The Washington Redskins wanted to bolster their defensive line this offseason -- and they got an early jump on doing just that Tuesday.
A source confirmed that the Redskins signed veteran defensive end Ziggy Hood, who played in only two games this past season, to a one-year deal. The Redskins could sign Hood because he was not on a roster at season’s end.
Washington needs to strengthen the line because it has a free agent nose tackle in Terrance Knighton, who, at this point, is unlikely to return and another one in long-time Redskin Kedric Golston. But the end/tackle is, at best, 50-50 on returning. Plus, end Jason Hatcher, whom the team wants to keep around, is mulling retirement. Even if Hatcher wants to come back, the Redskins likely would have to do something with his cap number ($8.5 million).
But Hood is a former first-round pick who has plenty of experience in a 3-4 front. He was a former first-round pick by Pittsburgh, where he spent his first five seasons. He made 46 starts for the Steelers before signing a four-year deal with Jacksonville. There were questions about whether or not Hood was a great fit as a 3-4 end in Pittsburgh -- he was a three-technique tackle at Missouri. The Jaguars moved him inside, but he was a reserve who was reportedly on the bubble in his second training camp before suffering a torn planter fascia that landed him on injured reserve.
One difference in the Redskins’ 3-4, however: The linemen play more one-gap as opposed to the Steelers’ two-gap. But Hood also could help as an interior rusher when the Redskins use their nickel or dime packages -- in which the linemen are used more as they would be in a 4-3 front.
Hood is considered more of a run-stopper and has 12.5 career sacks, all but one coming with the Steelers. Jacksonville released Hood last season after placing him on injured reserve. After the Jaguars let him go, he signed with Chicago where he played two games before he was cut in December. The Jaguars cut him despite having signed him to a four-year deal in 2015.