- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 10, 2010

ASHBURN, Va. | Free-agent nose tackle Maake Kemoeatu signed a two-year, $6.975 million contract with the Washington Redskins on Wednesday.

The 6-foot-5, 345-pound Kemoeatu spent last season on injured reserve with the Carolina Panthers after tearing his Achilles’ tendon in training camp.

His agent, Ken Vierra, said in a telephone interview that the tendon is “structurally sound” and Kemoeatu is able to walk and jog but not run yet.

“He’s got to really work it from a physical therapy standpoint. He’s on schedule. He should be ready for training camp, but you never know,” Vierra said.

Kemoeatu has 291 tackles and four sacks in 107 NFL games, including 61 starts, with Carolina (2006-09) and Baltimore (2002-05). The Redskins are expected to shift from a 4-3 alignment to a 3-4 under new defensive coordinator Jim Haslett, and Kemoeatu’s presence could allow tackle Albert Haynesworth to move outside.

The 31-year-old Kemoeatu’s signing represents the latest low-key move in a relatively quiet free agency period so far for Washington under new coach Mike Shanahan and new general manager Bruce Allen. The Redskins signed offensive lineman Artis Hicks on Saturday.

“It’s a new regime there,” Vierra said. “I think that was appealing.”

He said the deal includes various bonus provisions, and while it represents a step down from the free-agent deal Kemoeatu had with the Panthers, they recognize he is coming off a serious injury.

“This is clearly a move by the Redskins to say, ‘We like you. We believe you can be a guy for us. So we’re willing to make an investment and take a risk,’” Vierra said. “And that says a lot.”

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