Washington’s new general manager reached out to a very familiar face in his first free agent acquisition, the Redskins signed Ricky-Jean Francois. The 28-year-old defensive end had his tenure with the Colts cut short as Indianapolis chose to save money by releasing him as he would have counted $5.5 million against the salary cap.
Francois is one of the many players that are soon to be released because of high cap numbers, not necessarily because of their production. Prior to being on the Colts, Ricky-Jean was a member of the San Francisco 49ers. He was drafted by now the man who signed him in Washington, Scot McCloughan who was the general manager of the 49ers at that time.
During the Harbaugh years in San Francisco, Francois was one of the versatile super-subs. He was able to play all along the 49ers defensive line, often spelling Justin Smith, Ray McDonald, and occasionally the nose tackles in Vic Fangio’s 34 defense.
He took an opportunity to get a raise and possibly become a starter by joining the Colts, last season Ricky-Jean played in 13 games. In his two seasons with the Colts, he started 26 games, 13 of them being last season when Arthur Jones went down. Francois was able to produce, tallying 28 tackles and three sacks on an often over looked defensive unit.
Francois brings much needed experience to the Washington front seven, while linebackers typically get more of the action and most of the publicity in that style of defense, those front three guys are very important. Ricky-Jean not only gives Washington depth, but possibly a starter as he’s one of the few that have thrived in that type of defense. The past regimes in Washington haven’t fully embraced the 34 defense, and it’s clear that McCloughan is going to give the coaching staff the requisite pieces to play in the system.
The best part of the signing may have been the contract, it appears that Scot got a ‘hometown’ discount or something of the sort as Francois is guaranteed just $4 million of a three-year $9 million dollar deal. Again, the Colts let him go for a cap number of $5.5 million.
It was reported (by several insiders) that Francois visited both of McCloughan’s former stomping grounds in Seattle and San Francisco, when’s the last time a player turned down those two for Washington? This could just be the beginning of the Scot McCloughan era here in Washington. The ‘start’ of free agency is just days away, who else with the Redskins target? They’re already off to a great start.