The Washington Commanders have done extremely well in the second wave of free agency. By signing Andrew Norwell, re-signing Bobby McCain, JD McKissic, Cam Sims, Danny Johnson and Cornelius Lucas and adding Efe Obada to bolster the defensive line, we’re hard-pressed to have any complaints.
The only qualm fans could have and receive no pushback for, though? Not addressing the linebacker position. As of this writing, the Commanders’ rotation consists of Cole Holcomb, Jamin Davis, David Mayo and Khaleke Hudson, who’s played just 74 snaps in two seasons as a pro.
It’s enough to send a shiver down your spine.
As talented as Washington’s defensive line and secondary are, the defense’s ceiling will be limited if they don’t add a reliable inside presence. The good news? The linebacker market is moving extremely slow in free agency, so there’s plenty of options for the front office to choose from.
Assuming the Commanders are out of the running for Bobby Wagner, who recently took a visit with the defending-champion Rams, they should give serious consideration to signing one of these remaining free agents.
3 free agents who could help Commanders fill LB void
3. Dont’a Hightower
Anyone else surprised Dont’a Hightower, a two-time Pro Bowler and three-time Super Bowl champion, still hasn’t signed? We normally wouldn’t lobby for a team in need of linebacker help signing a soon-to-be 32-year-old, but Hightower opting out of the 2020 season seems to have rejuvenated his body.
After a year out of the league, Hightower looked a step slow to start last season. Once he got his legs back underneath him, though, he returned to the do-it-all linebacker that made him a staple of Bill Belichick’s defense for nine years.
Despite logging his lowest snap share (67 percent) since his rookie season, Hightower logged the fourth-most QB pressures among linebackers with 18. He’s not all that useful in coverage anymore, but Washington has the young legs of Cole Holcomb and Jamin Davis to fill that role.
Better still? Hightower is still one of the best LBs in the game when it comes to reading and sniffing out running plays. Like any descendant of Belichick, there will be questions about how Hightower will fare outside of the six-time champ’s scheme, but his rise to superstardom didn’t happen by accident.
As someone who has a knack for being in the right place at the right time, Hightower would be a godsend to Washington’s linebacking corps that was plagued by poor reads and positioning for most of last season.