The Washington Redskins have fairly quiet since the start of the legal tampering window before the start of free agency. That window closes tomorrow when the 2015 NFL season officially begins, at 4pm Eastern. All of the signings that have been reported in the last48 hours should be official tomorrow.
Under prior regimes, the Redskins would have already backed up several Brinks trucks for some of the players that are already off the market. That regime may have been in the Suh sweepstakes or even the race for Revis and McCourty. Under new general manager Scot McCloughan, they’ve taken a much more patient approach. Letting the market settle before throwing loads of cash at perspective candidates, they’ve already picked up one defensive lineman in Ricky Jean Francois. That is an area of need, an area that is expected to be addressed through free agency and/or the upcoming draft.
There have been several reports in the last two days about players that the Redskins are interested in, today, there’s been reports stating that the team is closing in on a four year deal with former Bears defensive tackle Stephen Paea.
Stephen Paea is a 26 y.o. D-tackle. Had a career-high 6 sacks for the #Bears in 2014. Also 31 quarterback pressures, according to PFF.
— Tarik El-Bashir (@TarikCSN) March 9, 2015
The addition of Paea would mean the Redskins are getting closer to remaking their defensive front, getting talented, young players that can contribute and grow. As a member of the Bears, Paea proved to be one of the few bright spots on their defense last year.
For a defensive tackle, he does a great job rushing the quarterback. It’ll be interesting to see where he lines up at in a 3-4 after playing in a 4-3 defense. More than likely he’ll be lined up at nose tackle, being asked to push the pocket and rush the passer. Most nose tackles in 3-4 defenses are usually just asked to hold the point of attack and create lanes for the middle linebackers to get to the ball or keep the linebackers clean.
There are a few special tackles in 3-4 defenses that are able to really get after the passer, Dontari Poe comes to mind. In a league with several dynamic dual threat quarterback’s, Paea has shown the ability to make plays on some of the most elusive. His short area quickness is very impressive, as his awareness. While JJ Watt has made swatting down passes, or lineman getting hands into the passing lanes and windows extremely popular. Paea routinely goes to that as plan B if he’s not able to get to the passer. Obviously not saying that Paea is on Watt or Poe’s level, but he’s a young player that brings a special skill set to Washington’s 3-4.
Most of the best defenses in the NFL have a deep rotation up front, no matter the alignment. The ability to be versatile, talented, and fresh really help those defenses. If Paea is indeed signed, the Redskins are well on their way to improving the front of their defense. Specifically for a 3-4 defense, it all starts with the man lining up at nose, it could be Paea in Washington.