Saturday, August 11, 2012

Top 5 Free Agent Signings in Redskins History

The shortcomings of free agent signings by the Washington Redskins have been well-documented. NFL Network even devoted the #1 worst free agent signing of all-time to "Anyone by the Redskins." However, the Redskins have had some players ink the dotted line that have proven to be worth the monetary value. My top 5?

5. Terry Allen, RB

Terry Allen came to Washington from Minnesota, with reconstructed knees. Most wouldn't expect much from him, however Allen would make the last few seasons at RFK Stadium somewhat enjoyable. Allen would rush for 4008 yards and 37 TDs for the Redskins, including a career-high 1353 rushing yards and 21 rushing TDs (2nd in team history) in the final season at RFK. Allen would eventually lose his starting spot to Stephen Davis, but he definitely played his butt off.

4. Larry Centers, FB

If Larry Centers was playing in the NFL today, he would be the Wes Welker of tailbacks. Centers was a superb receiver out of the backfield, logging a 101-catch season with the Arizona Cardinals. For some bizarre reason, the Cardinals got rid of Centers, and the Redskins pounced at the opportunity to sign him. The signing reaped immediate rewards. Centers, despite playing only 2 seasons in Landover, logged 150 catches in his Skins tenure, and it was his TD catch in Week 16 against the 49ers that clinched the 1999 NFC East Title. 2000 was another solid Centers season, but differences with the new Schottenheimer regime resulted in Centers moving on. He would eventually win a Super Bowl with the Patriots.

3. Henry Ellard, WR

An all-time great WR, signing in Washington, in his 30s. Sounds like the Redskins we came to know & love in the Cerrato era, but Henry Ellard had plenty left in the tank. In 1994, his first season in Washington, Ellard would catch 74 passes for 1397 yds and 6 TDs and a nifty backflip TD celebration. Ellard would have three 1000-yd seasons, while averaging 18.2 yards per reception! 

2. Ken Harvey, LB

Thank you again, Arizona Cardinals. You dump a stud, and we get to experience quality play from them. And what quality it was: 4 consecutive Pro Bowl seasons, and an outside LB presence that would rival Wilbur Marshall and Monte Coleman. Harvey would finish his Redskins career with 41.5 sacks, 13 forced fumbles, and 326 tackles. Harvey also earned a spot in the Redskins Ring of Fame. You could say he's the best LB we signed, but there's a guy at #1 who's been as close as perfect a free agent signing that the Redskins have signed....

1. London Fletcher, LB

London Fletcher is to this generation what Darrell Green is to my generation: the one player who gives it his all every play. A man blessed with superb conditioning & durability, and a man that is a great influence on & off the field. Fletcher came to the Redskins in 2007 to reunite with his former Bills coach (and newly-signed Redskins defensive coordinator) Gregg Williams, and London impressed from Day 1. He has yet to miss a game (let alone many plays), has led the team in tackles every season, and finally earned the respect from his peers to appear in the Pro Bowl. He has adapted to the defenses of Williams, Blache, and Jim Haslett, and continues to be a fan favorite. There's a reason the Redskins put Robert Griffin III's locker next to Fletcher's.