Signing Calais Campbell would make sense for the Redskins

Calais Campbell has 56.5 sacks in nine seasons for Arizona. Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Washington Redskins could use help along the defensive line. Calais Campbell can provide that help. It makes sense if they’d target him in free agency.

Pro Football Focus recently pegged him as one to watch, and that’s not a surprise. Is it likely the Redskins pursue? Yeah, I think it is. He’s one of the best defensive lineman available; they want to improve their line. Sort of a good match. There are other possibilities, but, for me, Campbell tops the list.

ESPN’s John Clayton speculated Campbell could receive a three-year deal worth $31.5 million. The question then becomes: Will the Redskins go that high? And might that be enough for Arizona to re-sign him? Given Campbell's consistent performance for a long time, he’ll have several teams seriously interested.

Why he makes sense: Because he fills a big hole and would give the Redskins the presence they’ve lacked up front. Campbell has been an excellent lineman for a while, but when he entered the NFL the question was where he could help most. Some viewed him as in-between positions; his height (6-foot-8) made some wonder about his ability to play with leverage. It hasn’t been an issue. But the way the NFL has evolved, his versatility is a big plus. Campbell has the length and power (300 pounds) to help as a defensive end and is athletic enough to push the pocket in nickel packages (or get off blocks to help against the run). Campbell's early career was spent mostly as a run-stopper, but as Arizona’s defense evolved -- as have others -- his versatility became even more important. Campbell showed he could generate inside pressure and recorded eight sacks last season. He’s done a good job staying in shape and has an excellent reputation, so he should age well the next few years.

Why he doesn't: He turns 31 in September, so how much would the Redskins want to invest in someone his age? Scot McCloughan has said in the past that he does not want to pay big money for free agents 30 or older. Campbell will test that belief. Perhaps he could become this team’s version of London Fletcher, whom the Redskins signed in 2007 when he was 31. He made four Pro Bowls from 2009-12 and was a true team leader. Other than age, however, there aren’t many reasons signing Campbell wouldn’t make sense. They have the money and the need.