Redskins

Redskins

The Redskins committed to making major organizational changes this offseason when they fired longtime team president Bruce Allen and brought in respected head coach Ron Rivera.

One of the first moves Rivera made since arriving in Washington was hiring Jack Del Rio as his defensive coordinator. The two have plenty in common: they're both former NFL linebackers with over two decades of coaching experience.

As the Redskins enter free agency with over $60 million in cap space, one position the team will be looking to upgrade is inside linebacker. Del Rio is switching Washington's defensive scheme from a 3-4 to a 4-3, the need for a strong middle linebacker to be the coach on the field of the defense is crucial. 

The Redskins have been in conversation with Jon Bostic about the linebacker returning to Washington, but a deal has yet to get done.

Here are five free agent linebackers the Burgundy and Gold could consider signing.

Danny Trevathan
Age: 
30
2019 team: Chicago Bears ($5.5 million salary)

Trevathan broke onto the scene when he was a valuable member of the 2015 Denver Broncos Super Bowl-winning defense and earned himself a nice pay-day in Chicago.

The middle linebacker has dealt with multiple injuries during his time in the Windy City; he's only played one 16-game season in the four years he's been in Chicago. But Trevathan has been effective when on the field and can both rush the passer and drop back in coverage.

 

Trevathan is still a solid NFL starter and due to his age, likely won't command a big contract. That combination could attract Washington and give the middle linebacker position much needed help.

Nick Vigil
Age: 
26
2019 team: Cincinnati Bengals ($2 million salary)

If the Redskins are looking for a solid coverage linebacker, Vigil just might be their guy. He's on the faster end of middle linebackers and at 6-foot-2, has the size to cover many NFL tight ends.

Although he's solid in coverage, Vigil struggles with tackling (19 missed tackles in 2019), which is something any Redskins fan probably doesn't want to hear. But Vigil still racked up 111 tackles a season ago, proving he's often in the right place and the right time.

The 2016 third-round pick, like Trevathan, should not command too large of a contract in free agency. And at age 26, he's worth inquiring about to maybe take a gamble on.

Nick Kwiatkowski
Age: 
26
2019 team: Chicago Bears ($2 million salary)

The Bears have not one, but two inside linebackers set to hit free agency in Trevathan and Kwiatkowski.

The 26-year-old is coming off his best pro season, appearing in all 16 games and starting eight of them. He finished with 68 tackles and three sacks in 2019, which are solid numbers considering he played under 50 percent of the Bears' defensive snaps a year ago.

Kwiatkowski has just 22 career starts, but signing with a team like the Redskins could give him the opportunity to have an expanded role compared to his current status in Chicago. At the least, his upside is something worth considering.

Blake Martinez
Age: 
26
2019 team: Green Bay Packers ($2 million salary)

Since entering the NFL, all Blake Martinez has done is become a tackling machine. Since becoming a full-time starter in 2017, Martinez has turned in seasons with 144 (twice) and 155 tackles.

The 26-year-old has also proven to be durable; he's started all 16 games for Green Bay for three consecutive seasons. Martinez has proven the ability to rush the passer, too, evident by his five-sack season in 2018. With the addition of pass rushers Preston Smith and Za'Darius Smith a season ago, Martinez wasn't required to rush the passer as much a year ago.

The linebacker missed 15 tackles a season ago, which is near the higher end among every-down linebackers. But his production should not be ignored; he's a solid three-down linebacker that would be welcomed by many teams.

Cory Littleton
Age: 26
2019 team: Los Angeles Rams ($3.1 million salary)

The former 2016 undrafted free agent is coming off his best season as a pro and due for a nice raise.

Littleton finished as Pro Football Focus' eighth-best inside linebacker in 2019 and remarkable missed just one (!!) tackle all season. Littleton can do a bit of everything from rushing the passer to dropping back in coverage -- he finished with 134 tackles, 3.5 sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles in 2019.

 

The do-it-all linebacker will have plenty of suitors in free agency and with the Rams current cap space, will likely not be returning to Los Angeles. 

Washington has craved a linebacker that can both rusher the passer and cover; the Redskins were exposed in coverage multiple times a year ago by dropping edge rushers into coverage. Littleton could be a hefty price tag, but one certainly worthwhile for the Burgundy and Gold.

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