With free agency churning forward, the Washington Redskins continue to make calls. They hosted several players to visits last week, and it appears one may be close to coming to D.C.
The Washington Redskins are thin in several areas on the defense. The line needs a bit of work, as does the secondary, but an undermentioned area of need is the position of edge rusher. Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith are written in sharpie marker as the starters, but behind them, the pecking order is unclear. Ryan Anderson barely saw the field in his rookie season, and Junior Galette negotiations have been stalled for some time now.
Per a report from Jordan Schultz, it appears that the Washington Redskins have bypassed negotiations with Galette, in favor of another edge rusher. They will soon sign former Chicago Bears edge rusher Pernell McPhee to a deal.
As the report states, this transaction is not complete. But once these things reach the public, they tend to be close to official. This move, should it be deemed official in the near future, not only sets in stone the departure of Junior Galette, but it also puts the team’s hopes of signing Johnathan Hankins in jeopardy. Funds were short on that front to begin with, and now, depending on what the terms of McPhee’s contract are, the Washington Redskins could be forced to go shopping in the bargain bin. But don’t worry. They’re used to it (Insert eye roll).
Still, McPhee is no slouch, although his best days may be behind him. Set to turn 30 in December of this year, McPhee has 31.0 career sacks over a seven-year span. His best year was in 2014, when he logged 7.5 sacks, and he’s coming off a 2017 campaign in which he logged 4.0 sacks in thirteen games, five of which he started. His season was ended prematurely by a shoulder injury.
McPhee’s presence will at least bring depth to the edge rushing core, but it’s fair to wonder how this move will effect the team’s offseason plans moving forward. The signing of McPhee will give the team flexibility in the middle rounds of the NFL Draft, but by signing Hankins, the team could have remedied a more pressing need. Now, defensive line is clearly in play in Round 1, and the Washington Redskins could miss out on talented players at other positions as a result.
Hankins’ asking price may have been too rich for Bruce Allen’s taste, however, and in the end, they settled for an average edge rusher on the latter side of his career arc. This move has low upside, and the cost, immeasurable now, may reveal itself to be great in the future.