Offseason questions: Should the Redskins re-sign Tyler Polumbus?

Tyler Polumbus (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Tyler Polumbus (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

The questions keep rolling regarding the Redskins’ offeseason. Today, we return to the offensive line – particularly right tackle.

Tyler Polumbus started 16 out of 17 games in 2012 after taking over in training camp for Jammal Brown, whose problematic hip prevented him from playing.

But now Polumbus is set to become a free agent and the Redskins must decide whether to re-sign him or let him walk. Or, they could decide to re-sign him as a backup and  pursue another player to start at right tackle.

Polumbus joined the Redskins with the 2011 season already in progress after he was  released by Seattle. He filled in briefly at left guard, and saw time at right tackle down the stretch of the season.

Last season marked the most extensive playing time of Polumbus’ five-year career, but he had some ups and downs as a full-time starter. At 6-foot-8, 305 pounds, he had great size and decent mobility as he got off the line for downfield blocks. Polumbus struggled at times, however, with getting low, and that made it difficult for him to get leverage on some blocks.

The Redskins’ offensive line benefited from continuity throughout the season, and at the end of the year, Polumbus said he expected to improve with more playing time. He has now played in this zone-blocking scheme in Denver, Seattle and Washington. That comfort level with the system and coaches makes him a plus on the roster. But in what capacity? It remains to be seen whether Washington’s coaches see him as a starter, a backup or an expendable player.

The other in-house options at right tackle appear rather sparse. Washington drafted Tom Compton in the sixth round last season, but he didn’t see any game action. Second-year pro Maurice Hurt filled in for a concussed Polumbus for one game, but he doesn’t appear to be the answer.

This year’s draft class – like the free agent pool – boasts a number of tackles, however,

Alabama’s D.J. Fluker, Florida State’s Menelik Watson, North Carolina’s Brennan Williams, and UVA’s Oday Aboushi are all expected to be available in the second- to fourth-round range of the draft.

Polumbus would likely come cheaper for the salary-cap strapped Redskins than the majority of the tackles on the open market, and he has the edge of experience over a rookie. But if the Redskins believe they can draft a player whose talent and athleticism can offset a lack of experience and upgrade that position, they likely would pull the trigger.

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