The Washington Redskins began the 2013 NFL free agency period by releasing cornerback DeAngelo Hall. It was a cost cutting move that saved the Redskins $8 million against the salary cap. However, there is a bigger loss that could have a greater impact on the Redskins than Hall’s departure.
Linebacker Lorenzo Alexander (above) is not a household name outside of Washington. During his six years as a Redskin, Alexander has been the jack of all trades. He’s one of the few NFL players that have played on offense, defense, and special teams at one point or another during his career. Alexander was willing to play wherever he was needed, filling in at defensive end, linebacker, and even offensive tackle. However, it was on special teams where Alexander excelled. He recorded 19 tackles on special teams to lead the NFL in 2012. He was also rewarded with his first Pro Bowl selection after the 2012 season.
Alexander’s versatility and production justify the Redskins retaining his services. Unfortunately, the two sides could not reach an agreement, and Alexander signed a three year, $9 million dollar contract with the Arizona Cardinals. The loss of Alexander is a major blow to the Redskins’ considering that he was the leader of the special teams’ unit. He also provided depth along both the offensive and defensive lines, as well as his natural linebacker position. He also contributed 2.5 sacks in 2012, proving his efficiency during his sporadic stints on defense.
It will be hard to replace what Alexander brought to the Redskins in regards to special teams intensity. The unit was instrumental in limiting long kick and punt returns by opposing teams. Now there will be extra pressure on the Redskins’ special teams to continue to limit long kick returns in an effort to aid a less than stellar defense. Only time will tell if Washington’s special teams can remain special without Alexander.