Since taking over the Washington Redskins ownership from the late Jack Kent Cooke in 1999, Daniel Snyder has made a name for himself as an owner who lives and dies by free-agent signings instead of building through the draft.
Perhaps patience isn’t one of Snyder’s strong suits, but he can definitely learn from the New England Patriots owner, Robert Kraft, who’s exceptional when it comes to drafting and signing free-agents that’ll help his team win championships. In his tenure with the Patriots, Kraft has won four Super Bowls and drafted arguably one of the best quarterbacks (Tom Brady) in NFL history.
Snyder, who was a die-hard Redskins fan before purchasing them, has failed over and over again in his pursuit of reaching the glory days where former Hall of Fame Coach Joe Gibbs won three Super Bowls.
On this list are 7 of the best and 8 of the worst free-agent signings Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder has made during his time in the nation’s capital. Indeed, some of the players on this list played their hearts out before free-agency, so it’s understandable why teams reward them with eye-watering deals.
15. Worst: Adam Archuleta
The former St. Louis Rams safety was one of the most sought after free-agents in 2006 and Dan Snyder forked out a six-year, $30 million deal to make Archuleta the NFL’s highest paid safety at the time.
Archuleta was brought in to help support the run at the strong safety position, something he thrived in while with the Rams. The Redskins had it all figured out with the late Sean Taylor being the ball-hawk at free safety and Archuleta making plays in the box.
Like most of Snyder’s free-agent signings, Archuleta failed to make an impact defending the pass and struggled in run support, which led to his trade to the Chicago bears in 2007 for a sixth round selection.
In his lone season with Washington, Archuleta recorded 60 tackles in 2006.
14. Best: Marcus Washington
Marcus Washington was the 59th overall selection in the second round of the 2000 Draft by the Indianapolis Colts and his impressive display with Indy landed him in Washington in 2004, where he exceeded all the expectations to become one of the NFL’s premier outside linebackers.
He made the Pro Bowl in his first year with Washington and was an alternate in the 2005-06 seasons. Washington was relentless and his motor to get to the quarterback was exactly what the doctor ordered in the capital. He was always a play away from changing a game and giving the Redskins momentum.
Although he wasn’t a household name, Washington collected 378 tackles, 19.5 sacks, 10 forced fumbles and five recoveries in five seasons with the Redskins.
13. Worst: Bruce Smith
Bruce Smith is the only player in NFL history to amass 200 career sacks. That should automatically be enough to keep him off of this list, but that’s not the case.
Dan Snyder rewarded the 37-year-old Bruce Smith with a massive contract at the time, worth $25 million over five years. He would join another aging superstar, Deion Sanders, with his mega contract in 2000. Smith, who was emphatically chasing Reggie White’s 198 sacks, had 58 tackles and 10 sacks his first season in Washington. However, he wouldn’t hit double digit sacks again and mostly just played on passing downs. While his numbers weren’t horrific, they definitely didn’t match the contract he had earned and he was mostly just here to try and catch Reggie White.
12. Best: DeAngelo Hall
The Redskins acquired DeAngelo Hall during the 2008 season, after he was released by the Oakland Raiders and he made an instant impact. In his first game with Washington against their fierce rivals, the Dallas Cowboys, Hall intercepted Tony Romo in a huge, game-changing play.
As an unrestricted free-agent in the 2009 offseason, Snyder bestowed Hall a new six-year contract with the Redskins worth $55 million ($23 million guaranteed). The Skins finally had a corner who can cover elite receivers.
Though Hall has made a switch to the safety position to prolong his career, injuries have derailed two of his last three seasons. He tore his career achilles in 2014 and missed 13 games. In 2016, Hall suffered an ACL injury in week 3 against the New York Giants and was ruled out for the rest of the season.
Despite those injury troubles, he’s been a solid player for Washington and a great signing. In 7-and-a-half seasons with the Redskins, Hall has 23 interceptions and 80 passes defended.
11. Worst: Jeff George
Jeff George was the first overall pick of the 1990 Draft by the Indianapolis Colts, but his inconsistent play made him a journeyman in the NFL.
The Redskins penned George to a four-year contract in 2000 worth $14.8 million to essentially back-up Brad Johnson. One may ask, “what did George do to deserve such a contract?” Well the truth is that the generous owner of the Redskins had just begun giving out long-term contracts to players most teams would pass on.
Johnson would later leave for Tampa, leaving the team with George as the starting quarterback heading into 2001 season. With George failing to gel with head coach Marty Shottenheimer because of scheme issues, he was released after getting clobbered 37-0 against the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football.
George finished his Redskins career with 1-6 record, seven touchdowns and nine interceptions.