Quiet in free agency for most of this week, the Washington Redskins have yet to find an answer at right tackle. Meanwhile, the incumbent, Jammal Brown -- who is rehabilitating a hip injury -- is optimistic that this spring he can prove to coaches that he remains the best option at that position.
The team hosted Buffalo Bills free agent Demetrius Bell last week, but the four-year veteran left Redskins Park without agreeing to terms, and reportedly is drawing interest from the Arizona Cardinals as well.
Other options remain on the market, with San Diego’s Marcus McNeill and the Giants’ Kareem McKenzie also still unsigned. It’s unclear how much interest the Redskins have in them, however.
The right tackle position requires the team’s attention because of the uncertainty that surrounds Brown’s surgically repaired hip. Brown missed all of the 2009 season while recovering from surgery to repair a torn labrum, and has missed seven games over the last two seasons because of lingering problems.
After the 2011 season ended, Coach Mike Shanahan said that Brown needed an entire offseason to rehab and attempt to regain full strength. The coach said the former two-time Pro Bowler’s future with the team would hinge on his ability to recover.
Brown, who has spent the majority of the offseason working with team trainers, said Friday via text message that he is very encouraged by his progress. Brown also said he “most definitely” expects to be fully ready by the time OTAs get underway late this spring.
It remains to be seen whether the Redskins have the same level of optimism about Brown, who is entering the second year of a five-year, $20.25 million contract. This year, he will count for $4.6 million against the salary cap.
The team’s other on-roster options at right tackle could include second-year pro Willie Smith, who played the final four games of the season at left tackle, and four-year veteran Tyler Polumbus, who started four games at right tackle.
If the Redskins don’t succeed in bringing in another veteran, they could draft one. This year’s draft features a number of right tackles expected to be available in the middle rounds. Ole Miss’s Bobby Massie, Cal’s Mitchell Schwartz or Miami’s Brandon Washington are projected to be available in the late-second to mid-third round range, and could be options for the Redsksins, who have the sixth pick of the third round.