Shanahan on the legacy of London Fletcher
With London Fletcher saying on Wednesday that he intends to retire at season’s end, it’s time to start thinking about a replacement for the 38-year-old potential hall of fame linebacker.
The easy answer is Perry Riley, the Redskins’ other starting inside linebacker. Riley, 25, has spent the past four seasons playing alongside Fletcher, who said one of his primary reasons for returning this season was to help Riley develop.
“I think he’s at that point where Perry doesn’t need me anymore,” Fletcher said. “He’s the player I know he can be.”
Riley leads the Redskins in tackles with 103—five more than Fletcher. Riley, however, is an unrestricted free agent after the season so the Redskins, of course, would need to re-sign him.
The other inside linebackers currently on the roster are 32-year-old Nick Barnett, who has spelled Fletcher at times this season, and special teamer Josh Hull.
The Redskins had viewed Keenan Robinson as a potential starting inside linebacker. But Robinson’s career has been set back by pectoral muscle tears each of the past two seasons.
If the Redskins do not believe Fletcher’s replacement is on the roster, they can address the need in next year's draft, in which they holds picks in rounds 2-7, or via free agency.
The NFL’s $36 million salary cap penalty also expires after the season, which means they'll have the cap space to be major players on the open market.