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The 5 O’Clock Club: Playing GM - a last look at free agent linebackers

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It’s 5 o’clock somewhere…

The 5 o’clock club aims to provide a forum for reader-driven discussion at a time of day when there isn’t much NFL news being published. Feel free to introduce topics that interest you in the comments below.

We all know that teams will announce most of the re-signings of their 2017 players in the week between the end of the Combine and the start of the new year, so I want to finish up the “a look at free agents” series before the list of available players starts changing hourly. The Redskins have already announced the re-signing of two of their players, and this week saw a high profile player tagged -- Jarvis Landry of the Dolphins. My plan is to publish a look at free agents daily from today through Saturday the 3rd in an attempt to highlight as many free agents as possible ahead of the new league year, which starts at 4 p.m. on 14 March.

Avery Williamson, Tennessee Titans

NFL: Oakland Raiders at Tennessee Titans Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 246 pounds

Age: 25

Entry to NFL: 5th round, 2014 draft (Tennessee Titans)

Career Stats

Contract

Spotrac estimates that Avery Williamson would receive a contract of 4 years, $36.4m if he were to be signed by a team in free agency ($9.1m APY).

How would he fit with the Redskins?

Williamson is a former fifth-round pick that has worked his way up to being a difference-making starter for the Titans. Missing just one game in four seasons, Williamson is durable and in his prime at 25 years old.

Tennessee asked Williamson to play multiple linebacker spots before he settled inside. His production has been high regardless of where he’s played, though. Williamson can instinctively drop into coverage or get after the ball-carrier and his versatility is exactly the kind of thing [Coordinators love] in defenders.

Williamson is a highly rated free agent linebacker this season, and would likely be an option to re-signing Zach Brown. He averages around 90 tackles and a couple of sacks per season, and seems to have better coverage skills than Brown. Of course, the Redskins would probably pay a premium for that extra flexibility.

Don’t look for Zach Brown and Williamson to appear on the field together, but he joins Nigel Bradham and Tahir Whitehead as excellent, if high-priced, free agent replacements if Zach Brown isn’t re-signed.

Christian Jones

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Chicago Bears David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 245 pounds

Age: 27

Entry to NFL: Undrafted Free Agent, 2014 (Chicago Bears)

Career Stats

Contract

Jones played his 4th season for the Bears on a $1.5m salary, indicating that the Bears weren’t really worried that another team would try to poach him. Jones would likely be pretty cheap, and would represent a depth signing.

Josh Bynes, Cardinals, Lions, Ravens

NFL: Oakland Raiders at Arizona Cardinals Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 235 pounds

Age: 28

Entry to NFL: Undrafted Free Agent, 2011 (Baltimore Ravens)

Career Stats

Contract

Bynes is a league-minimum type player. Purely depth.

Poll

Which of the following three veteran free agents would be the best choice to replace Zach Brown?

This poll is closed

  • 62%
    Avery Williamson
    (154 votes)
  • 31%
    Nigel Bradham
    (76 votes)
  • 6%
    Tahir Whitehead
    (15 votes)
245 votes total Vote Now