DeAngelo Hall has not been a good CB in a long time, if he ever was one at all. Two teams, the Falcons and Raiders, gave up on Hall in less than a full calendar year. In 2008, Hall was so bad that the Raiders released him after just 8 games, even though they had given up 2nd and 5th round picks to acquire him, and paid him an $8 million signing bonus during that same offseason. In 2010, according to a stat invented by Football Outsiders, Hall had the 2nd worst “success rate” in the NFL at 39%. He also gave up the 3rd most yards per target in the NFL (10.5), and the 3rd worst yards after catch (5.8). It didn’t get much better in 2011.
But at least he intercepted passes. Lately, not so much. Two so far this season, three all of last season.
Let’s pretend for a minute that DeAngelo Hall was a free agent this past offseason, and the Redskins re-signed him to a 3 year deal worth $24 million. He would cost $6.5 million against the cap in 2012, $8 million in 2013, and $9.5 million in 2014. We’d all laugh at them, right? Well, that’s pretty much what they did. Hall has 3 years left on a terrible contract that the Redskins could have gotten out of whenever they would have liked, with a relatively miniscule cap hit. By cutting him, they could have freed up money to go out and find themselves a new, better CB. In short, the Redskins had an opportunity to upgrade the position while also shaving some money off the cap. They chose not to seize that opportunity.
Last Sunday, in case you didn’t see Hall getting ejected from the game in Pittsburgh and you feel like sitting through an excessive 30 second commercial on NFL.com, you can watch that here. That kind of behavior is nothing new, so it’s not like Hall is bringing some sort of leadership qualities to the table like another struggling Redskin defender, London Fletcher.
And yet, keeping in mind that the below contracts are more complex than the simple numbers below will suggest (especially since almost none of Hall’s money is guaranteed), Hall would have been the third highest paid corner from this past free agent class, which included a number of players that were also wildly overpaid:
To me, there’s no difference whatsoever between wild overspending on outside free agents and senselessly hanging onto overpaid players that aren’t playing well, which is precisely what the Skins did with DeAngelo Hall.
Taking it a step further, it’s hard to criticize the Redskins’ draft, seeing as they more than justified the decision to trade away so many assets for the face of their franchise for the next decade, not to mention finding a running back in the 6th round that is on pace for over 1400 rushing yards and 10 TDs. But the decision to take Josh LeRibeus in the 3rd round instead of a defensive back, in hindsight, seems like a miss. The Redskins’ offensive line last season was a mess, so it made sense to reload on the OL. However, the poor play of the OL was due in part to so many players missing time.
Last season, Chris Chester and Will Montgomery played every snap, but here’s how many snaps their other starters missed:
- Jammal Brown – 385
- Trent Williams – 463
- Kory Lichtensteiger – 812
This season, every offensive lineman with the exception of Trent Williams has played every snap this season (Williams has missed 64 snaps), and the OL has been monumentally improved.
Meanwhile, when the Redskins were on the board in the 3rd round, there were a handful of intriguing corners still on the board:
- Jamell Fleming – Went 80th overall to the Cardinals. 242 snaps this season.
- Bill Bentley – Went 85th overall to the Lions. 177 snaps this season.
- Jayron Hosley – Went 94th overall to the Giants. 224 snaps this season.
- Brandon Boykin – Went 123rd overall to the Eagles. 274 snaps this season.
I haven’t studied Bentley as much as the other three CBs above, but Boykin, Hosley, and Fleming have all had their moments. The Redskins were never really going to seriously contend this season, and it might have been more beneficial to let a rookie CB take his lumps and gain invaluable experience getting significant playing time this season rather than slogging through another year with Hall being generally terrible.