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Need to Know: The Redskins’ all-time top five free agent signings

Mar 1, 2014, 5:13 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, March 1, 10 days before the start of NFL free agency.

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Here are the Redskins’ five best free agent acquisitions since free agency began in 1993 as determined by their Approximate Value.

1. LB London Fletcher (2007-2013), AV of 73—This will come as no surprise, he’s among the best players of the last decade regardless of how acquired.

2. DT Cornelius Griffin (2004-2009), 47—Largely forgotten, Griffin was a rock at tackle on some pretty good Gregg Williams and Greg Blache defenses.

3. LB Ken Harvey (1994-1998), 46—One of the Redskins’ first free agent signees and still one of the best.

4. LB Marcus Washington (2004-2008), 42—I didn’t go into this thinking that it would be a repeat of yesterday’s list of the top linebackers. But if history repeats the Redskins should know where to go to fill their holes at the position!

5. C Casey Rabach (2005-2010), 41—He was a solid player who helped clear the way for Clinton Portis for most of his time in Washington.

Next five: CB DeAngelo Hall, WR Henry Ellard, DE Andre Carter, DE Phillip Daniels, RB Terry Allen

Note: DT Dave Butz (AV 104) and LB Wilber Marshall (AV 60) were both technically free agent acquisitions, although the Redskins had to give up heavy compensation for each of them. Since they came to the Redskins prior to the free agent era they are not on this list but they deserve a nod.

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—It’s been 62 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 190 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL Free agency starts 10; Offseason workouts start 37; NFL Draft 68

In case you missed it

  1. O - Mar 1, 2014 at 6:26 AM

    Great work Rich

  2. darrynhyman - Mar 1, 2014 at 7:03 AM

    Nice list Rich…Griffin is forgotten. His first 2-3 years were very good…injuries started to have his play decline in those last couple, but he was indeed a great signing. People do forget, but he was all-pro caliber in 2004…I believe he was our MVP on defense…he was definitely a rock in the middle

  3. internetcareer - Mar 1, 2014 at 8:09 AM

    The next BIG signing needs to be Sidney Rice. Huge receiver at 6’4 and capable of 15 yards per catch…and only about 27 years old. no need to waste pick 34 on a receiver when Rice is the answer. Period. Go gettem’ Done Deal PERFECT! Thank you Sea Hawks.

    • Rich Tandler - Mar 1, 2014 at 8:14 AM

      The same Rice who has played more than nine games in a season just once in the pas four years? The guy who has one 1000-yard season in his career and that was in 2009 with Bret Favre slinging the ball all over the Metrodome? I’ll consider almost any free agent at the right price but Rice wold have to be very, very cheap.

      • internetcareer - Mar 1, 2014 at 9:17 AM

        all I can say is ANYBODY can sign a guy who has produced and stayed healthy…but of course you;ll pay for that. It takes vision and gut feel to sign somebody who is about to break out. With the right QB Rice is going to produce for some team. We’ll have this discussion again at the end of the year.

      • Troy - Mar 1, 2014 at 10:13 AM

        You took the words right out of my mouth Rich. Even if they do kick the tires on Rice, he shouldn’t stop them from following their FA and draft plans at WR.

  4. Tom - Mar 1, 2014 at 8:33 AM

    ALL TIME FREE AGENTS? No mention of Joe Jacoby–please

    • Rich Tandler - Mar 1, 2014 at 8:36 AM

      Please read the header intro. The list is of veteran free agents who came to the Redskins in the free agency era, which started in 1993. It’s not a list of the best undrafted players ever signed. Jacoby certainly would be on that list.

      • Tom - Mar 1, 2014 at 10:40 PM


        If that was your list you should not have put “All Time” in the headline. Should have said best in “free angency era” All time Marshall, Grim and Jocoby must be on the list. If you don’t mean all time don’t put that in the biggest type. That is all.

        • Rich Tandler - Mar 2, 2014 at 4:55 AM

          Space in the headline is limited. Besides Grimm was drafted and Jacoby was a undrafted college free agent, clearly different from the veteran free agents being discussed here.

      • my2pesosworth - Mar 2, 2014 at 1:08 AM

        Not sure why there is a disclaimer limitng the list to free agents signed after 1993. John Riggins was signed as a free agent in 1976 and if not the number one slot, is undoubtedly in the top 2-3 of free agents ever signed by the Skins.

        • Rich Tandler - Mar 2, 2014 at 4:53 AM

          This was the list I chose to do this particular time.

  5. rattler93 - Mar 1, 2014 at 9:21 AM

    Don’t forget about Wilber Marshall. In 1988 he was one of the first true free agents the Redskins ever signed before the modern free agency era of the the 90’s.

    • Rich Tandler - Mar 1, 2014 at 9:32 AM

      Marshall and Dave Butz are noted under the list since they came pre-1993. They were technically free agents but effectively traded for due to the compensation.

