Free Agent options to replace Reuben Foster
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Unfortunately there aren’t many free agents who could reasonably compete for a roster spot (much less a starting role) at inside linebacker, but the Redskins need to consider all options as they look to replace Reuben Foster. Here are the best options available to the Redskins on the market:
-Bynes was an undrafted free agent back in 2011, but earned a spot with the Ravens. He’s bounced around the league as a quality back-up/special teamer, who has gotten various opportunities to play more due to injuries. While he’s not ever shown enough to be a full starter, he’s been solid when he’s been forced into action. He doesn’t excel in any one area, but he also isn’t a major liability either. Bynes would be the best free agent option available if the Redskins feel they need someone who could potentially start and play a significant amount. Though he won’t be too expensive, Bynes will likely be the most expensive option on the list, maybe around $2M.
-Bostic was a 2nd round pick by the Bears in 2013, but injuries and ineffectiveness slowed his career. He was a solid starter for the Colts in 2017 and played a fair amount with the Steelers this past season at a below average level. Bostic’s issue is he’s a pretty good run defender, but struggles in coverage. While he is an adequate blitzer, Bostic is just not as valuable in today’s NFL. The Redskins could go with another option, but Bostic would give them a defender who can play on early downs if need be and the team could turn to one of their athletic LBs for passing game work. At this point I can’t imagine he would cost too much, but it might be slightly higher than some of the lower options on this list.
-Compton was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Redskins in 2013, and after a year on the practice squad played from 2014-2017 with the team. Due to injuries he played a fair amount during that time with over 2,200 defensive snaps (roughly 2+ years of full time starting), in addition to his special teams work. Though mainly he played at an average-to-below average level, he was a solid back-up and special teamer. He went to the Titans last offseason, but struggled to find playing time while coming back from an injury. Compton would be a cheap option, who is very familiar with this defense and staff. He’s limited in his upside, but would be an okay addition at this point.
-Hodges announced his retirement earlier this offseason, but this past week news has come out that he’s open to coming back and talking with multiple teams. He was a 4th round pick in 2013 from Penn State, but it took him a little while to establish a role. His best year was in 2016 with the 49ers where he was an effective inside linebacker who could cover, blitz and play the run all at a decent level. He went to the Saints in 2017, but couldn’t crack the starting line-up. Hodges played a fair amount last season for the Cardinals, but wasn’t as effective as he was in 2016. Hodges might not push for a starting role with the Redskins, but if they need him to play a lot he’s shown that he can handle it. Hodges is also familiar to Jim Tomsula who was the 49ers HC when he joined the team in 2015.
-Vigil was with the Redskins the past couple of years and got a fair amount of playing time during the 2017 season. Ideally he’s best suited for special teams work, but in 2017 he was a fair injury replacement. His upside is lacking and if either Mason Foster or SDH struggled or was injured for most of the year, he’s likely a below average replacement. On the positive side, Vigil is familiar with the defense, can be an asset on special teams and will come cheaply.