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Washington Redskins Free Agency: The 7 Worst Signings of the Dan Snyder Era

Matthew McFarlandContributor IMarch 9, 2012

Washington Redskins Free Agency: The 7 Worst Signings of the Dan Snyder Era

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    With free agency looming for the 2012 season and some big free agents (Peyton Manning) on the market, it seems only reasonable that as a Redskins fan I sit back and recount my beloved team's 12 years worth of free agent faux pas.

    Over the last decade the NFL has become a “win now” league, and Redskins owner Dan Snyder thinks he can do that by buying a bunch of big name free agents.

    Director and then Vice President of Player Personnel Vinny Cerrato (under Dan Snyder’s watch) made a habit of signing big name free agents at the back-end of their careers to multi-million dollar contracts that they’ve often failed to live up to. That obviously hasn’t worked.

    What is it about wearing the burgundy and gold that makes football players not want to produce? They’d have the shortest trip to make to visit the President would they ever win another Super Bowl, but it seems like no one in a Redskins jersey wants to make that trip.

    The Redskins have only had two winning seasons in the Dan Snyder era (2000-present). That is 12 years of mediocrity that has only gotten worse in recent years. Now, they really do need to “win now,” and they need to find a better way to do it.

    The following are the seven fortunate souls who in part have benefited from the Washington Redskins most recent string of free agent mistakes.

Deion Sanders

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    The Dallas Cowboys released Deion Sanders after the 1999 season to make some cap room. When they did, Dan Snyder threw big money at “Primetime” thinking (hoping, maybe praying) he was still the same Pro Bowl caliber player he was in Atlanta and Dallas. He wasn’t.

    Sanders inked a seven-year, $56 million deal with the Redskins in 2000 as part of a mass import of high-priced free agents. He played one season in D.C., amassing four interceptions and 38 tackles before retiring the following season.

    Had Sanders stayed in football, finished his contract with the Redskins and continued to perform at a Pro Bowl level, he may have been worth the money they ended up paying him.

    Instead, Sanders was still counting Snyder’s money while doing guest spots on "Monday Night Football" two years later.

    All statistics are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com

Adam Archuleta

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    After the 2005 season, Adam Archuleta was highly touted as a hard-hitting safety with potential through the roof. He signed a deal six-year, $30 million contract with the Washington Redskins, making him the then-highest paid safety in NFL history.

    Archuleta played one disappointing season in Washington with one sack, 49 tackles and no interceptions. He averaged three sacks and 70 tackles a year in St. Louis, but he failed to produce as a Redskin.

    Archuleta was supposed to be the next John Lynch, but that didn’t happen. Two years after signing with the Redskins he was out of football altogether. 

    All statistics are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com

Jeremiah Trotter

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    In 2002, the Redskins picked up Jeremiah Trotter as a free agent from the Philadelphia Eagles. He signed a seven-year contract for $36 million.

    Trotter played two seasons as a Redskin where he recorded only 1.5 sacks and 150 tackles. His numbers in Washington dramatically declined from his production in Philly, though his number of tackles did nearly double from one season to the next.

    The Redskins wanted the version of Trotter that played for the Eagles, so they never gave him the time to return to that level. Trotter was released at the end of the 2003 season and returned to Philadelphia where his numbers “coincidentally” increased.

    All statistics are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com

Jeff George

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    In 2000, Jeff George signed a four-year, $18.25 million deal with the Redskins to serve as a backup to quarterback Brad Johnson.

    Johnson went down halfway through the season, and George assumed the starting job. He finished the year and lasted two games into the 2001 season before being released.

    In two seasons in D.C., George played eight games and started seven. In those seven games, George led the Redskins to a 1-6 record.

    George completed 57 percent of his passes which is on-par with his career average, but he completed more passes to his opponents than he did touchdowns to his own receivers (7 TD, 9 INT).

    All statistics are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com

Bruce Smith

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    As another member of Dan Snyder’s 2000 season free agent spending spree, Bruce Smith signed a five-year deal worth $23 million.

    His overall stats were steadily declining from his time in Buffalo. He was an aging veteran who was relegated to playing mostly in passing situations.

    After 19 years in the league, retirement was imminent for Smith. He played only three years in Washington, recording 29 sacks and 137 tackles.

    The Redskins released Smith before the 2004 season with two years left on his deal. 

    All statistics are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com

Albert Haynesworth

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    In 2009, the Redskins signed Albert Haynesworth to a seven-year $100 million deal. He lasted only two-and-a-half years in D.C.

    During his stint in Washington, Haynesworth missed practices, questioned the schemes in which he played and pretty much refused to play football. In 2010, Haynesworth was suspended by head coach Mike Shanahan for “conduct detrimental to the team.”

    When Haynesworth was on the field he wasn’t the same dominant player he was in Tennessee. In 20 games as a Redskin, Haynesworth only managed 6.5 sacks and 43 tackles.

    All statistics are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com

Brandon Lloyd

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    In 2006, the Redskins signed Brandon Lloyd to a six-year deal worth $31 million ($10 million guaranteed).

    He was an athletic receiver looking to break out after three solid years in San Francisco. In Washington, Lloyd started 13 games of the 23 he was in uniform and only caught 25 passes for a mere 379 yards and zero touchdowns in just one-and-a-half seasons.

    In San Francisco, Lloyd caught four times as many passes than he did in Washington in two full seasons as a starter. Not to mention, he knew where the end zone was.

    The Skins released Lloyd midway through the 2007 season. The next year he was in Chicago with a substantial amount of Dan Snyder’s money still in his bank account.   

    All statistics are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com

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