Fletcher Signs with Redskins
London Fletcher will be a Washington Redskin next season. Fletcher was introduced at Redskin Park Saturday and has reportedly signed a 5-year, $25 million contract. Washington filled one of it's biggest off season needs , a middle linebacker, and they're getting a player familiar with the system. The deal re-unites the linebacker with Gregg Williams and Jerry Gray; Williams was his coach in 2002-2003, and Gray was his defensive co-coordinator from 2002-2005.
Fletcher has played nine NFL seasons in Buffalo and St. Louis. He's a tad undersized, but he is as reliable as they come, having played in every game since 2001 (103 straight games). The move allows the Redskins to move Lemar Marshall back to his natural weak side position and upgrades the linebacking unit considerably. Joe Gibbs said in his press conference that, "It gives us flexibility."
Last year the Redskins treated their free agent prospects to a Washington Wizards game, and both Fletcher and Fred Smoot were at last night's Wizards - Atlanta Hawks game.
Smoot was also at Redskin Park again Saturday, but there was no word of any deal being offered to him yet. He did take a physical, and providing his contract demands are commensurate with Fred's play the last two years, it's tough to NOT see the fiery corner returning. Mired in controversy since leaving Washington for Minnesota, the always talkative, always entertaining Smoot, would also fill a big off season need.
Smoot isn't really the number one guy that the Redskins are looking for, but he would definitely upgrade the secondary. Shawn Springs is looking more and more like being a cap casualty in June, and Washington could cover their bases a little bit by signing Smoot to a reasonable deal. If Washington could then find a number one cornerback above and beyond that, Smoot would likely give Carlos Rogers a serious run at the number two slot, and give Washington a deep secondary.
The first day of free agency also saw Derrick Dockery depart for greener pastures; he's off to Buffalo for a reported 7-year, $49 million deal that allegedly includes $18.5 million in guaranteed money. That's more than Steve Hutchison got last year, and just a hair less than fellow guard free agent Eric Steinbach got this year. Continuity and much love for Dockery aside, that's just way too much money. Best of luck to Derrick in Buffalo, but kudos to the Redskin front office for not succumbing to outlandish contract demands. Gibbs noted in his presser that the Redskins wanted to re-sign Derrick, but couldn't reach an agreement.
Leonard Davis has been mentioned as a possible replacement for Dockery, but apparently wants a huge contract. He was at Redskin Park on Saturday, but he also visited with the Dallas Cowboys on Friday, and is expected to speak with other teams as well.
Nate Clements won't be the solution at cornerback for Washington next year. The Redskins have holes in the secondary, but they won't be filled with Clements who signed a monster deal in San Francisco. The deal is reported to be in the 8-year, $80 million range, and once again, the Redskins chose not to overpay.
This article was released on 2007-03-03.
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