Commanders’ NFL free company updates: Washington provides to OL, LB and CB depth


After agreeing to a long-term contract with defensive sort out Daron Payne on Sunday, the Washington Commanders shifted their focus to the offensive line and secondary Monday, agreeing to phrases with linemen Nick Gates and Andrew Wylie and cornerback Danny Johnson, in response to a number of individuals with direct information of the offers. The group additionally claimed cornerback Cameron Dantzler off waivers from Minnesota and signed linebacker Cody Barton to a one-year deal.

The strikes, which got here quickly after the beginning of the NFL’s authorized tampering interval, add depth and place flexibility to an offensive line that was depleted final season and stands to lose a number of veterans in free company. The return of Johnson ensures a key reserve and well-respected veteran sticks round, and the addition of Dantzler boosts competitors in a room that figures to vary much more because the offseason progresses.

Gates — a former Giants lineman who performed sort out, guard and middle throughout his time with New York — agreed to a three-year contract price as much as $18 million, with $8 million assured, in response to two individuals with information of the deal. Free brokers can’t formally signal contracts with new groups till the beginning of the brand new league yr Wednesday.

NFL free company dwell updates

Last season, Gates performed 258 snaps at left guard and 132 at middle, in response to Pro Football Focus. It appears doubtless the Commanders will use him inside, however at 6-foot-5 and 307 kilos, he has related dimension to tackles offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy labored with for Kansas City. Gates may play the identical versatile backup position Wes Schweitzer has over the previous three years and doubtlessly fill in as a starter.

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In September 2021, Gates, 27, broke the fibula and tibia in his left leg throughout a recreation at Washington. He was carted off the sector, and his mom advised the New York Post she feared that her son would lose his leg.

“I wanted him to have a leg and to be able to play with his children when he has them,” Sonja Gates mentioned then. “Football was not foremost on my mind. It was on his. Every doctor we saw, every time he saw a doctor, that was his first question — ‘Am I going to be able to play football again?’”

Gates endured seven surgical procedures and returned in October. During the Giants’ run to the postseason, he began eight of the group’s last 9 video games.

Wylie, who has spent most of his six-year profession with the Chiefs, agreed to a three-year, $24 million contract, three individuals with information of the deal mentioned, giving Washington much more choices up entrance.

The 28-year-old began all 17 video games at proper sort out final season and allowed 9 sacks and 49 pressures, in response to Pro Football Focus. He didn’t surrender a sack within the postseason and allowed only one stress in Super Bowl LVII. He started his tenure with the Chiefs at guard, shifting primarily from proper guard to left and again once more from 2018 to 2020.

His expertise with Bieniemy, whom the Commanders employed in February to take over their offense, is also a boon to the remainder of the road because it learns the coordinator’s system this offseason.

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An undrafted participant out of Eastern Michigan, Wylie signed with the Indianapolis Colts after the 2017 draft and bounced on and off their roster earlier than spending brief stints with the Cleveland Browns and Los Angeles Chargers later that season. He signed to the Chiefs’ follow squad in December 2017, landed a reserve/futures contract in January 2018 and received his first begin in Week 7 after starter Laurent Duvernay-Tardif suffered a season-ending damage.

Everything it’s essential learn about NFL free company

Wylie’s arrival in Washington provides the Commanders flexibility, particularly on the appropriate aspect of the road, the place he’s most skilled. It’s doable the group may transfer Sam Cosmi to protect and depend on Wylie and Cornelius Lucas at sort out, barring further assist. But if Cosmi stays at sort out in a rotation with Lucas, Wylie may present depth and even swing inside. Schweitzer, Trai Turner and Wes Martin are all pending free brokers for Washington.

At the beginning of the offseason, Coach Ron Rivera mentioned it was a precedence for the group to finalize offers with a few of its personal free brokers earlier than wanting elsewhere. Washington introduced again Payne and linebacker Khaleke Hudson on Sunday, then reached an settlement with Johnson on Monday. Johnson’s contract is price as much as $7 million and consists of $2.5 million in ensures, in response to an individual with information of the phrases.

Johnson basically earned his deal within the last stretch of the season, when he collected eight go deflections and 24 tackles during the last 5 video games (three begins).

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“One guy who did step up that really helped us out an awful lot [after the William Jackson III trade] is Danny Johnson,” Rivera mentioned in January. “He continues to be prepared, be ready to play, and every time he’s had an opportunity, he’s helped us out and done a really nice job.”

On Monday evening, Washington introduced in Barton on a one-year, totally assured deal, in response to an individual with information of the matter. The 2019 third-round choose was a reserve inside linebacker and particular groups participant for his first three seasons within the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks. Last season, he began 11 video games for Seattle and totaled 136 tackles, two sacks and two interceptions.

Barton will be a part of a comparatively skinny linebacking corps. At minimal, he’ll compete for a reserve spot on protection and a task on particular groups. At greatest, he’ll compete for a beginning job at linebacker, relying on what the Commanders do in the remainder of free company and the draft.

Washington should attempt to retain security Jeremy Reaves, a particular groups ace, on a brand new deal if it doesn’t use a restricted free agent tender on him first. It additionally wants a backup quarterback — Taylor Heinicke may return except he desires to check the open market — and depth throughout the board.

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