Upside. It is a word used quite frequently around these here parts. Usually, it was words like "former Pro Bowler", "waning" or "just-past-prime, yet still effective", that were used to describe our Redskins, but not anymore. This teams has taken on a new, younger image, and that image is loaded with POTENTIAL.
Keeping with this theme, I'd like to present a player who's upside is as high as anyone on our current roster, and he playes a position of need. He also happens to be a 4th year player, who will hit free agency next year, and at the ripe ole' age of 25, is most certainly entering his PRIME.
Gary Guyton(6' 3" 245) was an undrafted free agent of the New England Patriots in 2008. He played both the SAM and WILL at Georgia Tech, but what really stood out about this kid was his measurables. Guyton, at 245lbs, ran a 4.47 40, broad jumped 10' 6", and boasted a vertical of 40". Bill Belichick saw enough in this kid to sign him as an undrafted free agent, even after spending a 1st round pick on Jerod Mayo, a 6th round pick on Bo Ruud, and still having Teddy Bruschi. Belichick later admitted that the Patriots should have drafted Guyton over Ruud in the 6th.
Guyton was active for 16 games his rookie year, and saw two starts late in the season when Bruschi went down with an injury. Due to the retirement of Bruschi prior to the start of the 2009 season, Guyton was given the starting MLB position next to fellow second year player Mayo. He started all 16 games, posting 85 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and 4 passes defended.
In 2010, Guyton saw his playing time cut down with the emergence of rookie 2nd round pick Brandon Spikes. Still, he appeared in 16 games, with 8 starts, and totaled 63 tackles, 3 sacks, 7 passes defended, 2 interceptions(one of which he returned 59 yards for a TD), 1 forced fumble, and a fumble recovery(which he returned 35 yards for a TD).
Guyton signed a 2.1 million, two year contract extension at the end of the 2009 season. He will become a free agent in 2011.
The Patriots seem to have their middle LB's set for the future with Mayo and Spikes. Guyton proved he can play, and the Patriots aren't one to pay starter money to a backup. Belichick loves to wheel and deal, and he covets draft picks.
The Redskins have Fletcher(who could be nearing retirement) at MLB, but the other position remains open. Even with Fletcher playing at a high level, his future replacement will have to be groomed sooner rather than later. Guyton, who is know to be very good in pass coverage, is a relentless defender, who playes sideline to sideline, and can really lay the lumber.
Three potential options:
1) Trade our 4th round draft pick(from Oakland) to the Patriots for Guyton, and sign him to a contract extension.
2) The Patriots are weak at 3-4 OLB. If they balk at the 4th, we could offer them either Chris Wilson or Rob Jackson, along with the 4th for Guyton.
3) The patriots are in need of WR's. We could offer them the oft injured, and underachieving Malcolm Kelly for Guyton(and a late round pick if needed), and sign him to an extension.