Ever since 2010, the Redskins have been rebuilding their defensive line and transitioning it into a 3-4 D-line. They have had set backs each of past two years which didn’t allow the 3-4 to play at its full potential.
Hopefully this year that potential can be fully realized with the return of Adam Carriker at left DE to split time with Jarvis Jenkins. Stephen Bowen, Barry Cofield and Carriker are signed through 2015, although it’s questionable if the trio will be with us in 2015 because their cap numbers are $6.75 million (Carriker), $6.8 million (Cofield), and $7 million (Bowen) but you never know, they may take pay cuts to stay.
Jenkins has two years remaining on his rookie contract. Carriker could asked to take another pay cut to stay or be released if Jenkins ends up showing this year he’s a better option as a starter than Carriker.
The Redskins also brought back Kedric Golston on a two-year contract to add veteran depth. And we still have Doug Worthington, Ron Brace and Phillip Merling who are fighting for the final roster spot on the DL.
Behind Cofield at NT, Chris Baker has flashed some potential and was re-signed as a RFA this year. Then, we have Chris Neild, our 7th rounder in 2011 who, like Jenkins, has two years left on his rookie deal. It is believed that Baker can also play DE, so there is a strong possibility the Redskins keep Baker even if Neild beats him out at NT. Versatility is a great thing to have in the NFL and Baker can bring that.
The Redskins have their top five defensive linemen (along with Golston) signed under contract through at least 2014. The reserves also could be in place through 2014 as well. The defensive line seems like a position we will likely not address in the 2013 NFL Draft as it seems all but set, health permitting of course.
Depending on what Carriker does this year and how our younger reserves — Jenkins, Baker, Merling, Brace, Worthington and Neild — look, we may have to address the defensive line in 2014. But again, health permitting, the Redskins may not even have to alter the DL in the 2014 draft if guys can stay injury free and the young guys can develop.
If the young guys don’t show much, expect the Redskins to look to bolster their depth again in the 2014 off-season at defensive line, but currently it doesn’t seem the Redskins need any upgrades along the defensive front. Washington’s d-line is definitely set for the 2013 season, and more than likely for at least the next 2 years. And with key guys coming back from injury, this group could be a strong suit for a defense looking to vastly improve.