Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

02 Apr 2010

Redskins Sign Willie Parker

At least it's only for one-year. The deal could be worth up to $3.1 million if Parker hits his incentives, which he won't.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 02 Apr 2010

29 comments, Last at 06 Apr 2010, 8:44am by Dean


by DrunkenOne :: Fri, 04/02/2010 - 6:30pm

Willie Parker, Clinton Portis, and Larry Johnson... sick backfield circa 2005

by Ryan (not verified) :: Fri, 04/02/2010 - 7:08pm

To be fair, that's probably the last time Shanny scouted them.

by andrew :: Fri, 04/02/2010 - 6:37pm

Past Willie Parker

Last Willie Parker

Gassed Willie Parker

by Bobman :: Sun, 04/04/2010 - 5:09pm


A shame he hasn't added 100 lbs, then we can call him Repast Willie

Or if the Steelers cut him after he just bought a huge new house and started the Willie Parker Pittsburgh Forever Foundation, then he might be Aghast Willie.

Or if every military man in his family freakishly died in the past year (or he liked to publicly moon people), then he'd be Half-Mast Willie.

Recent nose job: Rhinoplast Willie

Eats nothing but chili for a month: Blast Willie

Romantically pursued by a gaggle of stalkers: Harassed Willie

Converts to Islam, month of Ramadan: Fast(ing) Willie

I really need a hobby....

by Theo :: Sun, 04/04/2010 - 7:22pm

Converts to Islam: Blast Willie

by spatne (not verified) :: Sun, 04/04/2010 - 10:14pm


by Slimbo Slice (not verified) :: Fri, 04/02/2010 - 7:21pm

I'm sure one of those three will get cut before the season starts...

by Ghost In The Shell (not verified) :: Fri, 04/02/2010 - 8:44pm

Why so much hate for Parker? He's shown he cant carry a workload of 300+ carries per season, but he certainly isn't going to hurt you out there. He almost 30, but is fairly low mileage (1253 carrer carries). His body took a lot less physical punishment last year, than it had been accustomed too. I'd say he might prove pretty useful for the skins in a limited role.

by Nathan :: Fri, 04/02/2010 - 9:36pm

If he's still got his legs and isn't, as previous poster funnily punned "Gassed Willie Parker", he seems like a good complement to the Redskins' current backs. Unless they have a fast back with decent hands I'm not aware of.

Gotta say, I like some of the moves Shannahan is making in Washington.

by Anonymous2 (not verified) :: Fri, 04/02/2010 - 10:01pm

Steady decline in ypg from 2005-2008 with only modest improvement last season. DVOA last three seasons: -16%, -2%, -11%. I'd say that he is, in fact, hurting his team if he can't even play at replacement level. Last year shows he can't carry a workload of 100 carries, let alone 300. I think any gain from a Shannahan's back-friendly scheme is going to be offset by going from a bad to worse in terms of the o-line quality.

by An Onimous (not verified) :: Sat, 04/03/2010 - 3:22am

Nit: a negative DVOA is not the same as "not playing at replacement level". His DYAR over the last 3 years is -12, which is about as close as a back can get to replacement level. If FWP has above-average hands or above-average blocking skills, then I don't think it's any stretch to call him a "replacement level" RB.

This isn't to say that paying a replacement level RB 3 million dollars is a smart decision, I just wanted to clarify the distinction between "average" (i.e. ~RB16) and "replacement level" (i.e. ~RB33).

by tuluse :: Sat, 04/03/2010 - 3:36am

Nit pick to your nit pick, a replacement running back is more like ~RB65 or maybe even lower.

by Brendan Scolari :: Sat, 04/03/2010 - 5:01am

Exactly, and that's hardly picking a nit. A 0% DvOA is average, which means Parker is not much below average if his DYAR is -12 (certainly above replacement level, at least unadjusted for the offensive environment). If his hands or blocking are above-average (although as I understand it they aren't) then he could potentially be an average back at least.

by Pat F. :: Sat, 04/03/2010 - 12:57pm

Having a Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement of negative twelve is not above replacement level.

by jimbohead :: Sat, 04/03/2010 - 8:28pm

Not above a theoretical league-wide replacement level. But the real question is, is he better than the very real replacements that were alternatives?

by Brendan Scolari :: Sun, 04/04/2010 - 12:05am

Ah I see, I was thinking of DVOA instead of DYAR. I still disagree with the measurement though, for much the same reason as jimbohead said.

Donald Brown and Leon Washington were below replacement level? No, sorry. I'd love to know who all these freely available practice squaders and street free agents were that would have been better than those two.

by drobviousso :: Sat, 04/03/2010 - 2:31pm

He's a bad fit not because of his DYAR, his blocking (which I would say is adequate but not great), or his hands (which are bad). He's a bad fit because he doesn't have the vision to run behind a dedicated zone blocking scheme. He ran much, much better behind a FB, and has said many times that he's more comfortable doing so.

I've watched every single in game snap he's taken, except for the handful I've listened to on the radio, and it's clear he zeroes in on the hole called, and rarely deviates from it. He's at his best in a traditional power blocking scheme with a FB leading the way, like what Cowher ran. Arien's no FB scheme doesn't work well for him, and I think Shanny's will be worse.

by RickD :: Sun, 04/04/2010 - 2:27am

Dan Snyder is badly in need of an intervention.

Maybe the Skins should focus more on getting an OL that will block better?

by Never Surrender (not verified) :: Sun, 04/04/2010 - 10:14am

He's an upgrade over Betts. Although, technically, Parker's coming into the 3rd RB spot, not the #2, nevertheless I don't anticipate both Portis and Johnson staying healthy. So in my mind we acquired Parker as a change-of-pace back and backup.

