London Fletcher says the Washington Redskins’offseason efforts to acquire a franchise quarterback played a significant role in his decision to re-sign with the team.
The 37-year-old Fletcher, the inside linebacker who is both captain of Washington’s defense and the most respected player in the locker room, became a free agent this spring. After a lengthy negotiation, he signed a new contract on April 16.
After the 2011 season, Fletcher – who led the NFL with 166 tackles – expressed a desire to return to the Redskins, but he closely monitored the team’s offseason activities before agreeing to a new deal.
In March, the Redskins acquired the second overall pick of the NFL Draft by trading the sixth and 39th overall picks of the 2012 draft, as well as first-round picks in both 2013 and 2014 to the St. Louis Rams.
The move ensured that Washington would be in position to draft either Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III – the top two quarterback prospects in the draft. Indianapolis took Luck first overall, and Washington selected Griffin second.
Fletcher said the move eased his concerns because, at long last, it appears the Redskins may have solved their inconsistencies at quarterback – something he was reluctant to endure at this late stage of his career. Since he joined the Redskins in 2007, Washington has had five different starting quarterbacks.
“Obviously, them being able to get into that second pick was something huge for me,” Fletcher said. “I’m a guy in my 15th season. To go into another year with not having a quarterback was not very appealing to me. I’ll tell you that. So, when they were able to make the trade, knowing we would be getting either Andrew Luck or him, that definitely made the situation a lot brighter as far as coming back here. So you know, I’ve had enough years of other stuff.”
Fletcher acknowledged that there could be growing pains for the Heisman Trophy winning quarterback. But he believes he has the pieces in place around him to experience success quickly.
“You know, I think the way I look at it is from the big picture standpoint, they’ve added some playmakers on the offense, some outside receivers, some guys who can make plays after the catch,” Fletcher said. ”Fred Davis is back. We got Hightower back. Roy Helu, he played a lot, so there’s a lot of pieces on that offensive side of football. Santana [Moss is] looking great, so we’ve got a lot more weapons. And with Robert, it just allows him to do his job.
“You know everybody has a job to do. It’s not all on him. On defense, we have a job to go out and do. I think I like our talent, our football team, so we just go out and work hard each day and see what happens.”