The Redskins have brought in a familiar face to replace Jonathan Allen. A.J. Francis is reportedly going to join the team in place of the Alabama rookie.
The Washington Redskins got some devastating news on Wednesday afternoon when it was confirmed that Jonathan Allen would likely miss the season with a Lisfranc injury. Allen needed a screw to be inserted into his foot, and his recovery was likely to take three months. The Redskins elected to place him on Injured Reserve on Thursday, and he seems unlikely to return, though the team can designate him to return if he makes a quicker recovery.
So with Allen out, the Redskins have an open roster spot that they needed to fill. It seemed likely that the team would add another defensive lineman to give them six men at the position. Given Jim Tomsula’s knack for rotating players, having a surplus at the position is necessary.
According to sources, the Redskins did, in fact, add a player to the 53-man roster. It was A.J. Francis. The nose tackle spent the offseason with the Redskins and he was a member of their practice squad the previous year. Now, it appears that he will be returning to Washington as a member of their active roster. This was confirmed by Aaron Oster, of ESPN980, on Twitter.
Francis had been signed to the practice squad earlier in the day after the Redskins had released quarterback Joel Stave from the unit. Another practice squad move included signing 6-foot-9 tackle Andreas Knappe. It’s likely that the team signed Francis to guarantee no other team would swoop in and sign him before they could get him onto the active roster.
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Francis isn’t going to offer anything close to what Allen offered in his skill set. To expect him to do that would be entirely unfair. What Francis does offer is a 6-foot-5, 310 pound frame that could allow him to play a bit of nose tackle for the team. He could turn out to be a decent run stuffer, but the Redskins won’t find out right away.
In all likelihood, Francis is going to spend time on the inactives list to restart his Redskins career. The Redskins have only been dressing five defensive linemen on game days, and that trend will probably continue. Anthony Lanier is ahead of Francis in the pecking order because of his pass rushing potential. It’s likely that Francis would fill in if the team felt the need to play him at nose tackle and move Ziggy Hood outside to improve the end position.
Overall, this is a smart move by the Redskins. Francis knows the team and should provide quality depth for them. He may not be ready to play a big role for the team, but he was probably the best option for the team as they looked to find a qualified replacement for Allen. The Alabama product will be missed, but Francis is probably the best player they could have signed to replace him.