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PRO FOOTBALL: Redskins add more muscle to defense

WASHINGTON—After a cautious start, the Washington Redskins made their first big move of free agency, luring former Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Jason Hatcher with a four-year, $27.5 million contract, according to a person familiar with the deal.

Hatcher agreed to terms Thursday, according to a person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the contract had not been signed. He gives the Redskins a much-needed pass rush from the defensive line to supplement linebackers Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan.

Hatcher was one of the day’s several moves aimed at upgrading the defense of a 3–13 team. The Redskins also agreed to a one-year contract with free-agent linebacker Darryl Sharpton, according to another person familiar with the deal who also spoke on condition of anonymity because the contract had not yet been signed.

The team announced that it signed defensive end Clifton Geathers and that receiver Santana Moss had signed his contract, a one-year deal reached on Tuesday.

Hatcher, 31, has played eight seasons with the Cowboys, but he didn’t become a regular starter until 2011. He had 11 sacks last year, including two against the Redskins in a 31–16 Cowboys win at Dallas in October, and was picked to his first Pro Bowl.

Sharpton has started 19 games over four seasons with the Houston Texans, including eight starts last year after Brian Cushing went down with a knee injury. He could be a candidate to replace inside linebacker London Fletcher, who is expected to retire, and could also help improve the Redskins’ struggling special teams.

Geathers has been a backup for four teams over four NFL seasons. He spent last year with the Philadelphia Eagles. He is the nephew of James “Jumpy” Geathers, a 13-year NFL veteran who played for the Redskins from 1990–92.

The Redskins were still searching for solutions at safety. Ryan Clark, who played for the Redskins in 2004–05 before leaving for eight seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, was among the free agents who visited Redskins Park on Thursday.

The Redskins spent the first two days of free agency making modest signings while losing out in the bidding for bigger names. They’ve added a No. 2 receiver (Andre Roberts), a potential starting guard (Shawn Lauvao) and a special teams contributor (Adam Hayward).

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