Stop the Presses: The Redskins Made a Good Move
The Washington Redskins are known for two things when it comes to free agency; Overpaying and not signing guys that fit their system. In their first free agent move this season, they did neither. That in and of itself deserves recognition. The best news is the Redskins did more than just function like a responsible business, they also got a pretty good player. O.J. Atogwe, is a ball hawking free safety and a big time playmaker. That is exactly what the Skins needed opposite LaRon Landry last season, (well actually since Sean Taylor’s tragic death) and their lack of one was quite noticeable.
Kareem Moore who was the incumbent free safety, couldn’t cover and couldn’t tackle which was troubling since that was all he got paid to do. Now with Atogwe in the lineup, the Redskins have someone who can play center field and be the last line of defense. His presence should allow the Redskins to utilize Landry in even more of a role that allows him to play up in the box. That should allow Landry even more chances to blitz and help against the run then last season.
Now I don’t mean to overvalue Atogwe, and make it seem like he is a superstar (of course compared to Moore it’s hard not to think that), but he is a good player. I wouldn’t say he is a perennial Pro Bowler, but he has the ability to play at that level. Atogwe has very good ball skills and breaks on the ball extremely well. He is also good at reading quarterbacks eyes and receivers body language, which shows his instincts for the position. While he isn’t the best tackler in the league, he does a good job and doesn’t allow too many yards after the catch. Atogwe also worked with DC Jim Haslett in St. Louis, so you know that he can fit our scheme.
Atogwe doesn’t come without his negatives though. He needs to work on his pursuit angles and can get overaggressive at times. He is also 30 years old, and has had some injuries the past few years. Given the injuries of both Landry and Atogwe last year, the Redskins could use some better insurance behind them. But hopefully they can stay healthier this year.
The best news for Redskins fans is the contract. 5 years at $26 million is a very good deal for someone of Atogwe’s background. He had made over $6 million each of the last two seasons, and I figured that it would cost at least that much per year to lock him up. While he might not be productive for the full length of the contract, the Redskins should get their money’s worth in the first 3 years. And considering that he is filling a major hole in their defense, I’d say this constitutes a great signing for Washington.