Washington Redskins defensive end Stephen Bowen may be a backup behind Jason Hatcher, Chris Baker, and Jarvis Jenkins, but he should still receive some snaps as part of a rotation. Like Hatcher, Bowen is a former Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman, but he hasn’t been nearly as productive as the big-name free agent acquisition over the past two seasons. After recording 41 tackles and six sacks in 2011 in his first season with the Redskins, Bowen has notched just one sack in the past two seasons. Hatcher, on the other hand, is a borderline-elite interior pass rusher, and he’ll be counted on to push the pocket with most of the players around him featuring as run-stoppers.
Bowen fits in better as a 4-3 DE than a 3-4 DE, and he’s seen his role in Washington slip with time. ESPN NFL Nation’s John Keim reports that Bowen and the Redskins have renegotiated his deal, though details remain unclear at this moment in time. The 30-year-old Hofstra product was set to make $4.4 million this season and $5.4 million next season, so he’s clearly not worth that kind of money ($9.8 million over the final two seasons of his deal). He’s a mediocre player at this stage of his career and won’t get any better over these two seasons, so a change in contract was in order and will match his change (for the worse) in production and playing time.
It will be interesting to see what the new terms of the deal are, but the wording “renegotiation” indicates that Bowen might be playing on a completely different deal. If so, he will no longer be in the final two years of the five-year, $27.5 million deal that he signed to get to Washington in the 2011 offseason. Bowen will likely take a significant paycut, but he had no salary leverage given what would have been a $7 million cap charge. That said, there’s a reason why he wasn’t released, as the Redskins would have been thin at DE without him. He still hasn’t been cleared to practice as he recovers from a knee injury, but it should only be a matter of time before he’s cleared from the active/PUP list.