Washington Redskins a fit for Brandon Spikes


The Washington Redskins made a splash this offseason by bringing in several big names on defense, including Terrance Knighton, Chris Culliver, Stephen Paea and Dashon Goldson. The group will go a long way towards filling the void that was left with the departure of Brian Orakpo and give a Redskins team that has lacked defensive depth in years’ past a well-rounded and capable group that should be able to handle itself against talent-laden NFC East opponents.

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Washington also spent its second-round pick on Mississippi State linebacker Preston Smith, who joins a linebacking core that already features Ryan Kerrigan and Trent Murphy. But for as strong as the Redskins are on the outside, they’re just as thin up the middle with Perry Riley and Keenan Robinson. There’s still a clear weak link in the middle of the field that needs to be addressed despite all the moves that’ve already been made. Riley is a capable option and Robinson has shown flashes of potential, but neither is anything special and both would be better off as secondary options.

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Bottom line: The Redskins can do better. And the good news is that they’re in luck. It’s not common that this late in the offseason there’s an obvious fix to a legitimate hole, but for the Redskins that’s exactly the case.

It’s mid-July and Brandon Spikes is still on the free-agent market. Spikes’ value is not nearly what it could be because he’s viewed as a liability on passing downs, but he’s nonetheless one of the better middle linebackers in football. And with Riley and Robinson in the mix (and clearly good enough to start in the eyes of the Redskins), having Spikes to rely on in run situations would give Washington one of the better front sevens in the NFL if either of the other two can become anything of merit on passing downs.

The attention Spikes warrants in run-block schemes also frees up the likes of Kerrigan, Knighton and Jason Hatcher to do more damage, making the rush defense that much more dangerous. He may no longer be the potential dominant star linebacker he was one perceived to be in New England, but the former second-round pick can still disrupt a running game in the right situation. Washington could definitely be that situation.

With arguably the deepest free-agent class the league has ever seen coming next offseason, the Redskins could also have a shot to get Spikes locked up long term for relatively cheap. Putting him up against the 2016 class of linebackers would only hurt his value, which could incentivize Spikes into taking the money and running instead of opting for a one-year deal. Even putting needs aside, the chance to lock in a quality player like Spikes for multiple years at an affordable rate should be incentive enough for Washington to go after him.

The Redskins’ offense will once again be a question mark this year with an unpredictable and inconsistent Robert Griffin under center, so their best bet at winning some football games will be building as strong a defense as possible. While Spikes is no superstar, he could go a long way towards improving Washington’s defensive unit, and should definitely be considered as an option as the Skins prepare for training camp.

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