      • rattler93 - Mar 1, 2014 at 9:59 AM

        Dave Butz was really a trade because he only played 2 unheralded years in St Louis and 14 with the Redskins. I’m pointing out Marshall because he was an All-Pro and won a Super Bowl in Chicago. When he left the Bears it was a really big deal. He was in the prime of his career just like most FA’s of today. Yes the Redskins did have to give up two 1st round picks but it set the tone for Free Agency in next CBA which led to the “modern era” of free agency.

  6. 1bigtex - Mar 1, 2014 at 9:30 AM

    Sidney Rice has “Javon Walker” written all over him.

  7. kenlinkins - Mar 1, 2014 at 10:14 AM

    I wonder if GM Allen is playing “hardball” with Orakpo and Riley (or the other way around). Over the years the Redskins have been known as the “NFL’s early retirement plan” (i.e. easy target) for Free Agents looking to load up the bank account. We have signed some of the worst Free Agent deals in history. Maybe GM Allen will be better at saying NO to over priced players and using the rules to build a better roster (i.e. like tagging players, trades, drafting better, and signing guys about to break out). He has only had total control for about 6 weeks and his first few moves seem to be good ones (Robinson, Hall and Baker). I am going to wait and see what the 90 man roster looks like as we still do not know the PLAN and what coach Gruden has asked for to improve the record in 2014. To date, all we know is that coach Gruden has said it will take time and when we see the 90 man roster that go’s to camp we will have a better idea of where they are trying to take the team. Spending all our Cap money is not the answer, spending in a wise manner is. Build the team for the long run, going from 3-13 to Super Bowl is not in the cards. Break 500, make play-offs, win NFC East, win NFC Champ, Win Super bowl! Try and skip a step and go back to 3-13!

    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Mar 1, 2014 at 1:07 PM

      I suspect Orakpo wants more than we ought to pay him.

      I don’t know how that will shake out, but as we know, we can go 3-13 with him.

      And overpaying for free agents has been a franchise Achilles heel, as you said.

      • kenlinkins - Mar 1, 2014 at 7:55 PM

        Well, we will know a lot more by 4PM on Monday when we have to Tag Orakpo. This should give us some insight to what GM Allen in thinking.

  8. cowboyhater - Mar 1, 2014 at 11:32 AM

    Garcon?….. it’s early, but he has made a definite impact on this team. You have to give Shanahan kudos for that pick up. What’s a shame is that none of the free agent pick ups had the type of impact that would take a team over the top (well maybe Fletcher, we did win the NFC East). Really hope this regime has done their homework, crunched the numbers, and don’t get that shaky trigger finger when some of the high priced FA’s come off the board, and then over pay on a mediocre player. This is the time of the year I get really nervous as a skins fan. We have made so many errors during this FA period to the point it brings us here to almost 2 decades of futility. Spend wisely please….

  9. kenlinkins - Mar 1, 2014 at 3:51 PM

    Rich: It would seem that the ghost’s of Free Agents past have made many Redskins fans nervous about Big Deals. Even signing guy’s like Orakpo and Riley who we have watched up close has fans on edge. While it is good so many have become wiser about the impact of large deals on rosters I wonder how many of us fans are still hurting from the results of 2013 after the hope we all had after winning the NFC East in 2012. You can make the case we are a team that is just a “great year by our talented QB” away from another NFC East crown as you can that we are a team requiring a total roster make over. Everyone has a reason for the position the Redskins are in, as someone who has been closer to the action than most what would be the first 4 moves if you were GM? And are we closer to 2012 or 2013 as a team?

    • kenlinkins - Mar 1, 2014 at 7:53 PM

      Or is that the $64.00 question?

  10. Hart - Mar 1, 2014 at 7:29 PM

    Wilber Marshall??? Cmon now!

    • Rich Tandler - Mar 1, 2014 at 7:32 PM

      I’m going to assume that you didn’t read either the top paragraph, which explained that the list of of those in the free agency era or the bottom paragraph of the section which noted that Dave Butz would have been first on the list and Marshall third had the list included free agents from prior to 1993.

  11. Hellbringer - Mar 1, 2014 at 8:20 PM

    Where would you place Santana Moss?

    • Rich Tandler - Mar 1, 2014 at 8:22 PM

      Moss was acquired in a trade, he wasn’t a free agent. If he was a FA he would be in the top five, I believe.

  12. torington - Mar 1, 2014 at 11:18 PM

    Jim Lachey, no? I have no idea how he came to mind. If I read the link right, it says he has 78 AV. Last year played was 95.

    • torington - Mar 1, 2014 at 11:22 PM

      Ah. It was a trade for Jay Schroeder.

      • colmac69 - Mar 2, 2014 at 4:36 PM

        A steal of a trade if ever there was one….was shame inj curtailed lachey last couple yrs but what a player

  13. colmac69 - Mar 2, 2014 at 4:42 PM

    Wilber Marshall was great pick up in 1988….terry allen was another gd pick up mid 90, s esp coming off inj probs wae vikings Archives

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