Washington Redskins Free Agency: Grading Top 3 Alternatives to London Fletcher
The longer London Fletcher remains unsigned, the more nervous Redskins fans are likely to get. Recent suggestions are that Fletcher's new deal is being endangered league's $36 million salary cap penalty. So it maybe time to consider alternatives to the three-time Pro Bowler.
The following three players represent the top alternatives to Fletcher left on the free-agent market. Their selections are based on scheme and physical suitability, as well as likely cost:
Jonathan Goff, MLB, New York Giants
Goff remains unsigned by the Giants and has attracted interest from the Cleveland Browns. Yet he could appeal to the Redskins on a number of levels. At 6'2" and 241 pounds, he has good size to man the middle of a 3-4 front.
Goff is a very effective run defender and his expertise in this area would help strengthen the Redskins defense against inside runners, an area where the unit struggled at times last season.
At 26, Goff is a younger alternative to Fletcher, but is still experienced enough to help bring along the inexperienced Perry Riley. Goff started every game for the Giants in 2010, before injury struck.
He missed the entire 2011 campaign thanks to an ACL injury and the Redskins would have to be sure about his return to full health. Another factor counting against Goff is that he has played in a 4-3 front for his whole career and would require time to adjust to Washington's schemes.
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James Farrior, ILB, Pittsburgh Steelers
There is a lot to recommend Farrior to the Redskins. Having played for the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Jets, Farrior has spent the vast majority of his 15 seasons in a 3-4 system.
He is an extremely intelligent linebacker, possessing excellent instincts and versatility. Farrior is a good blitzer and is also an asset in underneath coverage.
Although his age is the obvious downside, the 37-year-old Virginia native may welcome the chance to end his career closer to home. On a short-term deal Farrior would be an excellent mentor to Riley and could also groom a draftee like Nevada's James-Michael Johnson, as his eventual replacement.
Gary Guyton, ILB, New England Patriots
Like Farrior, Guyton would require no adjustment period, having played in a 3-4 most of his career. The 6'3" 245 pounder has excellent size for the position and would give the defense more of a physical presence at the second level.
Guyton is also an above average pass defender with a good understanding of zone concepts. At 26, Guyton is a young player who could develop well in the Redskins defense.
As he lacks the name value of somebody like David Hawthorne, Guyton's cost would likely be minimal. He is the kind of solid youngster with plenty to prove, the team has targeted during the last two offseasons.
The ideal scenario for the Redskins is obviously to re-sign Fletcher. However, if an agreement can't be reached, these three players represent good value alternatives.
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