With free agency set to begin in March, Redskins.com's Stephen Czarda previews the 2018 NFL free agent class position-by-position. Today's focus is on the defensive linemen.
The Washington Redskins head into the new league year with a majority of their defensive linemen from the 2017 season under contract. Of course, the Redskins added three new faces to the group during free agency and the NFL Draft last year.
First, within hours of free agency opening, the Redskins signed veterans Stacy McGee and Terrell McClain to contracts. Then, more than a month after acquiring both players, Washington selected Ashburn, Va., native and unanimous All-American Jonathan Allen with the No. 17-overall pick after he unexpectedly fell to the middle of the first round.
All three, and Allen in particular when he was healthy, contributed along the line in their first seasons with the Redskins. But for most of training camp, it looked like Phil Taylor Sr. – who joined the team as a Reserve/Future signing -- was going to be the team's starting nose tackle even though he hadn't taken a regular season snap since the 2014 season.
Taylor was in line to be the team's starting nose tackle and impressed throughout the team's training camp stint at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Va., but a torn quad tendon suffered in the preseason ended the 2011 first-round pick's opportunity to return to action in 2017.
Taylor is among the 17 Redskins in line to become unrestricted free agents on March 14. Washington could elect to bring back the 29-year-old, but if they don't here's the defensive linemen currently set to hit the open market via Rotoworld.com (tomorrow we'll look at the edge rushers):
- Sheldon Richardson
- Dontari Poe
- Bennie Logan
- Star Lotulelei
- DaQuan Jones
- Kyle Williams
- Haloti Ngata
- Chris Baker
- Jay Bromley
- Tom Johnson
- Dominique Easley
- Tyrunn Walker
- Shamar Stephen
Beau Allen * Nick Fairley * Justin Ellis * Ahtyba Rubin * Frostee Rucker * Brent Urban * Mike Pennel * Tenny Palepoi * Cedric Thornton * Quinton Dial * Mitch Unrein * John Hughes * Sealver Siliga * Jordan Hill * Daniel McCullers * Leger Douzable * John Jenkins * Ed Stinson * Datone Jones * Tony McDaniel * Pat Sims * Phil Taylor * Jarvis Jenkins * Jared Crick * Billy Winn * Clinton McDonald * Ricky Jean-Francois
Perhaps the most notable name on this list is Sheldon Richardson, who has the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2013 and a Pro Bowler in 2014.
In his five NFL seasons to date, the former first-round pick has appeared in 73 games, recording 286 tackles along with 19 sacks, seven passes defensed, six fumbles forced, one interception and one safety.
After spending four seasons with the New York Jets, Richardson was traded to the Seattle Seahawks last September. During the 2017 campaign, the Missouri product recorded 44 tackles with one sack, one pass defensed, one interception and one fumble forced.
Another former Pro Bowler on this list is Dontari Poe, who joined the Atlanta Falcons last offseason on a one-year deal after spending five seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs.
The 2012 first-round pick has played in all but two games over his six years as a professional. He's tallied 239 tackles with 15.5 sacks, 14 passes defensed and two fumbles forced.
Continuing with former first-round picks that could be looking for a new team is Star Lotulelei. Selected with the No. 14-overall pick in 2013 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers, Lotulelei "is a dependable starter on the interior but doesn't make enough impact plays to merit a high-dollar contract," according to NFL.com’s Greg Rosenthal and Chris Wesserling.
Amongst the longest tenured veterans on this list are Frostee Rucker and Kyle Williams, both of whom are entering their 13th NFL seasons.
Rucker has split his time between with the Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns and Arizona Cardinals during his career while Williams has been with the Buffalo Bills for the entirety of his career dating back to his selection with the No. 134-overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft.
Chris Baker, Ricky Jean-Francois and Jarvis Jenkins all previously played with the Redskins.