The Redskins have made one of the best types of free agent moves you can make. They signed a quality player away from a division rival.
Jason Hatcher was a one-man wrecking crew on the Cowboys’ defensive line last year. He had 11 sacks, 40 QB pressures, and he forced two fumbles.
To say that the Redskins’ line has been missing that disruptive element would be quite an understatement. The Redskins’ defensive line has combined for at total of nine sacks in the last two seasons.
It may be premature to start drawing up the X’s and O’s and figuring out where Hatcher might be used since there may be another addition to the front seven. The Redskins were involved in contract negotiations with end/outside linebacker Anthony Spencer, Hatcher’s Dallas teammate, and he could end up joining Hatcher in Ashburn.
But one thing that we know now is that the Redskins’ defense is planning on using more one-gap techniques up front. Without wandering into the weeds on technicalities, just know that this allows the line to be more aggressive at the snap. This plays to Hatcher’s strengths as well as those of Chris Baker.
The acquisition of Hatcher was a good one but there are some pitfalls. He broke out last year when the Cowboys switched to a 4-3 scheme and he moved from 3-4 end to tackle. Hatcher will be an end in the Redskins’ 3-4 so they need to make sure that he can remain effective there and they get the bang for their bucks. The one-gap technique will help there.
And then there is the fact that Hatcher will turn 32 before training camp starts. To be sure, he is “low mileage” for an eight-year veteran, never having played more than 500 snaps in a season until 2012. But Father Time is undefeated and at some point, Hatcher will begin to decline. The Redskins hope that doesn’t happen until they are through at least half of his four-year, $27.5 million contract.
We are awaiting details on that contract. If is a deal that they can get out of after two seasons without a crippling cap hit then it should be good for both the team and for the player.