Free Agent Safeties to Replace Phillip Thomas
With Redskins rookie safety Phillip Thomas done for the year with a Lisfranc ligament tear in his left foot, the Redskins may turn to the free agent pond to find a replacement. Here are the top five options on the market for the Redskins:
1. Kerry Rhodes:
-Rhodes just turned 31 and is coming off a good season for the Cardinals. He’s primarily a free safety, but definitely has the size and hitting ability to play strong if needed. He’s a versatile safety who is likely to good starting level production at either spot. He’s also used to playing in some aggressive defenses, and can be a valuable blitzer. Rhodes may be looking for more than the league minimum which could be an issue, but given his production and versatility, he would be well worth the investment.
2. Quintin Mikell:
-Mikell will be 33 this season and is coming off a good year for the Rams. Unfortunately his price tag was too high and he was released. Now he still may be looking for more than the league minimum, which could price him out of the Redskins price range, but if they have any concern about Brandon Meriweather‘s health he should be worth it. Mikell is a good starting strong safety most years. He excels versus the run and is even pretty good as a blitzer. Like most strong safeties, playing deep can at times cause issues, but he’s still solid overall in that area. One concern with Mikell is the fact that he’s more limited to the SS role than some of the other options on this list. While he can excel there, he would probably be out of place if asked to play FS, if something were to happen to Rambo.
3. Abram Elam:
-Elam is very similar to Doughty as a solid in the box so you wouldn’t get a lot of variation, but he’s been a around for a number of years now and continues to find playing opportunities. Elam has played both free and strong safety, but is definitely better suited at strong safety going forward.
4. Nate Clements:
-Clements was a former first round pick in 2001, and will turn 34 this season. He spent most of his career as a cornerback, but did play both in the box and deep center last year as a safety for the Bengals. He’s a more natural fit as a free safety, but he’s never been afraid to hit or come up in run support. Clements could also play corner still if needed, so he adds extra versatility. He may not be a guy who could still play 1,000 snaps a year, but he’d be a great back-up/platoon partner with Reed Doughty.
5. Chris Crocker:
-Crocker has been in the league since 2003 and has 106 starts to his name. He’s played both strong and free safety though is probably a more natural free safety. He can offer good solid veteran depth and is thought of as a good mentor. He’s a guy who could really help Bacarri Rambo develop (and Phillip Thomas in the film room). Crocker will be 33 this season and probably couldn’t be a full time starter, but he can contribute if needed.
Bonus: Madieu Williams:
-Redskins fans may hate Madieu Williams and blame him for every single TD given up last season, but the reality is he was not nearly as bad as people make him out to be. In fact he had more value to this team than guys like DeJon Gomes and Jordan Pugh. If the Redskins don’t believe either of the younger guys will surpass him, they should turn to the veteran who knows the defense and plays at a higher level. This will be a tough sell to Redskins fans, but really that doesn’t matter at the end of the day. He makes the Redskins better, and he comes at the right price.