London Fletcher Needs to Take One for the Team and Give an Answer

Win McNamee

The Redskins need to find a replacement for Fletcher before free agency hits.

Good friend, Rich Tandler of CSN Washington, found a nice nugget in a Mike Shanahan interview from the combinefirst reported by Dan Steinberg Tarik El-Bashir. When asked about London Fletcher, Mike Shanahan did not give his normal, fluff answer.

"I really don't know," Shanahan told Larry Michael on a recent episode of Redskins Nation. "One thing you have to do is, you can't got to have a mindset that there's no way you're going to retire. Because if you're thinking about retirement and you're not really sure - at least when I look at my previous years, and you look back at guys - if you're thinking about retiring, you're probably already retired."

That should invoke a response. With the salary cap penalty still in affect, the Redskins need to know what the situation is with Fletcher before Free Agency starts. The Redskins made a low-ball offer to Lorenzo Alexander, which he rightfully rejected. If the Redskins know Fletcher is out, then they can push those savings in a better offer to Alexander.

It would not surprise me at all if the Redskins released Fletcher at the last minute. So many big name players from other teams have been released and given Fletcher's declined play last year, the Redskins can't afford to play a game of chicken here.

So, if London retires either willingly or forcefully, where does that leave the Skins? Let's put on the burgundy and gold glasses for a moment.

Both Keenan Robinson and Lorenzo Alexander will essentially be entering year two at ILB. Perry Riley had a rough year his rookie struggling to see the field and playing consistently. He took a large jump his second year and was a key component of the defense. Given Alexander and Robinson's athletic skills and another off-season of camps, I think the Redskins will be fine with whichever guy wins the job. Fletcher's ability to see the game before it happens is unparalleled, but his work ethic has surely been ingrained.

Of course, this plan with Robinson and Fletcher is all hingent on the Redskins not allowing Lorenzo Alexander to hit free agency. It's been two months now, Fletch. This has essentially become a mini-Brett Favre situation.

Minicamps usually start in May.

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