February 24, 2009

Skins Release Washington

Marcus Washington has always been a fan favorite, but his recent injury history made him one of the most expendable players on the Skins roster.

And he is the first big name to go.

Washington has battled hamstring and ankle injuries throughout the past two seasons and had clearly lost a step when he actually made it onto the field. He was a liability partly due to his performance, partly due to his salary.

Cutting Washington frees up $4 million in cap space this offseason for Washington. It won't really enable the Skins to break the bank in free agency meaning that we will undoubtedly see someone else get the axe in the next week or so.

I really think it would be a mistake to cut Jason Taylor. The guy is just one season removed from double-digit sack totals, and two removed from winning defensive player of the year. He battled injuries and got a late start with the team as well.

Taylor was a major disappointment, but I think he could be a huge presence this year if healthy. The Skins really have few options at DE anyway, so I would take the cap hit and hope Taylor pans out. A good performance would validate their investment in him and I think he will have one this year.

So that leaves us with Shawn Springs and Cornelius Griffin as two players who could be cut to free up cap space.

Both are older and injuries have kept them from playing 16 games a season the past few years. Griffin's play has declined and Anthony Montgomery and Kedric Golston are younger, cheaper options. The defensive line play has been underwhelming to say the least and Griffin is certainly not the future at DT so it would be wise to cut him.

Springs can still play at a high level when healthy, but the guy has to be drained both mentally and physically. His father Ron has been in a coma the past two seasons and Springs has missed huge chunks of the 2006 and 2008 seasons with injuries.

You don't like to cut talented players, but Springs has a lot working against him. Cutting him would free up $8 million in cap space and he really hasn't shown the ability to stay on the field on a consistent basis.

Taylor might have some of the same issues as the other two, but there's no denying he has the potential to be far and away the most dominant player on the defense. I still think he's capable of 12-14 sack season. I don't see Griffin having the same impact, and I don't believe Springs can stay on the field.

The Skins might cut Taylor, but it would be a serious mistake.

The Skins also released Ryan Plackemeier leaving them with just one punter on the roster. Zac Atterberry is the number one punter from the prestigious Lindenwood University, and has yet to kick in an NFL game. Kicking woes will continue next year in DC.

Also, HB Blades is the present starter at OLB in the aftermath of Washington's release. Blades is the heir apparent to MLB London Fletcher and really doesn't have the speed and athleticism needed for OLB. The Skins might want to look to sign a guy like Bart Scott or draft someone to get some depth at linebacker.

Byron Westbrook was signed yet again. The young corner will make his third bid to win a roster spot this preseason. Best of luck to the DC native who has always been one of my favorite preseason players to watch.

Elsewhere, The Colts are preparing to cut Marvin Harrison whose career has been in a freefall since the 2007 season. Harrison is still getting top money ($13 million a year) for zero production and refuses to take a pay cut. Throw in a fishy murder case, and the Colts are definitely ready to part ways with Harrison. What a sad way for an illustrious career to end.

The combine is wrapping up and I really hope that there's some way the Skins will be able to land Aaron Curry the OLB from Wake Forest. He is widely being considered the best player in the draft and his combine numbers did nothing to discourage that.

Pat White performed well, as did Beanie Wells and Darrius Heyward-Bey. Meanwhile, the O-line target are plentiful for the Skins to choose from.

More to come on the combine and free agency.

No comments: