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2015 Free Agency Outlook: Inside Linebackers

Posted Feb 23, 2015

With free agency set to begin in less than one month, Redskins.com's Stephen Czarda previews the 2015 NFL free agent class position by position. Today's focus is on the inside linebackers.

While there was some uncertainty as to who would replace longtime Redskin London Fletcher inside the 3-4 defense entering last season, Keenan Robinson not only grabbed hold of the position early on in training camp, but he would burst onto the scene with 134 tackles.

And he did so in just 13 games.

The Texas product landed on Injured Reserve each of his first two seasons, tearing both pectoral muscles.

Fully healed, though, he showed the athleticism that warranted the Redskins to take him in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Alongside Robinson in the starting lineup for most of the season was veteran Perry Riley Jr.

Riley Jr. has become a consistent face in the starting lineup for the Redskins over the years, as he’s now started 46 games over the last three seasons.

In 2014, he recorded 115 tackles.

Will Compton, meanwhile, provided solid contributions in both role situations and as a fill-in starter.

The Nebraska product, who signed with the Redskins as a college free agent in 2013, recorded 61 tackles. Against the St. Louis Rams, he recorded a career-high 17 tackles.

Also returning to the Redskins in 2015 is Adam Hayward. While he thrives in his role as the special teams captain, he does have 13 career starts over his eight-year career.

While the Redskins will certainly add to their linebacking corps, at least for training camp, whether or not they look to add another veteran or two in free agency hasn’t been determined.

If they elect to do so, though, here are some of the names that will be looking for new homes soon:

Inside linebackers

  • Akeem Ayers, New England Patriots
  • Jasper Brinkley, Minnesota Vikings
  • Larry Foote, Arizona Cardinals
  • Mason Foster, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Andrew Gachkar, San Diego Chargers
  • David Harris, New York Jets
  • Mark Herzlich, New York Giants
  • Nate Irving, Denver Broncos
  • Jamari Lattimore, Green Bay Packers
  • Casey Matthews, Philadelphia Eagles
  • Rey Maualuga, Cincinnati Bengals
  • Josh Mauga, Kansas City Chiefs
  • Rolando McClain, Dallas Cowboys
  • Kelvin Sheppard, Miami Dolphins
  • Brandon Spikes, Buffalo Bills
  • Jason Trusnik, Miami Dolphins
  • D.J. Williams, Chicago Bears

Rey Maualuga was consistent for the Bengals during his first six seasons in the NFL, recording at least 59 tackles and 12 starts each year.

In 2012, he logged a career-high 122 tackles. He can also provide some game changing plays through turnovers, as he has five career interceptions and has forced six fumbles.

Mark Herzlich has proven tough both on and off the field over the years, as his total tackles number has increased in each of his four seasons while also overcoming Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer.   

Andrew Gachkar, meanwhile, played under Redskins defensive coordinator Joe Barry, who was the Chargers’ linebackers coach, during his four seasons in the NFL.  

Last season he recorded a career-high 49 tackles in 15 games.

RELATED LINKS:
-- 2015 Free Agency Outlook: Outside Linebackers
-- 2015 Free Agency Outlook: Interior Defensive Lineman 

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