A lot of the news and ideas that we’ve covered so far this offseason have had to do with players that we would like to see Washington bring in via free agency or the NFL Draft but rarely do we touch on players who might be shown the door.
Every year, there are always some departures that might catch us by surprise, based on caliber or timing. For instance, last year it was both, with veteran RB Adrian Peterson being shown the door during training camp right before the season. A few months before, it was Josh Norman who was cut, and the offseason before that, Semaje Perine.
So who might get the ax this offseason? Will it be someone who takes us by surprise, or rather a long time coming? Here are 7 people who we think might be on their way out.
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Right off the bat, this is more of a potential release based on what Washington might have in rookie S Kamren Curl, rather than a lack of production from Landon Collins. The veteran had a bit of a slow start to the 2020 season, but things were coming around right before he suffered a torn Achilles tendon that ended his season. Of course, you know the rest; Curl stepped in at the SS spot and became an absolute revelation, easily taking over the starting spot and earning he place on the defense for years to come. On an even playing field, you could argue that Collins and Curl are pretty close when competing for the top spot, but when you consider that Collins brings a $17.2 million cap hit in 2021, and Curl costs just over $808,000, then moving on is justifiable. Of course, it’s not as easy as cutting ties and going with the cheaper option. If Collins were to be released, he would burden Washington with a $13.8 million cap hit next season, according to Spotrac. There isn’t a great answer. It’s tough to get rid of Collins, and impossible not to play Curl. Whatever Washington ends up doing, there is always going to be a downside.
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It’s hard to predict what the running back room is going to look like next season, but we can reasonably expect that both Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic will still be around. Peyton Barber, on the other hand, might be gone. He only carries a $1.67 million cap hit, but his production last season may not be enough to justify a roster spot, especially if we see RB Bryce Love finally get onto the field. Barber had 94 carries for 258 yards (2.7 yards per attempt), but he did add 4 touchdowns as well. Depending on what the coaches see in Barber, it’s very possible that he could keep a roster spot, but a release is very possible as well.
WR Steven Sims Jr.
(AP Photo/Daniel Kucin Jr.)
The undrafted free agent popped in the 2019 season, becoming a great kick-return man and a solid option in some gimmicky plays. However, Steven Sims Jr.’s sophomore season did not have any of that excitement. He was largely absent from the offense, and his presence as a punt returner will likely cause many fans to cringe, as he led the league in missed punts. Sims may be able to turn things around in the future, but at this point, it seems more likely that he’ll be off the team by next season, opening a roster spot for someone else.
FS Troy Apke
(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
The Troy Apke experiment…didn’t go well in 2020, to put things lightly. While he was named the starting free safety in training camp, it quickly became clear that he was in over his head, routinely getting beat deep in coverage and missing brutal tackles in the open field. Washington eventually benched Apke for Deshazor Everett, which was a massive improvement. At this point, I don’t really see any way that Apke is on the team in 2021, especially with the rise of both Everett and Jeremy Reaves, not to mention the fact that Washington is likely to shop for a safety this offseason as well.
LG Wes Martin
(AP Photo/Barry Reeger)
Going into the 2020 season, there was a hole to fill at the left guard position, and many had high hopes that second-year player Wes Martin might be the one to do it. Unfortunately, that didn’t seem to work out too well. Martin started the first 5 games of the season, and then was benched for Wes Schweitzer, who played much better down the stretch. Schweitzer is under contract once again in 2021, and the dead cap hit from Martin is next to nothing, should he be released. Washington may keep him around for depth and development, but at this point, it’s just as easy to see him gone.
RB Bryce Love
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Those of us who watched Bryce Love’s incredible college career at Stanford are still holding out hope that he can get healthy and contribute to the offense in Washington, but it’s getting harder and harder to justify his place on the roster. After getting drafted in the fourth round in 2019, Love is yet to make his NFL debut after a lingering knee injury has kept him out of action. There was some hope that he would see the field this season, but a setback kept him on the IR, and his status remains unknown. It will eventually come down to how Love looks this offseason, but at this point, the team has every right to move on.
LT Geron Christian
(AP Photo/David Richard)
Much like Wes Martin, there were hopes that Geron Christian could finally make a leap this year and become Washington’s starting LT, holding down the spot vacated by Trent Williams. Instead, Christian started the first six games of the season, and then was placed on the IR, being replaced by Cornelius Lucas, who played very well in his absence. Lucas is under contract next season, and the team also has 2020 fourth-round pick Saahdiq Charles that will be competing for the spot, someone who was thought of as a first-round talent. Suffice it to say, the road to playing time seems pretty tough for Christian.