The Washington Redskins eased into the free-agency waters by agreeing to a three-year contract with Vikings guard Artis Hicks on Saturday evening, according to ESPN.com's John Clayton. The Skins have re-signed some of their own players but Hicks, an unrestricted free agent, is the first player signed off another team.
HicksHicks, 31, has been with the Vikings since '06 after beginning his career with the Philadelphia Eagles. He started 27 games for the Vikings and he was a valuable backup on a team that reached the NFC title game this past season. The Washington Post is reporting that Hicks received $3 million in guaranteed money and the opportunity to make as much as $9 million over the course of the deal. He'll likely challenge Mike Williams for the starting spot at right guard.
In other Redskins news, ESPN Insider Adam Schefter is reporting that unrestricted free-agent running back Willie Parker will visit with Washington on Monday. Parker, 29, lost his job to Rashard Mendenhall in '09 and only rushed for 389 yards on 98 carries.
Parker has been banged up the past couple seasons, but he was a prolific runner for the Steelers earlier in his career. He and Redskins starter Clinton Portis are at about the same stages in their careers, but Parker has more speed and quickness. If the Skins determine that Parker's healthy, signing him would make sense. Keep in mind that Shanahan also loves LaDainian Tomlinson, who remains on the street after being released by the Chargers.
Signing Parker wouldn't preclude the Redskins from selecting a running back in next month's draft, but it may allow them to wait until the later rounds.
The Post is also reporting that Ma'ake Kemoeatu will visit Redskins Park on Tuesday. Kemoeatu is recovering from a torn Achilles' tendon, so I don't think teams will be in a huge hurry to sign him. After years of spending wildly in free agency, the Redskins are now being lauded for their patient approach this weekend. Signing guys like Hicks and possibly Parker won't turn the franchise around overnight, but they seem like sound moves at this point.