By Adam Aniba
After a slew of mid-level signings during the initial hours of free agency, Washington made a waiver wire claim for Vikings cornerback Cameron Dantzler.
After being selected in the 3rd round of the '20 draft, Dantzler was named to PFWA All-Rookie Team. Dantzler was the only rookie defender in the NFL to record an INT, FF and FR in the same game during the 2020 season.
Through his first two seasons in '20 & '21, the cornerback allowed an impressive passer rating of 82.5 when targeted.
At only 25 years old, Dantzler has played in 35 games (started 26), registering 149 tackles, 17 passes defensed, 3 interceptions and 3 fumble recoveries.
Releasing Dantzler saved Minnesota $2.74M against this year's salary cap. His release had more to do with the emergence of teammates Andrew Booth and Duke Shelley, as opposed to Dantzler's performance.
Missing 7 games in '22 and 8 games the previous two seasons due to injury is the biggest knock on the former Mississippi State cornerback.
Dantzler's inability to stay on the field will be something to monitor for the Commanders. After re-signing Danny johnson, the former Vikings CB will compete for playing time against Rachad Wildgoose, Christian Holmes and others with Benjamin St-Juste and Kendall Fuller entrenched as the starters.
Although it's likely a draft pick or two will be added to the competition, Dantzler brings savviness and experience to the cornerback room, which should bode well for him.
Coming into the league Dantzler's wiry frame was an issue, along with his overall ability in run support. Working with Fuller will certainly help his maturation.
Getting some blame for the Vikings 26th ranked pass defense didn't help his cause, but Dantzler has displayed growth with his overall field awareness and ability to disrupt slants. His length helps him in press coverage as well, which Del Rio could emphasis more in '23.
The Commander's free agents additions didn't create much buzz, but if Dantzler can stay healthy, Washington could have a valuable depth piece to a cornerback group that needs a boost.
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