“Having him in a second year in this system is very important. I think he’ll be a lot more comfortable. And I think coach [Greg] Manusky will know what we have and get Mason Foster next to him making the calls and helping him out. I think it’s a great fit. We love the speed, love his athleticism. Getting him back here for another year is important to our defense.”
The interior linebacker came to the Redskins from the Buffalo Bills, where he was coming off a Pro Bowl season. He played the 2017 season on a one-year “prove it” deal in Washington. A common thought was that the Redskins wouldn’t be willing to match the price Brown was seeking.
Linebackers began coming off the board Tuesday, as Anthony Hitchens reached a deal with the Chiefs worth a reported $9 million per year. The Lions reached agreements with a pair of linebackers, giving former Giant Devon Kennard a reported three-year, $18.75 million deal and former Bear Christian Jones two years at $7.75 million. Former Titan Avery Williamson reportedly will get three years and $22.5 million from the Jets with $16 million guaranteed. And on Wednesday, the Eagles retained Nigel Bradham, giving the 28-year old veteran a reported five-year $40-million deal.
“I’m happy,” Gruden said. “Playmakers on defense are equally as important as [getting wide receiver] Paul Richardson and [quarterback] Alex Smith. Having Zach Brown run a defense with Mason Foster is a big help and a great start to helping get our defense back on track.”
Having Brown back should help improve a run defense that ranked last in the NFL against the run, allowing 134.1 yards per game. The Redskins are still in the market for an interior defensive lineman to assist with stopping the run.
Washington had already lost a starting linebacker in Trent Murphy, who signed with the Bills for a reported three years and $21 million.