At 3-4, the Washington Redskins are still technically in the thick of things--though the tea leaves are not exactly painting the picture of Mike Shanahan holding up the Lombardi Trophy in Indy this winter. Given what we all know about where our favorite team is currently sitting and the reality of not just our conference, but of our division, I thought it made sense to kick off yet another series of posts, this one looking at individual players and their future prospects with this team.
We will all have a chance to chip in with preferred terminology, opinions on career arcs and input on what areas we are or are not set at on this roster. Basically, as we get closer and closer to "development time," I thought we should hash out where we stand on a few key players and how we think they factor into our (pleaseGodpleaseGod) promising future. At the end of each article, I will suggest what I think the status of that player's window is--as a Redskin.
We'll start with London Fletcher today. I start with him because there were times over the last few years where I wondered if he was our most valuable asset in a trading scenario. Two years ago, I suggested that if we were able to land a young starter on either the offensive line or defensive line through the draft in exchange for moving Fletcher, we would be crazy not to consider it. That was when I was as close to Full Blow-it-up mode as I have ever been. I am not there today.
Who knows what a team would have been willing to trade for the services of one of the NFL's most respected locker room leaders? Even given his durability and wisdom, it is unlikely we could have netted anything resembling a high-round draft pick in a trade. Thankfully, we didn't make that deal. As it turns out today, it is exactly his leadership that we are so desperate to retain, and what we probably cannot afford to lose.
With so many young players in the Redskins locker room, it would be idiotic to send a veteran like London Fletcher packing. Forget what he brings on the field for a moment. For all of you reading this who played the game at a championship level, how good would your team have been if not for that leader in the locker room? It didn't matter that he was offense or defense, did it? He was the unquestioned captain of the team and while he was generally a playmaker in some capacity, he was also the heart of the team.
London Fletcher has been our heart for a while. His age has become immaterial. He has answered the bell to play in 215 consecutive games. As long as he is healthy and willing, he will likely be welcomed back year in and year out to compete for a job on our defense.
Far be it for me to suggest that London is a year away from retiring or that--if he has three or four good years left in his ageless body--we would be better off trading him away for younger players/prospects.
Our team is better with London Fletcher on it, and I do not look forward to the day where is not starting in the middle of our defense.
London Fletcher's Window: Open, with a 2x4 propping it open, wedged in so tight it would be hard to unwedge it. His career as a Washington Redskin will last as long as he chooses to make it last.