The secondary of the Washington Redskins is slow. Stanford Routt is not. Washington's corners are undersized. Stanford Routt is not. So, what do you get when you put two and two together? A perfect compliment, of course, if the Redskins act fast.
On Monday, Routt became an unrestricted free agent when the Kansas City Chiefs surprisingly released the starting cornerback. Within hours, the 29-year old cleared waivers and became available to 31 other franchises.
At least three teams have shown interest in Routt, according to Evan Silva of NBC's Pro Football Talk. But so far, the Redskins are not in the conversation.
That can change in a heartbeat because Routt has attributes and skills Washington can benefit from.
At 6'1", 195 pounds, he has excellent size to match up with tall and aggressive receivers like Dallas' Dez Bryant. But Routt's greatest asset is his world-class speed that rivals Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III.
As a rookie in 2005, Routt was faster than Griffin by over one-tenth of a second. That doesn't sound like much, but it is. According to Wikipedia, Routt's 4.27 40-yard dash stood as the fastest time ever recorded at the NFL's Combine. That was until 2008, when Tennessee running back Chris Johnson surpassed it, with a remarkable 4.24. Last spring, Griffin sprinted to a 4.41 time in Indianapolis.
Seven years later, Routt may have lost a step, but he's still faster than 99% of the cornerbacks in the NFL. So why did he get cut by the Chiefs and the Oakland Raiders in a span of 10 months?
According to RealRedskins.com blogger Rich Tandler, Routt has the "eighth-worst performance [rating] among cornerbacks who have played at least 50 percent of their teams’ snaps."
But in Routt's defense, Kansas City is in a state of flux. At 1-7, head coach Romeo Crennel recently relieved himself of defensive coordinator duties. And despite some one-on-one struggles, the Chiefs secondary ranks fifth overall in the AFC.
Another writer who covers the Raiders believes Routt's release from both teams had more to do with his attitude than performance. According to Marcus Allan Krause of SilverandBlackPride.com, Kansas City's move "reeks of conduct detrimental to the team and seems more personal than most personnel moves."
Krause also claims that Routt refused to re-work an "out of whack" contract with the Raiders, when the team [that drafted him in 2005's second round] was financially struggling.
Bad attitudes raise red flags, but the Redskins should still take a chance on Routt. With him at corner, Washington would immediately upgrade its most glaring weakness. The move would allow DeAngelo Hall to roam full-time at free safety and Routt's moodiness could be reigned in by secondary mentor and former NFL head coach Raheem Morris.
Money-wise, the Redskins would have to come up with $1.8 million to satisfy what the Chiefs will be on the hook for, if Routt remains unsigned. Washington can then decide on a future contract for Routt, if he produces on the field.
Player agent Vann McElroy downplayed Stanford's character issues, by expressing shock with his client's release. But he may not have to sweet talk potential suitors too much, because some of them may not care to listen.
On Friday morning, Routt flew to Michigan to work out with Detroit. The Lions have one of the league's most desperate secondaries, after a rash of injuries depleted the unit in the season's first nine weeks. But, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Routt left without a deal.
“You’ll know the news when there is news to be known,” Routt told the Free Press after his workout. “I’ve got several different things on my plate right now, so we’ll just see how it goes.”
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