Setting Realistic Expectations for Each Washington Redskins Free-Agent Signing

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Setting Realistic Expectations for Each Washington Redskins Free-Agent Signing
Marco Garcia/Associated Press
In a shocking move, Jason Hatcher stands as Washington's top free agent acquisition this offseason.

Despite being attached to high-profile free agents in the lead up to free agency, the Washington Redskins found themselves poaching lesser-known free agents once the bidding began.

But despite their lack of notoriety, due to the litany of holes on the roster, newcomers like Jason Hatcher and Andre Roberts still may face sizable expectations.

With that said, let's set some realistic expectations for each of Washington's free-agent signings.

All signings are via Redskins.com.

 

Clifton Geathers, DT

Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

Formerly of the Philadelphia Eagles, Clifton Geathers played in a career-high 16 games in 2013. A four-year NFL veteran, Geathers had never played more than eight games in a season for his previous five NFL employers.

An owner of just one sack and 18 tackles in his career, don't expect to see Geathers' name penciled in the starting lineup for Washington anytime soon.

Mainly used as a run defender with the Eagles, according to Phil Sheridan of ESPN.com, Geathers won't be anything more than a situational player in Washington.

2014 Prediction: Zero sacks, 10 total tackles.

 

Jason Hatcher, DL

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Poached from the rival Dallas Cowboys, Jason Hatcher has been Washington's biggest acquisition thus far in free agency.

Netting a four-year deal worth $27.5 million, according to John Keim of ESPN.com, Hatcher's deal isn't too far off from what Stephen Bowen got in 2011.

Bowen received a five-year, $27.5 million contract.

With Bowen coming off a season-ending knee injury, and due to count $7.02 million against the salary cap in 2014, according to OverTheCap.com, Hatcher may very well be Bowen's replacement.

Coming off a 2013 season in which he registered a career-high 11 sacks, Hatcher could bolster a Redskins defensive line that mustered only 5.5 sacks last season.

At the same token, Hatcher's sack total last season was amassed in a 4-3 defense. Set to play in a 3-4 scheme in Washington, Hatcher's numbers could mirror the stats he posted in 2011 and 2012.

Under the direction of Rob Ryan, Hatcher tallied a combined 8.5 sacks in those two seasons.

Factor in Hatcher's age, he'll be 32 in July—and the fact that he's being paid Justin Smith-type money—and Washington could be in for a disappointing season from Hatcher.

2014 Prediction: Four sacks, 35 total tackles.

 

Adam Hayward, LB

Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Despite playing the same position that Darryl Tapp vacated by signing with the Detroit Lions, via NFL.com, the player that Adam Hayward could be replacing in Washington is one Bryan Kehl.

A seven-year NFL veteran with 13 career starts, all with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Hayward was the Bucs' version of Kehl. A standout on special teams, Hayward is being brought in to Washington to right the NFL's worst unit in punt coverage.

Considering that Kehl is still without a contract, and still recovering from a torn ACL that ended his season, Hayward could be the new lead man for the Redskins special teams.

 

Shawn Lauvao, G

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

In need of some better pass protectors up front, Shawn Lauvao's signing was the domino that led to Washington shaking up its offensive line.

The first casualty of the unit that left Robert Griffin III punch drunk, by allowing 43 sacks, was center Will Montgomery.

With the release of Montgomery, according to John Keim of ESPN.com, the Redskins will save $1.93 million in cap space. Additionally, his ouster will open up the door for Kory Lichtensteiger to transition from guard to center.

A four-year veteran from the Cleveland Browns, Lauvao received a four-year contract worth $17 million, according to Mark Bullock of the Washington Post.

Dubbed by Bullock as an upgrade over Lichtensteiger and Chris Chester in terms of pass protection, Lauvao could struggle in his transition to Washington's zone-blocking running scheme.

Led by the running game the past two seasons, the Redskins' signing of Lauvao could signal that new head coach Jay Gruden has designs on further emphasizing the passing game, even at the running game's detriment.

 

Tracy Porter, CB

Al Bello/Getty Images

Aqib Talib and Alterraun Verner, Tracy Porter certainly is not. Heck, Corey Graham is even a stretch.

After striking out, or simply not pursuing, on the more visible cornerback free agents available, Washington settled on Porter to team up with David Amerson and DeAngelo Hall in its maligned secondary.

Brought in to possibly replace free-agent cornerback Josh Wilson, it's hard to see where Porter is a significant upgrade.

While Porter did have more interceptions, by one, and passes defended in 2013 than Wilson, he has been the lesser player over the course of the past four seasons.

Aside from trumping Porter in the aforementioned categories in that time span, Wilson has also proved to be a better run defender.

Wilson had 93 tackles last season, while Porter had a combined 88 tackles the past two seasons. Part of the cause for this discrepancy is Porter's lack of durability. The 16 games Porter played in 2013 was a first for the six-year veteran.

So, save the 'Skins netting an impact corner in the draft or in free agency, Washington could again rank as one of the NFL's worst pass defenses in 2014.

2014 Prediction: One interception, 40 total tackles.

 

Andre Roberts, WR

Ralph Freso/Getty Images

Signed to a four-year, $16 million deal, according to USA Today (via Associated Press), the 'Skins' signing of Roberts is eerily similar to the acquisition of Josh Morgan in 2012.

While Roberts isn't entering Washington as damaged goods like Morgan was, his track record, and the team's needs, makes this signing somewhat of a head-scratcher.

Despite being afforded favorable coverages, courtesy of playing with Larry Fitzgerald, Roberts' career high for receptions is 64 and his high for receiving is 759 yards. Neither of those were set last season.

Capable of returning kicks, Roberts doesn't bring another trait that Washington doesn't already have.

With a receiving depth chart already littered with them, the 'Skins don't have a urgent need for yet another quick and undersized receiver like Roberts.

What Washington needs, especially with Leonard Hankerson recovering from a torn ACL, is a bigger possession receiver capable of catching contested throws.

As the No. 3 option, at best, behind Jordan Reed and Pierre Garcon, don't expect Roberts' numbers to deviate from his career numbers.

2014 Prediction: 50 catches, 550 yards.

 

Darryl Sharpton, LB

Signed to a one-year deal worth up to $2 million, according to Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun, Washington is swinging for the fences with the acquisition of Darryl Sharpton.

Marred by injury the first three seasons of his career, Sharpton played in a career-high 15 games in 2013. In just eight starts, Sharpton tallied 87 total tackles.

Filling the spot vacated by the retired London Fletcher, Sharpton could be a viable running mate for Perry Riley if he can again evade injury.

Not particularly adept at coverage, Sharpton at the very least could aid a Washington defense that was 17th against the run in 2013.

2014 Prediction: 13 games, 90 total tackles.

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