With free agency set to begin later this month, Redskins.com's Stephen Czarda and Jake Kring-Schreifels preview the 2017 NFL free agent class position-by-position. Today's focus is on the centers and guards.
When Kory Lichtensteiger went down with an injury in the Redskins' Week 3 victory over the New York Giants, Washington had to figure out a new hierarchy at the center position.
The Washington Redskins signed veteran center John Sullivan on Tuesday. Take a look at his career in photos.
Not only was Lichtensteiger placed on Injured Reserve, but 2016 seventh-round pick Austin Reiter had been plucked off the practice squad by the Cleveland Browns just days earlier.
The Redskins decided to move Spencer Long over from guard to center. He had never played center in the NFL since being drafted in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft, but began taking reps at the position during offseason workouts.
To provide Long a strong veteran backup, the Redskins brought in veteran center John Sullivan.
Sullivan, 31, had appeared in 109 games with 93 starts in seven seasons with the Minnesota Vikings. He would appear in 13 games with the Redskins including a Week 14 start against the Philadelphia Eagles as Long was in concussion protocol.
"It felt great," Sullivan said after his lone start of 2016. "I want to keep playing football; I want to be a starter. This my goal ultimately, but I'm just embracing whatever role this team needs from me. If that's to be a backup and come in the game when need be, that's fine, too. I want to be a team player. You can't beat winning and you can't beat playing in the NFL, there's nothing like it."
Even if the Redskins opt to sign Sullivan once again, here's a complete list of veteran guards and center entering free agency via NFL.com:
- Evan Mathis, Arizona Cardinals
- Chris Chester, Atlanta Falcons
- Tom Compton, Atlanta Falcons
- Vladimir Ducasse, Baltimore Ravens
- Chris Scott, Carolina Panthers
- Ted Larsen, Chicago Bears
- Eric Kush, Chicago Bears
Check out these photos of free agent guard Ronald Leary.
Kevin Zeitler, Cincinnati Bengals * Austin Pasztor, Cleveland Browns * Ronald Leary, Dallas Cowboys * Larry Warford, Detroit Lions * T.J. Lang, Green Bay Packers * Oday Aboushi, Houston Texans * Hugh Thornton, Indianapolis Colts * Luke Joeckel, Jacksonville Jaguars * Patrick Omameh, Jacksonville Jaguars * Jermon Bushrod, Miami Dolphins * Brandon Fusco, Minnesota Vikings * Mike Harris, Minnesota Vikings * Tim Lelito, New Orleans Saints * Jahri Evans, New Orleans Saints * John Jerry, New York Giants * Breno Giacomini, New York Jets * Andrew Gardner, San Francisco 49ers * Chance Warmack, Tennessee Titans
- A.Q. Shipley, Arizona Cardinals
- Ryan Wendell, Carolina Panthers
- JC Tretter, Green Bay Packers
- Mike Person, Kansas City Chiefs
- Nick Mangold, New York Jets
- Cody Wallace, Pittsburgh Steelers
- Joe Hawley, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Brian Schwenke, Tennessee Titans
- John Sullivan, Washington Redskins
There are two familiar faces at the guard position that could be looking for new homes in Chris Chester and Tom Compton.
The former Redskins teammates reunited in Atlanta last season with the Falcons, helping the NFC South champs earn a trip to Super Bowl LI.
Leary, meanwhile, appeared in 48 games with 47 starts for the Dallas Cowboys over the last four years. In 2016, the LSU product helped rookie running back Ezekiel Elliot rush for an NFL-high 1,631 yards in 15 games.
As for Warmack, the 25-year-old was a first-round pick for the Tennessee Titans in 2013. He's started all 48 of his NFL regular season appearances, but was held to just two games last season before being place on Injured Reserve with a hand injury.
The most notable name among the free agent centers is 2006 first-round pick Nick Mangold, who was recently released by the New York Jets.
He is a seven-time Pro Bowler and two-time first-team All Pro.