Yesterday I wrote that it might take a while for the Redskins to sign left guard Kory Lichtensteiger.
Well, it’s often said about me that I’m often wrong but never in doubt.
Lichtensteiger, the team’s starter for the last three years when healthy, tweeted last night that he had signed a contract to remain with the Redskins.
Just wanted to let Redskin Nation know I am going to be around for a while. Just agreed to terms on a deal!! HTTR— Kory Lichtensteiger (@Steiger78) March 10, 2013
While the reaction to the return of Lichtensteiger was mixed among Redskins fans, there was at least one player who gave it good reviews, a player whose very safety depends in part on having a good line in front of him.
“@steiger78: Just wanted to let Redskin Nation know I am going to be around for a while. Just agreed to terms on a deal!! HTTR” 👍👍👍— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) March 10, 2013
The length of the deal, five years, was somewhat surprising. We don’t know the financial details and it is hard to really judge just how committed the Redskins are to keeping Lichtensteiger as their starter without knowing them, especially the amount of guaranteed money. If the guarantee is $10 million (unlikely) they are figuring on him being the guy for at least the next four years. If it’s $1 or $2 million (also unlikely) his job security beyond 2013 would have to be considered tenuous. The reality probably is somewhere in the middle so we’ll have to wait to find out.
Although the timing of Lichtensteiger’s contract may have been unexpected, the fact that he is back is not. Mike Shanahan drafted him in Denver and he was one of the first players Shanahan signed when he came to Washington. There clearly is a lot of mutual respect there.
And you can’t deny that fact that the line has functioned well with Lichtensteiger in the lineup, at least the last two year. In 2011 the Redskins started out 3-1 with Rex Grossman at quarterback. Then Lichtensteiger suffered a torn ACL against the Eagles and the Redskins went 2-10 the rest of the way. Last year he started 16 games and the Redskins led the NFL in rushing and Robert Griffin III had enough time to throw to have one of the best seasons a rookie quarterback has ever had.
Clearly, Shanahan’s frame of mind is the old “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”
Where does this leave Josh LeRibeus, last year’s third-round draft pick and Lichtensteiger’s likely successor had he departed? It certainly takes away his opportunity to slide into a starting role this year. Without knowing what Lichtensteiger’s deal looks like financially it’s hard to say when the might have a realistic shot at starting at left guard barring an injury. But there are two other interior line spots and you don’t know what might happen there in the next year or so. If the end of the 2014 season rolls around and LeRibeus is still a reserve, we might begin to wonder if he was worth that 2012 third-round pick.