And on the third day, came some defense.
While none of the names that were inked on Thursday were at the top of too many people’s wish lists, all three signings were players that can help on the defensive side of the ball.
Seven year veteran cornerback Terry Porter started all 16 games for the Raiders last year. He had 67 tackles, two interceptions and a touchdown. He will likely fill the ‘void’ left by Josh Wilson’s departure via free agency, rather than challenge DeAngelo Hall or second year man David Amerson for their jobs.
Porter’s signing came after Washington had missed out on Baltimore’s Corey Graham and Carolina’s Captain Munnerlyn, but they may not be done at the position yet – cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Walter Thurmond are still slated for visits today and tomorrow.
The Redskins also added inside linebacker Darryl Sharpton, who will likely play along side of recently re-signed Perry Riley Jr. Ironically, Sharpton was drafted the pick before Riley in the 2010 NFL Draft (Houston). He played all five seasons for the Texans, and was a starter for the back half of the 2013 season, registering 87 tackles.
Washington also added some potential depth to a defensive line that took a step backwards in 2013 – and they certainly added some size. Clifton Geathers is 6’8″ and 340 pounds – he is also the nephew of former Redskin Jumpy Geathers (90-92). He comes over from the Eagles, where he appeared in all 16 games last year, starting one. The big man has jumped around the NFL since being drafted in the 6th round by the Dolphins in 2010, having spent time with the Seahawks, Cowboys, and Colts, as well as the Eagles and Dolphins.
While none of the additions will ignite Redskins Nation, the conservative approach is arguably the smartest with so many holes to fill. While $20 Million looks like a lot of jack at the opening of free agency, it gets harder and harder to justify big contracts when multiple positions need to be addressed with more than just projects and hopes.
It would seem prudent to add at least one safety in the immediate future. By all accounts, including his own, Ryan Clark’s visit went well. But they “let him get away” and that always leaves things to chance. He would certainly make a terrific addition, despite being 35. He can also take on a very significant leadership role for a unit that lost its General when London Fletcher retired.
After that, the Redskins can, and will likely have to, fall back. There wouldn’t be much money left in the coffers, and while they haven’t even started re-working contracts, they likely want to keep that to a dull roar anyway with the monster bills on the horizon at the end of the 2014 season.
That still leaves a glaring need for a starter at safety, and a very significant want for a right tackle. Can they be grabbed in the draft when Washington doesn’t have a first round pick? The reality is that the Redskins’ second pick isn’t far off a first round pick anyway, and so on throughout the rounds, so they may very well be able to address those two slots if they do so early.
There’s a lot of time left between now and actual football – it’s just that the pickings are getting slimmer.
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