Two years ago, the Redskins were hit with a rash of injuries and they had to sign some players off of the street and give them important snaps almost immediately. Two such players were linebacker Mason Foster and defensive back Will Blackmon. They were supposed to be short-term fixes but they both signed new contracts and played key roles in 2016. Foster started 13 games at inside linebacker and Blackmon played in 15 games at safety.
The Redskins have had to go to the waiver wires, the streets, and other teams’ practice squads to find help this year. Who might they want to keep around in next year? Here are a few possible 2018 contributors:
G Arie Kouandjio—Did the Redskins make a mistake releasing their 2015 fourth-round pick in the cut to 53 in September? At the time, the move was not controversial as Kouandjio struggled in a few injury fill-in appearances in 2016 and didn’t do much to impress in training camp or the preseason. When he returned, he was thrust right into the lineup, playing 22 snaps against the Cowboys the day after he was signed away from the Ravens’ practice squad. Kouandjio has played well at left guard and the team should consider bringing him back as a restricted free agent.
MORE REDSKINS: PLENTY OF INCENTIVE TO WIN
C Tony Bergstrom—The journeyman was signed on October 25 and he moved into the starting lineup on Thanksgiving after Spencer Long went to injured reserve and Chase Roullier suffered a broken hand. He struggled against the Giants but he was steady against the Cowboys. Bergstrom, who will be an unrestricted free agent, can also play guard and he could be a valuable backup.
RB Byron Marshall—There really isn’t much of a question about keeping him here as he will be an exclusive-rights free agent as will rookie RB LeShun Daniels, assuming they are on the roster for the last game of the season. Marshall has an opportunity to carve out a role as someone who can fill in as the third-down back as well as take some carries when the starting running back needs a rest.
LB Zach Vigil—The Redskins were fortunate that Vigil was available when the inside linebacker spot was decimated with injuries. He had spent all of offseason with the team before getting released in September so he was a ready replacement who knew the defense. Vigil will be a restricted free agent and the Redskins have only two inside linebackers under contract in 2018.
K Nick Rose—Nobody has really noticed him since he was signed to replace the injured Dustin Hopkins and that’s usually a good thing for a kicker. After coming in with no NFL regular-season kicks on his record, he has made 91 percent of his field goals and 94 percent of extra points. Rose is capable of booming kickoffs through the end zone and he is third in the league in net kickoff yards. The test he has yet to take is the late field goal attempt for the win. Hopkins is an unrestricted free agent and it will be interesting to see if the Redskins bring him back or stick with the younger and, presumably, cheaper option in Rose.