On a recent episode of "Redskins Lunchbox" (shameless plug), I made a plea for the Redskins to make signing players like Ryan Harris a priority this offseason. For the sake of this argument, let's all try and agree--just for a moment--that our starting Right Tackle spot is...uhhhhhh...up for grabs. Now that we have all made that giant leap together, perhaps we can see the value in bringing in a relatively unknown player at the tail-end of his rookie contract (a four-year deal) that Mike Shanahan knows well. Shanahan drafted Harris in the 3rd round of the 2007 NFL Draft.
In Redskin fan circles, Ryan Harris is no longer an unknown player. I wish you could do Google analysis by region on a name. Wait...you probably can--I wish I knew how to do it. I would bet Ryan Harris has been Googled more times than Justin Bieber in the Washington area over the last month.
Harris' durability has come into question in Denver, leading the Broncos to reportedly shop his services at the beginning of last season. He has started 34 of the 46 games he has appeared in, including 10 starts last year. He was on the IR in 2009 after dislocating or breaking multiple toes. I never know what to believe about toe injuries in the NFL. They always sound so silly but if you have ever had a problem with your toe, you know how painful it can be and when you are 6-5 and 300 bills, you can imagine how hard life is when your toes are all whacked.
The good news for Harris is that questionable durability is pretty much a prerequisite for offensive linemen on our team. Hell, I would be worried if he DIDN'T have any durability issues.
His services most likely won't come super cheap, but he won't break the bank. We have room to play in the pool this offseason (assuming that there is a free agency season). And signing a player like Ryan Harris frees up a VERY important draft pick to use on any of our other bajillion needs.
What we are definitely missing right now is definitive and public interest in Ryan Harris from the likes of Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan. That is a good thing. If Vinny was still running things, he would probably be on his radio show talking about how much he wanted Harris, blowing up the value of any deal that could be made. (Has a team ever used a 2nd round pick to sign a free agent? You just know Vinny would have wanted to be the first.)
I would LOVE to see us not only target Harris, but other 5th or 6th year players that can come in and play right away. The good news for the Washington Redskins is that Denver has reportedly already considered life after Ryan Harris. Every year guys like Harris have contracts that come up and by and large they stay put. So his acquisition is certainly within the realm of possibility.
Keep beating the drum out there (ExtremeSkins, looking in your general direction...way to keep this one on the front burner). This move makes a lot of sense.