The revamping of the linebacker corps continues. Thursday, the Redskins signed former Giant middle linebacker Michael Barrow to a 6-year deal. The contract reportedly will pay Barrow approximately $3 million per season over the first 3 years and virtually guarantees the departure of Jeremiah Trotter.
Trotter never seemed to be in the new regime's defensive plans, despite the cap ramifications of cutting him. The Redskins granted him permission to 'seek a trade' last month. It is unlikely they expected any suitors, but rather were politely informing him of their intent. With almost $6 million in pro rated signing bonus left to hit the cap, Washington will likely wait until after June 1st to cut him to lessen the cap hit in 2004.
Barrow joins fellow free agent signee Marcus Washington and Lavar Arrington in the new Gregg Williams defensive scheme. With 177 tackles last year, Barrow is obviously still a very effective player against the run. Together, the three bring a great mix of size and speed and are sure to help pressure the quarterback. While there is still a definite need for defensive line help, this Redskin defense is definitely better for Thursday's signing.
The Redskins have actually assembled a very solid, deep corps of linebackers... so many in fact, that cuts are inevitible. With Barrow, Arrington, Washington, Trotter, Kevin Mitchell, Antonio Pierce, Lemar Marshall, Khary Campbell, Devin Lemons, Clifton Smith, Chris Clemons and Clifton Smith... something has to give. There is some good young talent that will have to be let go.
Barrow will be entering his 12th NFL season, so some may question his durability. Amazingly, he has missed just 5 games since being drafted by the Houston Oilers in 1993. A Miami Hurricane product, he led the Giants in tackles each of the last 3 seasons and he has amassed 1125 career tackles (1100 in the last 10 seasons). Always a solid contributor, he can usually be counted on for some good comments to the press as well.
The Giants were said to be interested in re-signing him, but apparently not as interested as the Redskins were.