Let me start by saying that I am not totally opposed to the Redskin strategy of throwing money at free agents. I realize that this has only brought us a decade of mediocrity, but I think that signing Albert Haynesworth, who is the best defensive player in football, is a good move. I think our problems stem from undervaluing draft picks, having constant coaching turnover, and spending resources to strengthen the secondary, receiving corps, and just about everything ahead of the offensive line.
The Skins have already been the talk of the league this offseason by hiring Mike Shanahan, but we are apparently just getting started on our annual plunge into stupidity (although Snyder got a head start with this sweet shirt). In the words of Pro Football Talk, the "Peppers-to-Redskins rumors go to full boil." Yes, Peppers is an uber-talented pass rusher who can be dominant on his day, but let's take a step back to the 2009 NFL draft. The Skins, sitting at #13, were desperately in need of help at defensive end/rushing the passer, and lo and behold, have the best defensive player and best pass rusher in college football fall into their arms, awesome. Even the Snyderrato train wreck couldn't screw up that pick, but oh, we did. After drafting this incredible defensive end, we decided to move him to linebacker! Not even 3-4 linebacker, but a 4-3 linebacker! Rak proceeded to be an unstoppable force whenever he was allowed to rush the quarterback, but play a generally mediocre linebacker, which everyone except the Redskins saw coming. I know Rak made the Pro Bowl, but that was based on his sack total and those few plays where he was allowed to do what he does best; God forbid we actually put a promising young player in a position to succeed (see Campbell, Jason). If you want any proof that the pick is stupid as long as Rak plays OLB, then consider that Brian Cushing went 2 picks after Rak, and ended up as the ROY as an OLB in a 4-3 defense. The bright side is that Rak could make a great 3-4 OLB, but I still would prefer to see him in his 'natural' position.
Now fast-forward back to this free agency class and Julius Peppers, who will command a monstrosity of a contract. Putting aside questions about his consistency and desire after getting this new contract, the Skins are trying to sign an elite defense end and move him to OLB! I have seen this movie before and it doesn't end well! I understand that Peppers is supremely athletic (like Rak), has the talent to play LB and DE (like Rak), and the immediate need is for his unnatural position (like Rak), but that doesn't mean that this is a good move. Peppers is going to get a record contract because of his performance and ability as a DE, not because he might be a really good OLB. In this case, really good won't be good enough for the money we are potentially about to spend. I have plenty of questions about whether Peppers will be a dominant enough DE to live up to a huge contract, but now to basically need him to be the best defensive player in the league as a 3-4 OLB? Not to mention rumors of us going after Brandon Marshall, aka instant locker room aids. Meet the new regime, same as the old regime.............
(Image courtesy of www.mkrob.com)