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The 5 O’Clock Club: Assessing 3 free agents that would immediately improve the Commanders roster

It’s 5 o’clock somewhere…

Syndication: The Tennessean
Tennessee Titans center Ben Jones (60) before the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Nissan Stadium Sunday, Oct. 23, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn.
George Walker IV / / USA TODAY NETWORK

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Riggo’s Rag recently published a piece titled “3 free agents who could immediately start for the Commanders in 2023”.

K Brett Maher

The Rag opened the article by suggesting that Washington replace Joey Slye with Brett Maher, saying:

There is no competition on the roster for Joey Slye currently. The Washington Commanders are taking a monumental risk by moving forward with the inconsistent kicker, who has close ties to Ron Rivera and doesn’t deserve a free run to the No. 1 job again in 2023.

Slye has been too erratic in key moments. And yet, the Commanders seem happy enough to enter training camp with nobody pushing the former Virginia Tech star for his spot.

Commanders fans will remember that the reason Dallas scored 6 points in Week 18 against Washington instead of 7 points is that Maher missed his only PAT attempt of the game.

Maher then went on to live out a nightmare in the playoffs. He missed 4 our of 5 extra points In the wildcard round, and then missed his only PAT attempt of the game against the 49ers in a divisional round loss that bumped his team out of the playoffs. Maher was cut by the Cowboys after missing 6 of 7 PAT attempts in his final 3 games as a Cowboy.

  • In Maher’s 3 seasons in Dallas, he made 79.6% of his field goal attempts; he has a career FG success rate of 81% on 94 attempts.
  • In Slye’s 23 games in Washington, he has made 88.1% of his FG attempts, and he has a career rate on field goals of 82.9% on 123 attempts.

Riggo’s Rag says that Maher would be “an immediate upgrade heading into a critical 2023 campaign” and that Ron Rivera has shown “blind faith with Slye [and] obviously has some sentiment attached” because of Joey Slye’s history as the Carolina kicker in 2019.


Would you sign Brett Maher to replace Joey Slye as an immediate upgrade?

This poll is closed

  • 19%
    (447 votes)
  • 80%
    (1846 votes)
2293 votes total Vote Now

C Ben Jones

In pitching the idea that 2022 Pro Bowl center Ben Jones would be an immediate starter for the Commanders, the Rag says this:

Gates is slotted to play the center position until Stromberg gets up to speed. This is a gamble considering Sam Cosmi is transitioning to the interior and Saahdiq Charles hasn’t met expectations as yet.

[S]igning Ben Jones comes with multiple benefits. It gives the Commanders a short-term, stable presence at the center position and would also allow Gates to occupy the left-guard spot for good measure.

It would be nothing more than a one-season fix. But signing Jones gives the Commanders an upgrade at two positions, allows Stromberg to develop at his own pace, and adds extra stability with jobs on the line under new ownership.

So, Riggo’s Rag is saying that the Commanders would insert Jones into the starting lineup at center, and move Nick Gates to starting left guard.

Jones has a ton of experience. He is 33 years old and has played in the NFL for 11 seasons — 4 with the Texans, who drafted him in the 4th round of the 2012 draft, and the past 7 with the Tennessee Titans.

He has played over 10,000 career offensive snaps, and he started and played in 108 NFL games.

In 8 seasons from 2014 to 2021, Ben Jones missed only one game, and he started every game he played. Last year (2022), Jones ended the season on IR, missing 5 games due to two separate concussions.

Is Jones physically capable of playing another season? That’s a question that may not currently have a crystal clear answer. Jones was released by the Titans in early March with a failed physical designation. At that time — just prior to the start of the veteran free agency period — talked to Jones:

“God puts you through trials,” Jones, speaking to from the Pro Bowl last month, said of the 2022 season, and his health. “You never know what it is going to be like, you just have to believe what He is putting you through is going to come out for the best. Everything can’t be roses always – through trials come rewards, and it teaches you lessons that make you a better man and a better person.”

Jones told last month his body was still recovering from another grind of a season.

“My mindset now is: It’s an offseason, so how do I prepare like a normal offseason?,” Jones said last month. “It’s getting some surgeries, getting healthy. So, when (training) camp comes around, if I am able to go and ready to roll, I am able to go out there and do it.

“My whole thing is: Spend time with the family, get healthy, and get ready to play football like I always do. If I am able to still play at a high level, I would love to keep playing. If not, grandfather time does happen, and we’ll see what is best for our family.”


Would you sign Ben Jones as an immediate upgrade to the offensive line?

This poll is closed

  • 47%
    (1036 votes)
  • 52%
    (1143 votes)
2179 votes total Vote Now

OLB Melvin Ingram

Here’s the reasoning from the Rag:

The former three-time Pro Bowler might be heading into his career twilight, but he is still capable of producing in big moments and registered six sacks from 45 percent of the Miami Dolphins defensive snaps in 2022.

Ingram knows how to generate pressure through savvy technique as his explosiveness wanes with age. The South Carolina product’s gap discipline against the run is good and the player is also a prominent leader within the locker room to further enhance his influence.

Slotting Ingram at the defensive second level alongside Barton and Jamin Davis in certain situations gives opposing protection schemes something else to think about. The veteran would also have plenty of space in which to operate behind Washington’s outstanding defensive front.

The 34-year-old Ingram is a 6’2”, 247 pound DE/OLB — essentially an edge rusher — who was a rotational edge rusher in Miami last year. He has played for 4 teams (Chargers, Steelers, Chiefs, Dolophins) in the past 3 seasons. Riggo’s Rag seems to be suggesting that he could play as both a pass rusher and 4-3 outside linebacker for the Commanders.

Ingram was a 3-time Pro Bowl player from 2017-2019, but he hasn’t been a regular starter for a team since the 2020 season.

Ingram did play well in 2022; he had 10 QB hits, including 6 sacks, and he racked up 10 tackles for loss, a forced fumble and a pass defended.


Would you sign Melvin Ingram as an immediate defensive upgrade?

This poll is closed

  • 43%
    (934 votes)
  • 56%
    (1207 votes)
2141 votes total Vote Now