Even with a bye-week, the Washington Redskins are making headlines with the signing of DeAngelo Hall on Friday, after he cleared waivers. Hall, who was just released by the Oakland Raiders on Nov. 5th, is due to make a reported $1 million prorated over the rest of the season, making the contract worth about $492,000 (about $7.5 million less than what the Oakland Raiders paid for him—ouch!).
At first, I had mixed emotions about the signing. I’ve heard all the stories of Hall having character issues and being a cancer in the locker room. I’ve seen the incidents with coaches on the sidelines and the fights with other players on the field. Just last week, Keith Brooking claimed, while being interviewed by 680 AM The Fan in Atlanta, that Hall waited in the tunnel during halftime of the Oakland game last week to pick a fight with a Falcons player. So there is definitely risk here.
With all of that being said, I still think this is a great signing.
I know all of the ‘Skins fans are saying, “Here we go again.” As a die-hard fan myself, I know we’ve seen this before. Good old Danny boy shells out a bunch of money to sign a big name, former pro-bowl player to save the day, that ends up being a huge bust (i.e.: Bruce Smith and Deion Sanders).
There are several reasons why this deal is so different than those past mistakes. The first is obvious. We paid peanuts to bring in a guy who was an eighth overall pick in the draft just five years ago, and has 20 interceptions in 65 career games with Atlanta and Oakland.
That’s one less then Fred Smoot in 42 less games, and 11 less then Shawn Springs in 87 less games, two of the Redskins starting cornerbacks at the moment. If you want to talk about what have you done for me lately, he has three interceptions this year in eight games, one more then every cornerback on the Redskins combined.
Secondly, as stated above, Hall was just drafted five years ago. He’s only 24 (he’ll be 25 in 10 days). There’s a good chance, if he proves himself on the field and in the locker room, he will not only help the Redskins now, but in the future as well.
Washington has apparently promised Hall they won’t put the franchise tag on him next year, but he has been quoted as saying "a long term deal is possible". Shawn Springs is not getting any younger either, not to mention he’s in the last year of his deal, and probably won’t be around next year.
Not convinced? Ok, here is a couple more. I know everyone keeps bringing up his character issues, and rightfully so, but I seriously doubt a guy that just got released by a an Oakland organization that’s in disarray, and a Raider team that is 2-6, to come home (Hall’s from Chesapeake, VA) to an organization he has said he always wanted to play for, and in the thick of the NFC playoff hunt, is going to cause any problems.
With guys like London Fletcher, Marcus Washington, and James Thrash in that locker room, if Hall can’t learn to play nice for the remainder of this season, he may find himself in the Arena League next year.
Calling all special teams, if you aren’t going to put Devin Thomas back there to return punts, who, by the way, returned punts at Michigan State, Hall should get the duties, as he did at Virginia Tech.
I think it’s time to let Antwaan Randle El focus on catching balls from his QB and not from the opposing punter. He hasn’t exactly lit it up back there this year. I think Santana Moss has more return yards on one punt return this year than Randle-El does all year.
Had enough yet? Good, because I could go on and on for awhile about why this is a low-risk, high reward, acquisition for the Redskins.
Besides, if he comes in here, stinks up the joint, and really does have huge character issues, we release him and don’t lose anything because of it. We aren’t paying him much (well, to you and I it’s a lot, but with the money being thrown around in the NFL these days, it’s pocket change) and we were a 6-3 team before him. The way I see it, he needs us more then we need him.
In a worst case scenario, the only way I see this blowing up in our faces is, if he has a great last seven games, we sign him to a huge, multi-year contract in the off-season, and he ends up being like, well, DeAngelo Hall.
Then I’ll be convinced nothing has changed in Washington.
Well, at least with the Redskins.