One of the most amiable contract standoffs ever lasted exactly one month and the Redskins got done the deal that they had to get done.
London Fletcher is likely to finish his career in Washington after signing what some reports said was a two-year contract on Friday. Fletcher announced the deal himself via his Twitter account.
For a while, it looked like the $18 million salary cap penalty the league slapped on the Redskins on the eve of free agency might cost then the services of their captain. Their flexibility in dealing with Fletcher was reduced drastically and if another team had come in with a substantial offer, the Redskins would be looking to replace Fletcher.
Fortunately, the inside linebacker market started off very slowly and when inside backers did start signing the contracts did not break the bank. If other teams contacted Fletcher it was kept very quiet and as far as we know he did not visit any other teams.
The Redskins kept things low key as well. The only inside linebacker we know they worked out was Jonathan Goff, the former Giant who missed all of last year with a knee injury.
Although the ink on Fletcher’s contract is barely dry, the Redskins have to start thinking about his eventual replacement. They were in a position where they had virtually no other choice but to bring Fletcher back as they had nobody ready to take the job. Had another team come in and taken him away, they would have been in a world of trouble. They will need to have his successor ready in two years when he likely will be ready to retire.
Inside linebacker in a 3-4 is complex position to learn and if the Redskins want to draft someone ready to replace Fletcher they will have to do it in this year’s draft or in 2013 at the latest. They don’t have to expend a high draft pick to fill the spot. As they did with Perry Riley, who took over the other inside linebacker spot in place of Rocky McIntosh this year, they can tab a prospect who has the athletic tools in the middle rounds and get him up to speed over the next two years.
But that’s for two weeks from today and 2013 and 2014. For now, the Redskins have perhaps their most important player back and that is cause for celebration in Redskins Nation.