After finishing tied for fourth in the NFL in sacks allowed, the Washington Redskins are intent on improving an offensive line that regressed mightily last season. In addition to a couple of free agent signings and draft picks, Washington continued their offseason makeover by acquiring offensive tackle Jammal Brown from the New Orleans Saints last Saturday in exchange for a pair of conditional draft picks.

Washington received the former Pro Bowl lineman for a mid-round draft pick that will be contingent on the Redskins’ success in three scenarios next year.

According to ESPN.com, if the Redskins win nine games next season, reach the playoffs or newly acquired quarterback Donovan McNabb gets selected to the Pro Bowl, Philadelphia (who traded McNabb to Washington in April) will receive Washington’s third-round pick and New Orleans will get Washington’s fourth. If none of the aforementioned scenarios happen, Philadelphia will get Washington’s fourth-round pick and New Orleans will receive the third-round pick.

If New Orleans receives Washington’s third-round pick, then the Redskins will get a 2011 fifth-round pick back from New Orleans. But if Washington’s third-round pick goes to Philadelphia, then the Saints will send a 2011 sixth or seventh-round pick back to the Redskins. If Brown plays 90 percent of the plays next season or makes the Pro Bowl, then Washington will send its 2012 sixth-round pick to New Orleans.

Although complicated, the idea of acquiring a Pro Bowl-level lineman was a simple one for Washington after seeing long time stalwarts Chris Samuels and Jon Jansen depart from the team over the last two seasons. Samuels retired this offseason and Jansen was released in 2009. Randy Thomas, a six-year starter at right guard, was also released in March.

In attempt to replace their services, the Redskins will now pair Brown with fourth overall selection, Oklahoma left tackle Trent Williams and newly signed lineman Artist Hicks to give Washington an infusion of talent along their offensive front. Brown and Williams will be expected to start at both tackle positions although it has not been decided where and Hicks is slated to start at right guard.

The 29-year-old Brown made the Pro Bowl in 2006 and is expected to be the final piece in Washington’s offensive line makeover. Brown will first have to fully recover from hip and sports hernia injuries that forced him to miss the entire 2009 season. The 2005 draft pick from Oklahoma only has one year remaining on his $3.62 million tender that he signed with New Orleans before the trade but could be extended with a productive season.

 

Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO