5 free agents Washington can sign to replace Landon Collins

Ethan Cadeaux
·5 min read

5 free agents Washington can sign to replace Landon Collins originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

The Washington Football Team took care of the Dallas Cowboys in convincing fashion on Sunday but lost one of its most important players in the process.

Safety and team captain Landon Collins has reportedly suffered a torn Achilles. He will have an MRI on Monday to confirm the diagnosis, but the team fears the worst. Collins will likely be out for the remainder of the season.

Seventh-round rookie Kamren Curl came on for Collins on Sunday and will be his immediate replacement. But, if the Burgundy and Gold want to sign a veteran option to replace Collins, they have plenty of options available.

Here are five free agents Washington could sign to replace Collins...

1. Eric Reid

Reid signing with Washington makes plenty of sense.

For starters, Reid played under head coach Ron Rivera for two seasons in Carolina and played well. He was extremely durable for the Panthers, starting 29 games for the team over two years and finished with a career-best 130 tackles last season. 

Last month, Rivera was asked why he thinks Reid has remained unsigned despite coming off one of his best seasons as a pro. Reid  was one of the first players to kneel for the national anthem alongside Colin Kaepernick and has been a leader in the NFL player movement for equality.

Rivera didn't have an answer why Reid remains unemployed but did say that if Collins wasn't on his roster he would sign Reid.

"We’re in a fortunate position where we have Landon Collins. A guy like Eric Reid wouldn’t fit us here. But if we didn’t [have Collins], believe me, I’d call him," Rivera said.

Well, now Collins is gone, and Reid is still available. Perhaps he's the best safety on the market, too. We'll see if his former coach gives him a call.

2. Reshad Jones

Jones, 32, is currently a free agent for the first time in his career after spending the first decade of his professional career with the Miami Dolphins.

A two-time Pro Bowler, Jones was once the highest-paid safety in the NFL after signing a $60 million extension with the Dolphins in 2019.

Last season, Jones played in just four games for Miami as he dealt with multiple injuries. Despite having two years remaining on his contract, the Dolphins chose to release him in March, and he's remained unsigned ever since.

The Dolphins have a young roster and have two of the highest-paid cornerbacks in the NFL in Byron Jones and Xavien Howard. Keeping Jones, who's had injury concerns and is 32 years old, did not make sense for the Dolphins. Yet, it's hard to imagine how someone as talented as Jones is still unsigned almost halfway through the season.

3. Haha Clinton-Dix

Did someone say a reunion?

Washington traded for Clinton-Dix at the deadline in 2018, pairing him with D.J. Swearinger in what was supposed to be one of the best safety tandems in the NFL. It didn't work out. Both players struggled down the stretch of the season, as Washington would drop five of its final six games and miss the playoffs.

After playing for the Bears in 2019, Clinton-Dix signed with the Cowboys this offseason on a one-year deal. However, the 27-year-old was a training camp casualty, as Dallas chose to release him during final roster cuts. 

As Washington saw on Sunday, Dallas' defense is bad. In fact, they've allowed more points through seven weeks of any team in the Super Bowl era. So, if Clinton-Dix couldn't make that roster, how good can he still be?

What Clinton-Dix would bring to Washington is versatility in the secondary. His natural position is free safety, but he's played plenty of strong safety as well, too. At age 27, he's still young enough that if he performed well, Washington could consider keeping him around longer than just the remainder of the season.

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4. Kurt Coleman

Reid is not the only former Panther that Rivera and his staff could call to replace Collins. Enter, Kurt Coleman.

Coleman played for Rivera for three seasons in Carolina and was a starter for the Panthers team in 2015 that made it all the way to the Super Bowl. In fact, Coleman played so well in 2015 that he earned a $17 million extension following the season, by far the biggest payday of his career.

Coleman, like Clinton-Dix, could also bring versatility to the Burgundy and Gold defense. Coleman played free safety under Rivera in Carolina, but most recently played strong safety for the Buffalo Bills last season and has even played a little linebacker in his career. That sounds awfully similar to the role Collins has played for Washington.

At age 32, Coleman would likely be just a temporary fix for Washington's defense rather than a long-term one. But with a secondary that's for the most part still very young, a veteran leader who knows what it takes to win could only help the unit.

5. Tony Jefferson

Jefferson, a three-year starter for the Ravens, was released by Baltimore in February as the team opted to move forward with Chuck Clark as the starter. Jefferson tore his ACL in October last season, and Clark impressed in his absence.

Since then, Jefferson has received interest from multiple teams but has remained patient hoping to find the perfect landing spot. Last month, Jefferson visited the Colts but left Indianapolis without a contract.

While Washington might not be contending for a Super Bowl the way his former team is, there might be no other situation where Jefferson would have as clear of a path to the starting job than in Washington.

Rivera has plenty of options at safety if he wants to bring an outsider in to replace Collins. With the bye week upcoming, there arguably isn't any time better to do it than now.