Clark Judge praised the Redskins for not falling into the free agent trap this offseason. He also gave us a brief reminder of past offseason failures that the Redskins have given money to.
Judge wrote: Don't tell me you're surprised. This is the guy who signed Jeff George, Bruce Smith, Deion Sanders and Mark Carrier and got next to nothing from them. This is also the owner who made Adam Archuleta then the highest-paid safety, then watched him move down the depth chart before his release. He paid the big bucks for Antwaan Randle El. He paid more big bucks for Laveranues Coles. And he took out a second mortgage on Haynesworth.
It's easy to lump all of these players in the same category and give a universal thumbs down. Most HAVE been busts. But not all.
Let's look at the first four names mentioned. Deion talked more than he tackled, and Mark Carrier was never more than a solid journeyman as a defensive back. But Bruce Smith put in four solid years in Washington with close to 40 sacks and producing double digit sack totals in two of the four seasons.
These three get lumped in with George as the worst free agent blunder in NFL history, but if you look at the facts the Redskins were 6-3 and at the top of the NFC East before the real free agent bust ruined the season for them. Dan Snyder's meddling caused more harm than any free agent signing when he insisted that starter Brad Johnson be benched to make way for his favorite gunslinger Jeff George.
The result was a catastrophe. The Redskins went 1-4 under George and never made the playoffs. Norv Turner was fired, and history looked negatively on all of Washington's free agents.
Adam Archuleta was another horrible pick up. At least the coaching staff saw this and benched him halfway through the season, then cut him at the end of the year.
Randle El may be the worst return man in NFL history, but as a wide reciever he overachieved and had the best seasons of his career in Washington.
Albert Haynesworth did not have a good season by his standards. Everyone was annoyed watching him get carted off the field during every game he played. But I do think he helped the defense. He freed up other players by commanding double teams and helped the Redskins have a pass rush for the first time in years. It is way too early to call him a bust.
Judge wrote a good article. But I don't think it's fair to lump all of those guys under one label.