Spencer, Hatcher and Browner among Redskins’ free agent targets

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Anthony Spencer, a pass-rush specialist, last played for the Cowboys. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The Washington Redskins continue to look for ways to upgrade their roster, and today are expected to host a few veterans while hoping for a meeting with another.

Former Cowboys pass rusher Anthony Spencer and former Steelers safety Ryan Clark are scheduled to visit Redskins Park today. The Redskins also hope to host Cowboys defensive lineman Jason Hatcher on Friday, according to people familiar with the team’s plans.

Former Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner also is scheduled to visit the Redskins Thursday evening, a source said.

Spencer made the switch from outside linebacker to end this past season, but played in only one game after having microfracture surgery. In 2012, he racked up 11 sacks. At 30, he faces questions about his ability to remain effective following his injury and surgery. He probably would be used as a situational pass rusher if he were to sign with Washington. The Redskins do not have plans to re-sign backup linebackers Rob Jackson or Darryl Tapp as of now, sources say.

We touched on Clark yesterday. But the former Steeler did arrive in Ashburn late last night after having his flight delayed yesterday afternoon. I asked a couple league insiders about his capabilities at the age of 34, and they said he can still tackle, lacks the range that he once had, but does offer strong leadership, which could benefit Bacarri Rambo and Phillip Thomas.

Clark tweeted,”Hello there Northern Virginia. It’s been a while. Pretty darn happy to see you again. Let’s do business.”

We’ll see if the two sides can get something done. Clark’s agent, Joel Turner, declined to share which other teams have made inquiries about his client, but he did say the safety has other suitors.

Hatcher last season recorded 11 sacks (more than Washington’s defensive linemen combined) and had 41 tackles. He will turn 32 this year, so it’s hard to say if he could maintain that effectiveness. He also has other suitors. He visited Seattle, and is in Oakland today. There’s a chance he could sign with Oakland and not come here for his visit.

Browner is coming off suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. The league reinstated him last week, but he must miss the first four games of this season. The 6-foot-4, 221-pound fourth-year pro last season recorded 18 tackles and an interception in eight games. His best season came in 2011 when he had six interceptions, 54 tackles and two touchdowns.

Meanwhile, two people familiar with Washington’s deliberations said not to rule out the possible returns of Brandon Meriweather and/or Reed Doughty. Both remain unsigned. The belief is that Meriweather could improve a year further removed from his 2012 ACL surgery. And Doughty always remains the reliable special teams contributor, who winds up contributing on defense. With options dwindling, Washington could turn back to them.

Elsewhere, the Philadelphia Eagles pulled off a trade for Saints running back Darren Sproles this morning. The Redskins had inquired about him, but someone familiar with the situation had called it “a long shot” that the team would pull off that move. Another said this morning that the Redskins never made a hard push because they were hesitant to part with any of their draft picks.

Mark Maske also contributed to this report.

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Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.
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Keith McMillan · March 13

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