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Willis the first free agent to visit Redskins

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Seattle offensive tackle Ray Willis became the first free agent to visit Redskin Park when he came to Ashburn on Wednesday.

Willis,  26, could supplant veteran Jon Jansen as the right side starter, something Stephon Heyer failed to do in his second season last year.

After hardly playing his first three years for the Seahawks, when Redskins coach Jim Zorn was coaching Seattle’s quarterbacks, the 6-foot-6, 315-pound Willis started 10 games last year. An NFL personnel executive termed Willis, who played at Florida State, “A tough kid with extremely long arms.”

Jansen has a contract that makes him more expensive to cut than keep because of signing bonus acceleration, but he’s 33 and he missed virtually every snap of two of the past four seasons because of major leg injuries. Heyer, 25, has overachieved for a one-time rookie free agent but has yet to convince the Redskins that he can be a true starter.

The Raiders and Seahawks are also interested in Willis, whose addition would allow the Redskins to focus their attentions on filling the holes at strongside linebacker and left defensive end with the rest of their $6 million in salary cap room (which also has to accommodate the rookies they’ll pick up in April’s draft).

- David Elfin

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About the Author
David Elfin

David Elfin

David Elfin has been following Washington-area sports teams since the late 1960s. David began his journalism career at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, the University of Pennsylvania (B.A., history) and Syracuse University (M.S., telecommunications). He wrote for the Bulletin (Philadelphia), the Post-Standard (Syracuse) and The Washington Post before coming to The Washington Times in 1986. He has covered colleges, the Orioles ...

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