NFL

Redskins announce signing of special team standout Hayward

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The Canadian Press
3/12/2014 2:33:35 PM
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WASHINGTON -- The Washington Redskins have turned to a familiar name associated with a notorious blunder as they try to fill the biggest hole on their roster.

Ryan Clark, who was allowed to leave Washington nearly a decade ago when they decided that Adam Archuleta was the better option at safety, was scheduled for a visit to Redskins Park. The team on Wednesday was also planning to host defensive end Antonio Smith, although another of its targeted players -- cornerback Corey Graham -- decided to sign with the Buffalo Bills.

In addition, the Redskins announced the signings of receiver Andre Roberts, guard Shawn Lauvao and special teams standout Adam Hayward. All three agreed to their deals shortly after the start of the league's open market period Tuesday afternoon.

There was another addition: a one-year deal for free agent tackle Bruce Campbell, a 2010 draft pick who sat out last season with a shoulder injury and has yet to start an NFL game. His signing continued a modest approach to free agency despite salary cap money to spend after a 3-13 season.

Campbell would provide some competition for Tyler Polumbus at right tackle, although the Redskins were expected to pursue a proven starter at the position. Campbell's deal is worth $710,000, according to The Washington Post.

The Redskins' initial free agency moves were noteworthy for two reasons: They represent a more pragmatic approach now that general manager Bruce Allen has been given control of the roster, and they didn't include a safety.

Most of the top available safeties were snapped up within hours of the start of free agency. Jairus Byrd, T.J. Ward, Donte Whitner and Antoine Bethea are off the board. The Redskins made a play for Mike Mitchell, but he chose to sign with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Redskins face uncertainty at both safety positions. Incumbents Brandon Meriweather and Reed Doughty are both free agents; Meriweather has battled injuries and inconsistency, while Doughty is more valuable in a special teams role. Washington drafted a pair of safeties last year, but Phillip Thomas missed the season with a foot injury and Bacarri Rambo lost a starting job after struggling early in the season.

Clark turns 35 this year and is on the backside of his career, but he is expected to field offers from several teams before accepting an offer. He would add leadership to a defence that is losing captain London Fletcher, who plans to retire. The Redskins rue the fact that they didn't have Clark in his prime: He had eight productive seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers after Washington didn't re-sign him after the 2005 season, while Archuleta became one of the biggest free agent busts for a franchise that has had more than its share.

Clark announced on ESPN that he would be visiting the Redskins, although his appearance on the Bristol-based network might have led to complications for his free agency plans. Late Wednesday, he tweeted: "Is this a sign? Crazy traffic in Conn. Might miss the flight to DC!"

Later, he tweeted: "Man, now my flight is delayed! Sign .2? Come on man!"

Adam Hayward (Photo: Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
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