers will be the next Darrell Green in terms of being a team leader, but we shouldn’t make him out to be a bad seed. Rogers last year complained because he wasn’t getting enough playing time at nose tackle, which is just a bit different than Haynesworth (now I’m not completely faulting Haynesworth as the coaches really made this an issue).
That to me is the crux of the issue as Shaun Rogers unlike Haynesworth is a natural Nose Tackle, and exactly what the Redskins need in the middle of their line. He’s been a bit more banged up of late and doesn’t get the same pass rush he used to, but even still he is infinitely better than Kemoeatu at the nose. Rogers will be a huge force against the run, and should upgrade the 26th ranked rush defense. He won’t offer as much against the pass, but he will command a few double teams and push the pocket back a little bit. He won’t get many sacks, but he will help open up lanes for interior pass rushers, and not allow the quarterback to step up into the pocket.
Now the real question will come down to what is Rogers worth. He was due to make $6 million this season with his roster bonus, and presumably his value is lower, otherwise the Browns would have hung on to him to trade him. I think that despite being 32 going into next season, Rogers has 3-4 good years left. I’d like to see the Redskins sign him for between $4-5 million a year (maybe more in the first year or two) for four years. Hopefully all the guaranteed money will be in the first two years, so that if there is a sharp decline it won’t hurt their books into the future. Now this won’t solve all the Redskins woes at NT as Rogers should have a solid understudy, either a marginal free agent or a later round draft pick. Either way it has to be more than a warm camp body. If Washington can add Rogers and another solid NT, they will be well on their way to fixing one of the league’s worst defenses and perhaps the worst unit in the NFL (sans Haynesworth, I don’t think the Redskins have a single starting caliber D-lineman on this roster).