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With the Redskins interested, London Fletcher-Baker will get paid.

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Jason La Canfora suggested and now PFT is talking about it; London Fletcher-Baker is a marked man by the Redskins and Detroit Lions:

The winner in the process will be Fletcher-Backer.  We don't want to knock the guy's abilities, and we're impressed that he has never missed a game in nine NFL seasons.  But the apparent fact that two teams who are notorious for overpaying in the early days of the Super Bowl supermarket plan to make a run for him means that he'll likely end up with far more money in his pockets than he objectively would merit.

Statistically, Fletcher-Baker had one of his best years of his career in 2006, his fifth season with the Bills.  He registered 104 tackles, 42 assists, two sacks, four interceptions, seven passes defensed, and a touchdown.  He also spent four seasons with the Rams, and started all 16 regular season games as St. Louis made an improbable run to the NFL Championship.

I am skeptical about Fletcher due to his age (31) as well as the considerable sum he will command in free agency. He had a big year and will likely not take much of a pay cut, if any at all. According to Ian Whetstone he's currently a 5.9M annual cap hit. So you have to imagine he is looking at a contract between 5-7M a year, especially if multiple teams are after him.

That's the bad news. Here's some of the good:

  1. Familiarity with the staff. Not that it matters much, but Saunders was on the St. Louis coaching staff with Fletcher in '99 and '00. More importantly, Fletcher knows the defense as he played for a Gregg Williams Head Coached Buffalo Bills in 2002 and 2003. I don't know how the two faired personally, but an acquaintence with our Coach is the kind of thing that can sway a player towards us. If that doesn't work we'll just overpay him.
  2. His age sounds worse than it is. 31 is old, but Lemar Marshall is just 7 months younger.
So where do I stand? Hogs Haven Votes No. Not because I don't like Fletcher, or that I don't think he can immediately contribute to this defense. He would be an instant improvement over Lemar Marshall.

Ultimately I vote no because it is an expensive bandaid. London Fletcher-Baker is not the future in Washington. He has 2-3 years at most to contribute to the team, which means even if we do get him we'll need to draft an ILB either this year or next (if we have any picks remaining).

While Fletcher would be an improvement over Marshall, he also drastically increases the cost of that position. Fletcher is an around 6M player, Lemar Marshall will cost the team around 800K next year (last year of his contract). I don't think London is 6+ times better than Marshall, so from that perspective alone I cannot justify the move. It's ok to overpay a player to improve a position, but not if he's over 30 and represents a temporary solution anyways. And not when you're having to restructure current contracts just to get your own Free Agents signed.

Regardless of what I think should happen, it is clear that the Washington Redskins want Fletcher-Baker and are thus going to get him one way or another. So Skin Patrol, you might as well Stop Worrying And Learn to Love Him. In which case I'm looking forward to happily cheering for him loudly come Sundays.

Post your own thoughts below.