The Washington Redskins made their biggest free agency signing of 2014 when they signed former Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Jason Hatcher. Washington’s defensive front was anemic in 2013, collectively earning 5.5 sacks. In comparison, Hatcher earned 11 sacks as a member of the Cowboys in 2013. I’m not a mathematician, but Hatcher’s 2013 sack total convinces me that he would be an upgrade at defensive end for the Redskins.
Hatcher’s presence on the defensive front will be mutually beneficial for outside linebackers Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan, as well as himself. Orakpo is the Redskins’ most established pass rusher who combined with Kerrigan to record 18.5 sacks in 2013. Opposing offensive linemen may have to double team Kerrigan, Orakpo or Hatcher. That will create opportunities for others on the defense to get to the quarterback.
Redskins fans would love to see Hatcher duplicate his career 2013 season in 2014. His signing addressed Washington’s defensive line issues as well as weakening the roster of their most hated divisional foe in the Cowboys. Hatcher’s addition also creates concern. He was a formerly unheralded player who had a career season in 2013, recording 11 sacks after never having more than 4.5 in a season. There has been many a player accept top free agency dollars from the Redskins only to have less than stellar seasons. Will Hatcher become the Redskins’ latest free agent bust?
Durability will also be a concern for Hatcher. In Dallas, there was quality depth at defensive end. Cowboys defensive ends Anthony Spencer and George Selvie were available to give Hatcher a rest when necessary. At times, multi-Pro Bowl linebacker DeMarcus Ware would play defensive end. There is no such depth in Washington, as Redskins’ defensive ends Jarvis Jenkins, Kedric Golston and Chris Baker aren’t exactly Pro Bowl caliber defenders. Hatcher could get worn down from having to play virtually every down, but he may have to in order to compensate for the Redskins’ lack of defensive line depth.
Hatcher was signed to a four year, $27.5 million contract by the Redskins. It’s possible that they are overpaying a player who had one great year for a mediocre Cowboys team that finished 8-8 in 2013. Still, the Cowboys finished better than the Redskins’ 3-13 record. Redskins fans hope defensive coordinator Jim Haslett can incorporate Hatcher into his defense in an effort to obtain some sort of defensive respectability. In addition, fans hope they see more poses like the one used in this article’s featured picture of Hatcher celebrating after a sack. That would really go a long way towards the Redskins achieving that defensive respectability.