Washington Redskins' 5 Worst Free-Agent Signings Under Dan Snyder

Marcel Davis@@Mar_CelDavis24Correspondent IJanuary 23, 2014

Redskins owner Daniel Snyder watch pre-game warmups prior to the start of their NFL playoff football game against the Seahawks, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2012, in Landover, Md. Griffin left the game with an injured right leg. Seattle defeated Washington 24-14. (AP Photo/Richard Lipski)
Richard Lipski/Associated Press

After being hamstrung by $36 million in salary-cap penalties over the past two seasons, the shackles have been lifted from Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder's notoriously loose purse strings.

According to Real Redskins' Rich Tandler, Washington will enter free agency with more than $28 million available in cap space. But if history is any indicator, it's not $28 million that will be spent wisely.

From his signings of future Hall of Famers Deion Sanders and Bruce Smith to his signing of Albert Haynesworth, Snyder has placed a higher premium on the cache a player's name carries than performance.

So before enamoring yourselves with who Washington can net in free agency, let this list of Washington's five worst signings under Snyder serve as a reminder to temper your expectations.

Deion Sanders, CB

TYLER MALLORY/Associated Press

Just to bring "Prime Time" to Washington, Snyder forked over a $55 million contract to Sanders in 2000.

Mind you that, at the time, Sanders was 32 years old and had just been released by the rival Dallas Cowboys.

No longer the game-breaking return man he once was—and still opposed to tackling—the four interceptions he tallied in 2000 were his lone contributions to the Redskins.

While it was always unlikely that Sanders would fulfill his contract, Washington surely expected to get more than one season out of him.

Sanders abruptly retired following the season, further making the seven-year contract he received look more erroneous.

Jeff George, QB

ROB SCHUMACHER/Associated Press

A flameout in multiple stops across the league, George was surprisingly brought aboard by Snyder in 2000.

Signed to be the backup of incumbent starter Brad Johnson, George was rewarded with a four-year, $18.25 million contract. In two seasons, George started seven games and won only one.

Tallying seven touchdowns and nine interceptions in his time in Washington, George found himself a permanent place on the unemployment line following an 0-2 start in 2001.

Adam Archuleta, S

GERALD HERBERT/Associated Press

In 2006, Snyder made Archuleta the NFL's highest-paid safety by bestowing him with a six-year, $30 million deal.

Never an asset in coverage in his time in St. Louis, Archuleta made his living by making plays near the line of scrimmage.

Archuleta's production peaked in 2002 and 2003 when he set career highs in tackles and sacks.

But by the time he was collecting checks from Snyder, Archuleta was a shell of himself. He only registered 60 tackles in 2006 and wasn't good enough in run support to hide his deficiencies in defending the pass.

It's no wonder that he only lasted one season with Washington and was out of the league altogether in 2008.

Making the Archuleta signing even worse was the emergence of one Ryan Clark with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Clark was with the Redskins the season prior to Archuleta's arrival and was deemed expendable because of his signing.

Fast-forward to now, and Clark remains a stalwart on Pittsburgh's defense while Washington is stuck with the likes of Reed Doughty and Brandon Meriweather manning the safety spots.

Just saying.

Antwaan Randle El, WR

John Amis/Associated Press

Seven years for $31 million? What did Randle El do to justify getting this contract in 2006?

To quote ESPN.com's Michael Smith, "The Redskins gave former Steeler Antwaan Randle El almost as many millions as he had catches for Pittsburgh his last year."

Randle El never topped 53 receptions in a single season and surpassed 600 receiving yards only once in his four years in Washington.

In essence—cuing Dennis Green—he was who we thought he was. A role player in Pittsburgh, Randle El was a failure because he was overvalued by Snyder and the Redskins. No shocker there.

Albert Haynesworth, DT

Paul Connors/Associated Press

Talk about saving the worst for last. From his lackadaisical play to his inability to stay, or get, in football shape, Haynesworth was a colossal bust in D.C.

But the thing is, Washington should have seen this coming. After five mediocre years with the Tennessee Titans, how convenient was it that Haynesworth improved his production as free agency neared?

In 2007 and 2008, Haynesworth had his first seasons with more than three sacks. Furthermore, aside from 2005, they were the only years in which he had more than 40 tackles.

Tagged with an inconsistent motor going back to his collegiate days at Tennessee, Haynesworth's drop in play following his Washington payday shouldn't have come as a shocker.

Considering Snyder's track record, neither should the fact that the Redskins guaranteed him a then-record $41 million.

In return for a seven-year, $100 million contract, Washington got 20 games, 53 tackles and 6.5 sacks from Haynesworth. Most notably, the Redskins didn't get effort or even wind sprints from him!

Minus draft picks because of the trade for Robert Griffin III, Snyder could be tempted to splurge on free agents in 2014.

When limited in what he could spend, Snyder turned in a mixed bag with the signings of players like Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan. Most importantly, he didn't saddle the team with cap-killing deals.

In the not-too-distant future, Griffin's contract will eat a substantial amount of cap space and again limit what Snyder can do on the open market.

The 2014 and 2015 offseasons could serve as his swan song as a big player in free agency. Considering Snyder's history, that may be in the Redskins' best interest.