The Washington Redskins know they must bolster their safety position. One possible solution will be in town Friday.
The Redskins will host strong safety Tyvon Branch for a visit Friday; he arrives in town Thursday night, a source said. (That is, if his flight isn’t canceled or delayed given the heavy snow in the region Thursday). Branch's visit was first reported by Fox Sports' Mike Garafolo.
Branch was once an up-and-coming safety, but the past two years have been tough ones for the former Oakland Raider. The Raiders released him this week after six seasons. The former fourth-round pick in 2008 started 62 of his first 64 games, from 2009-12. But he played only five games the past two seasons combined because of a broken leg and broken foot. He also played eight games as a rookie after separating his shoulder.
Still, at 28, Branch represents potential value in free agency. That is, if he stays healthy and plays at the level he was at in 2012 when the Raiders used the franchise tag on him. Despite his rookie injury, durability was not an issue before the past two years and he’s young enough to recover -- and still in his prime. But the Redskins, or whoever signs him, would have to cross their fingers as to which player they will be getting.
The Redskins, in need of starters at both safety spots, have not done a good job developing or finding any talent at safety in a while. Their free agent solutions over the past five years have been: O.J. Atogwe, Tanard Jackson, Madieu Williams, Brandon Meriweather, and Ryan Clark. And their draft picks have not panned out: Jordan Bernstine, Bacarri Rambo, DeJon Gomes, and Phillip Thomas. None were selected above the fifth round. At least Thomas remains on the roster, so there is still hope for him, but it’s debatable if he’ll develop into a starter (the previous defensive staff did not think he would).
The Redskins re-signed exclusive rights free agent Duke Ihenacho on Wednesday. But he should be viewed as depth, not a solution to the starting lineup. They also have Akeem Davis, who is much better on special teams at this stage in his career.
Branch already has visited with Indianapolis.