On Monday morning, news broke that the Washington Redskins have re-signed linebacker Perry Riley to a three-year deal worth $13 million. Bringing back Riley is a great move for the Redskins’ defense.
Re-signing the five-year veteran helps keep their core set of linebackers intact. Just last week, the team franchise tagged Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan remains under contract. By re-signing Riley, that’s just one less thing they need to think about. Just a week ago, their linebacking corps was looking thin. Now it’s looking pretty good for the upcoming season.
Riley has been a quiet stud for the Redskins. In each of the past two seasons, he finished in the top two for most tackles. In 2013, he led the Redskins with 115 tackles. On a defense that struggled with that concept last year, having a sure-tackler like Riley is always a great thing.
With the recent retirement of longtime middle linebacker London Fletcher, a huge void is currently in the middle of the Redskins’ defense. Fletcher was the captain and knew the defense better than any other player. He understood what he was looking at when he lined up and was able to adjust the defense accordingly. In Jim Haslett‘s defense, there’s a lot that the middle linebacker needs to do.
Teaching a new linebacker all the adjustments and nuances of this defense could prove to be troublesome. That’s another reason why re-signing Riley is a good idea. They now already have a linebacker who knows the defense well. Why not give him a chance to be the man to replace Fletcher? He’s been in this system for four seasons and has seen his playing time increase significantly.
The deal that Washington signed Riley to is a good one as well. At an average of about $4 million per season, it’s rather team-friendly. Considering that linebacker was a need simply because it was depleted, that makes this a solid signing. It also leaves them with cap space to make other moves this offseason. The length of the deal is also team-friendly. At just three years, it gives Riley a chance to prove his worth, but the Redskins don’t have him on the books for a long time.
Free agency is off to a good start for the Redskins. They re-signed a playmaker in their defense and have a leading candidate to take over for the departed London Fletcher. Re-signing Perry Riley was on their to-do list and they checked that off early. Now they can turn their focus on other areas of need.