Redskins make splash with restraint

Updated: March 6, 2010, 8:17 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

ASHBURN, Va. -- Washington Redskins fans woke up to a new routine on the first day of free agency. There was no dramatic overnight deal with a marquee name, the biggest indicator yet of a change of philosophy now that Mike Shanahan is in charge.

Instead of courting, say, Julius Peppers with an over-the-top offer, the Redskins pragmatically sought to solve their biggest problem Friday by inviting veteran left tackle Chad Clifton for a visit. The team also re-signed defensive lineman Phillip Daniels, versatile backup Lorenzo Alexander and offensive lineman Mike Williams.

Clifton ended up re-signing with the Packers late Friday with a deal a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter was worth three years and $20 million.

"This team has so much talent from top to bottom, a ton of young talent on both sides of the ball," Clifton said in a Packers release. "That's undeniable, and it would be foolish not to want to be a part of that. I think we'll have a really good team this coming season. Nothing's going to be easy, and I believe our division will be really tough. But this team has a lot of talent, a lot of potential, and we just have to put that together and see how we do."

By this time a year ago, the Redskins had lured Albert Haynesworth with an offer so large even he couldn't believe it, wrapping up a $100 million contract by 3:45 a.m. Such fast, aggressive deals had become the norm under owner Dan Snyder.

But Snyder yielded the reins to the new brain trust of coach Shanahan and general manager Bruce Allen after last year's 4-12 record.

With the retirement of six-time Pro Bowl left tackle Chris Samuels due to a neck injury, the Redskins need a steady hand to protect the quarterback's blind side.

Clifton has played 10 seasons with Green Bay, starting 138 regular-season games. He went to his first Pro Bowl following the 2007 season as a fill-in for injured Walter Jones of Seattle. At 33, Clifton has been durable, missing only two games over six years until sitting out four last year after spraining his ankle.

The Redskins also could use a right tackle and have shown interest in veteran Tony Pashos, who played in five games with San Francisco last year before breaking his left shoulder blade.

Daniels, who turned 37 on Thursday, was spared in the purge of veterans on the eve of free agency when the Redskins cut 10 players, including seven who are 30 or older. He made a successful return last season after missing all of 2008 with a knee injury and was rewarded with a two-year contract.

Alexander, who has played offensive line, defensive line and special teams, got a three-year deal and will learn yet another new position, working at linebacker in the defense's new 3-4 scheme.

Williams, a former No. 4 overall pick by the Buffalo Bills, made a comeback last season after three years away from the game. He made five starts at guard, three at tackle and could be in the running for the starting right guard position following the release of Randy Thomas on Thursday.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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