RICHMOND—Was Nick Barnett brought in to be London Fletcher’s successor?
First, let’s establish that we don’t know for sure if Fletcher is going to go anywhere next year. He has not addressed the issue of retirement and he probably won’t do so until after the season is over.
But Fletcher will be 39 by the time next season starts. The two-year contract he signed with the Redskins in 2012 expires after this season. At some point he will hang it up and it could well be after this season.
If he does, what will the Redskins do? The plan that appeared to be in place was to groom Keenan Robinson to take over. But with Robinson likely out for the season with a torn pectoral muscle that plan has fallen by the wayside. Perhaps Robinson will be the starter at Mike linebacker one day but it’s highly unlikely he’ll be ready next year.
That would leave the Redskins looking to the free agent market to find a solution. Barnett will be a free agent next year, having signed a one-year deal. With a year under his belt in the system, and many years playing in a 3-4 scheme, the 32-year-old Barnett could be the perfect guy to be the bridge between Fletcher and the next guy, whether it’s Robinson or someone else.
The Redskins have a whole season to play before this becomes a pressing issue but a successful organization has to have succession planning in order to remain successful. And although we don’t know what the free agent marker will look like next spring, Barnett may be a solid option.