Nobody would argue that linebacker is currently the Washington Commanders‘ biggest weakness on either side of the ball. The hope is the front office will eventually sign a veteran to anchor the rotation, but the team should expand its horizons.
After all, their cap situation was just replenished in a big way thanks to Landon Collins’ release and this roster is far from perfect. Beyond linebacker, the defensive line as a whole is short on depth following the exits of Matt Ioannidis, who was made a cap casualty, and Tim Settle, who signed with Buffalo in free agency.
In terms of starters, Jonathan Allen, Chase Young, Daron Payne and Montez Sweat are nightmare matchups for opposing offenses. However, the outlook of the line will change on a dime if one of them missed time due to injury so it would behoove the Commanders to add reinforcements in short order.
We wouldn’t say these are must-signings, but each of these veterans would go a long way towards improving the welfare of the DL.
3 free agents who could bolster Commanders’ defensive line
3. Star Lotulelei
We initially thought Lotulelei was headed to Washington after Buffalo released him following the signing of … Tim Settle. Luckily for us, Lotulelei is still braving free agency so our prediction, for lack of a better term, isn’t dead yet!
In all seriousness, Lotulelei would be a great pickup for the Commanders, whose DT rotation leaves a lot to be desired behind Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne. As presently constructed, Phidarian Mathis is the top backup with Efe Obada and James Smith-Williams expected to kick inside on passing downs.
That just isn’t ideal. With $18 million in cap space remaining after Landon Collins’ contract came off the books last week, why not spend some to shore up your depth in the trenches?
Still just 32 years old, Lotulelei was a key cog of the Bills defensive line from 2018-21 (he opted out in 2020 amid the pandemic). During that span, he racked up 53 tackles, eight tackles for loss, five sacks and 33 pressures.
Better still? Lotulelei was drafted in the first round by Ron Rivera’s Panthers back in 2013 and played five seasons under Washington’s head coach, starting 75 of 76 games while missing a grand total of just four contests.