Pass-Rusher Darryl Tapp Is a Smart Insurance Signing for the Washington Redskins

James DudkoFeatured ColumnistMarch 28, 2013

Nov 27, 2011; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Darryl Tapp (55) during the third quarter against the New England Patriots at Lincoln Financial Field. The Patriots defeated the Eagles 38-20. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Redskins have signed free-agent pass-rusher Darryl Tapp, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. The former Philadelphia Eagle is a smart insurance signing for the Redskins defense.

Although they will welcome back primary pass-rusher Brian Orakpo, the Redskins are thin at outside linebacker. Orakpo missed 14 games last season due to a torn pectoral muscle under his left shoulder, per ESPN.com.

He has missed 15 games in the last three seasons, with various shoulder-related ailments, per ESPN.com. The Redskins are smart to guard against Orakpo struggling to get back to his best or suffering an injury relapse.

Signing Tapp gives defensive coordinator Jim Haslett a credible pass-rushing option in reserve. That's something Washington's 3-4 front didn't have when Orakpo went down in Week 2 of the 2012 season.

As a result, Haslett's unit struggled to create consistent pressure. It managed only 32 sacks in Orakpo's absence.

Fellow outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan sometimes struggled with the burden of having to provide the lion's share of the pass rush.

Tapp is a solid edge-rusher with decent pressure skills. He has 24 career sacks and the ability to rush the outside either as a defensive end or standup linebacker.

At 6'1" and 270 pounds, he is a little big for the edges of a 3-4 front, but could prove very useful as a nickel pass-rusher.

Aside from supplementing Orakpo and Kerrigan's efforts, the Redskins need depth for the new season. Lorenzo Alexander departed for the Arizona Cardinals, taking away one option on the outside.

Orakpo's usual deputy, Rob Jackson, who performed admirably last season, could incur a four-game suspension for drug violations, according to Rich Campbell of The Washington Times.

Tapp gives the Redskins insurance at an important position on their 3-4 defense. Schefter reports that he will receive a one-year contract.

That's in keeping with how Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen have conducted business in this year's free-agent market. The team is still reeling from last season's cap penalty and low-risk, short-term deals like Tapp's are the only option.

The Redskins also still retain interest in fixing their pass coverage. They are targeting cornerback Antoine Winfield, according to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport.

Hopefully, wisely signing Tapp to provide cover and increase their pass-rushing options won't be the last move the Redskins make in free agency.