1. DeAngelo Hall makes the team better, unless he makes it worse
Let me be up front about a bias. I don't particularly like D.Hall, the Rex Grossman of the Redskins defense. Like Grossman, Hall is a talented risk taker. Sometimes he will control a game. Sometimes he will cost you two.
We question the wisdom of using Hall in man coverage without safety help. The still painful memory of the 2011 Dallas game one fuels the fear.
In a climatic fourth-quarter play, Jim Haslett called a jailhouse break from an eight-man front to pressure Tony Romo who never the less beat the rush to find Dez Bryant 30-yards downfield. Hall was in single coverage on Bryant and he played the ball instead of coverage. A facemask grab led to a penalty on Hall and a lot of profanity from him. The gaff put the Cowboys 15 yards closer for the winning field goal.
The Redskins held a slim lead up to that point. The defensive breakdown came on so many levels, starting with the failure of 10 defenders to run down Romo. Hall made that play without situational awareness. It is all too typical of him.
Jim Haslett likes Hall, as did Greg Blache before him. He minimized the risks by playing Hall in the slot. The 2012 Redskins secondary was a liability with Hall, and with injured safeties and journeyman Madieu Williams. His return does not actually improve the team.
There is no middle ground on D.Hall.
2. There were alternatives
Nnamdi Asomugha signed with the 49ers Wednesday. He was an alternative to Hall, if the Redskins wanted to pursue him. Snyderrato would have grabbed him for name recognition alone despite his now tarnished rep. Pundits once spoke of him as a shutdown corner as they do of Derrelle Revis. But, Nnamdi was a bust in Philly.
Quarterbacks avoided Asomugha when he was with the Raiders. He was the league's least targeted DB in 2009-2010, although a comment on Yahoo! Answers suggests there were better corners to pick on in a weak Oakland defense. (In 2008, that included DeAngelo Hall.) Asomugha has the physical moves of a cornerback that are at least equal to Hall's. His contract with San Francisco is a relative bargain at $3 million for 2013.
Hog Heaven is fond of saying that new players are productive the year after they join their team. Asmougha's two bad years in Philadelphia makes the case for Hall's return to the 'Skins. The two sides know each other. Hall will likely will be more productive for Washington in 2013 than Asomugha would have been. Hall is two years younger. He wants to be here. Hmm, his return is looking better already.
3. Protect the cap; let the market do the pricing
We watched as London Fletcher and Fred Davis found their value in free agent market and then come home to the Redskins. This third occurrence with Hall proves that a pattern is in play. Hog Heaven loves this, but we understand how it stresses fans.
Too often in the past, allowing an unrestricted free agent to walk meant the Redskins no longer wanted him. Washington wanted these three players, but at the right price and without dead cap risk. Now the Redskins are less like the bad guy heartlessly cutting players of fan's affection. From the outside, it seems the front office is astute both at pegging how other teams value the player and at offers that stand up to comparison shopping by the players agent.
The NFL owners have without a doubt in my mind set a price point for what they think each position "should be worth" & are following it.— Omar Kelly (@OmarKelly) April 4, 2013
Hall reportedly signed a one-year, $2.25 million contract. He was due to count $8 million against this year's cap. The Redskins need the cap room to sign a well-chosen free agent (cough: Antoine Winfield), but must do it without ruinous contract commitments that live beyond the player's tenure here.
This is a good habit to carry into 2014 and beyond when Washington will have both cap room and an owner willing to spend. One more season in the penalty box and we're golden.
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