Free agents haven't found the usual buckets of money laying around in the NFL this offseason, and perhaps nobody exemplifies that like former Bills linebacker Zach Brown. A Pro Bowler in 2016, many expected Brown to cash in once free agency opened, but the market has been oddly depressed.
That could mean the Redskins can get a relative bargain for the 6-foot-1, 244 lbs., former second-round pick out of North Carolina. Brown is slated to visit Washington on Monday according to multiple reports.
Drafted by Tennessee in 2012, the 27-year-old Brown spent the first four seasons of his career with the Titans. He missed nearly two full years, however, fighting injuries before his breakout 149 tackle campaign in 2016 with the Bills. Only Bobby Wagner of the Seahawks made more tackles than Brown last season.
Inside linebacker is not necessarily a big need for the Redskins, as starters Mason Foster remains under contract and Will Compton is a restricted free agent, but Brown would be a boost for the linebacking group and provide a sure tackler in the center of Greg Manusky's retooled defense.
In an unexpected development, many NFL players are signing one-year contracts this offseason. Brown has already visited with the Raiders and Dolphins, and logic would suggest he hasn't been met with a contract he finds suitable. Washington has brought in three new starters on the defense in the last month: defensive linemen Stacy McGee and Terrell McClain and safety D.J. Swearinger. All three of those players got multi-year contracts, though the team signed receiver Terrelle Pryor to a one-year deal.
Cost will likely be an issue for the 'Skins to pursue Brown. Speaking with reporters in Phoenix at the NFL League Meetings, team president Bruce Allen suggested the Redskins would continue to monitor the free agent market but not to expect any splash signings. Consider that Washington has 10 draft picks approaching, and will need around $2 million to get all of those players under contract.
As of now, the 'Skins are about $11 million under the salary cap. Brown is the type of player that could be a difference maker for Washington, and perhaps get the front office to open up the checkbook.