I think that the Skins' backfield signings have taken care of our needs for a year. Which is good, because we have other, much more drastic, needs to address.

by capt. Anonymous (not verified) :: Sun, 04/04/2010 - 12:39pm

I kind of like the approach the Skins have taken. They need help everywhere, except wide receiver and tight end. If I'm not mistaken there are not 22 rounds in the draft. This means that the roster is going to have to be filled with free agents(i.e older player that are unwanted by there last team). They signed Willie to a one year deal that is highly based on incentives. Whats the big deal?

I'm praying for them to get Jimmy Clausen in the draft and am of the mindset of the three year outlook not the next year outlook.

These are the Redskins players under 25 who I have rated as above average. This number needs to get up to 7 or 8 if the Skins want to be an up and coming type team.

Fred Davis
Brian Orakpo
Devin Thomas
Malcolm Kelly
Jeremy Jarmon.

These are the up front players(OL,QB, DL, LB) who I have rated as beasts(most really good team have at least 5 of these guys). I don't think the Skins can really be haralded as on there way until they have at least 5 of these.

Orakpo, Haynesworth

The Skins if they don't miss on 1st and 2nd round draft picks can have at most 4 beasts to start the season. So, realisticly they are probably at least two years of good drafting away from being super competitive.

by Nathan :: Sun, 04/04/2010 - 1:02pm

The Skins don't need help at receiver? Whaaaaa? Listen, I like Santana a lot but he's getting old and isn't taking over games like he occasionally did in the past. As far as I can tell after him they have nobody. And I sort of think Cooley's numbers are inflated because of this.

That said, I do like the moves that they're making in FA. Their roster needed to be really shaken up.

by capt. Anonymous (not verified) :: Sun, 04/04/2010 - 2:00pm

I think Thomas and Kelly can be counted on to go along with Santana Moss.

by Nathan :: Sun, 04/04/2010 - 3:48pm

I think Thomas has some potential but still you're putting a lot of eggs in the basket of two guys who have <800 yds receiving combined in 4 years and 3 TDs. Although the veteran solution in Randle El clearly wasn't working out so maybe it is right to sink or swim with your young guys and hope they make some strides in year 3. I do think Thomas has a much better shot of being the guy from the little I've seen. Hopefully with a HC with as much cred as Shanahan he'll be able to survive long enough in DC to actually rebuild / develop some players. Shanahan's offense is my favorite to watch (well, besides Navy) and I do think Bradford would fit nicely into it. The kid throws the slant well and throws really, really well on boots both right and left.

by Nathan :: Sun, 04/04/2010 - 10:41pm

I do think Bradford would fit nicely into it

Well nevermind.

by C (not verified) :: Sun, 04/04/2010 - 8:48pm

Everybody seems to be talking of fast Willie Parker but this isn't the guy from 2005. He's gained weight and lost speed. Back then you'd be shocked to see somebody catch him from behind but not now. He doesn't have that same burst. The funny thing is you could say the exact same thing about Portis. Portis's legs and mid section are visibily bigger and he's also visibily slower. What happens when you have a skinny speed guy that's not super speed anymore? Willie Parker is a backup RB.

They have been saying good things about Portis in camp, but I've seen him slowly decline each year. Part of me thinks that Larry Johnson has the most potential of all of them next year and people aren't even that high on him.

by The Other Ben Johnson (not verified) :: Mon, 04/05/2010 - 11:44am

If they're all demonstrably mediocre at this point, why pick up Parker and Johnson but drop Ganther and Mason, or even Cartwright (for nothing)?

Is this primarily a "win-now plus lockout-prediction" move?

It's strange to pick up old guys instead of even looking at the younger RBs on your own roster. You know, since you're Mike Shanahan and can develop any running back on the face of the planet (Maurice Clarett) into a two thousand yard monster. Why not do so with the cheap young guys, then trade them for draft picks (Clinton Portis) that you can turn into more cheap young guys (Tatum Bell)?

I find all of this to be very strange. And I feel like I've seen it before. Oh, wait. I have. I am a Redskins fan.

Is Shaun Alexander still available? What about Priest Holmes? Marshall Faulk is still in pretty good shape, right? Maybe Barry Sanders. He's certainly got fewer carries on his odometer than Emmit Smith does. What about He Hate Me? That's a name Dan Snyder would probably recognize. It would sell jerseys.

by The Other Ben Johnson (not verified) :: Mon, 04/05/2010 - 11:46am

The good thing about He Hate Me jersey sales is that revenue isn't shared with the rest of the league. So can we just pick him up, please, Mike? I'm trying to run a business over here. Business first. Football second.

by Kyle Orton's secret shirt pocket (not verified) :: Tue, 04/06/2010 - 12:15am

It's interesting to see people talking about Mike Shanahan's 'running back friendly' scheme. Isn't said scheme at least partially predicated on a specific zone blocking? I'm in the UK and don't follow the NFC East closely, so haven't seen much of the skins... So I have a question for the board in general. Do the redskins have the light, mobile lineman this zone scheme needs? And do they as individuals, or as a unit, have the experience of running this scheme?

by Dean :: Tue, 04/06/2010 - 8:44am

Short answer? No.

Rabach might be OK at C, but the other guys are typical big guys. Their RG, Mike Williams, is the same guy who ate his way out of the league a few years back. I suspect that even in elementary school, he wasn't being called "mobile." "Mobile Home," maybe.

That OL is in tatters. It not only lacks the zone blocking type players, it lacks players of ability regardless of the scheme.