The Redskins threw a curve ball to their fans and media today, which were expecting to hear Washington ink DE Cullen Jenkins. While it remains to be seen if this is a fallback option or an extra move, Redskins fans should be happy that the team went with "Uncle Charlie".
Stephen Bowen might not be as well known as Cullen Jenkins, but he isn't just an empty shirt. At 6'5" 300+ lbs. Bowen is the perfect size for our 3-4 DE position. While his career stats of 72 tackles and 5.5 sacks won't blow anyone away, they are extremely misleading. The Cowboys have had strong depth at DE these past couple years so they used them on a rotational basis. Bowen saw the majority of his snaps on passing downs, which kept his tackle total pretty low. While his sack numbers aren't impressive, he does a very good job of getting hits or pressures on the quarterback, registering 16 hits and 49 pressures in the last 3 years combined. He ranked top 20 in the league in Pass Rush Productivity according to Pro Football Focus (both last year and for the last 3 years).
While some might balk at the contract, it is a fair rate for a guy with Bowen's age (27) and production (and should be noted for what we have to resign Carriker to next year). Bowen should get the majority of the passing snaps, but I'd also imagine that he will start getting a larger percentage of snaps in general. He is a former undrafted free agent, who has worked his way up to be a quality 3-4 DE.
It might be hard to still afford Cullen Jenkins, but considering that Bowen is 4 years younger with a better injury history, and far cheaper, it might not be a bad thing. Jenkins is definitely the better player, but Bowen is the better bet. With a cheaper contract, the Redskins could look to bring in another DL man, who maybe isn't as expensive as Jenkins. Either way Washington got better today, and the Cowboys (who reportedly wanted to retain Bowen) got worse, and that is really all that matters.
Steve Shoup has been a Redskins fan his entire life and dreams of the day they get back to the glory days of his youth. In addition to his regular piece on Hogs Haven, you can find his daily writings at Fanspeak.com.