The Redskins closed out football year 2009 with slash and burn, the reality of new management, a new coach and no NFL salary cap all smashed into Redskins Park together last night as the team released ten players., two of them career Redskins and five with six or more seasons in Washington. The team will save seventeen million dollars
against the cap in salary. The released players:
Tailback Ladell Betts, career Redskin, eight seasons, Ladell was drafted in 2002 in head coach Steve Spurrier's first year. Ladell's career highlight is the 2006 season when he stepped in for an injured Clinton Portis and ran over 1100 yards on just nine starts, and whipped off an incredible five game stretch of one hundred yards or more rushing, a bright spot in an otherwise dreary 5-11 2006 season. Ladell suffered ACL and MCL tears in 2009 game ten against the Cowboys.
Right guard Randy Thomas, eleven seasons overall, seven as a Redskin, Randy was one of the Jetskins arriving in 2003 along with Laveranues Coles, Chad Morton and John Hall, Randy went out on injured reserve early in the season two of the last three years.
Tailback and kick returner Rock Cartwright, career Redskin, eight seasons (drafted in 2002), Rock was the epitome of a team player, carrying the ball when asked, then taking a back seat when Clinton Portis arrived, then finding a late career niche as a successful kick returner.
Receiver Antwaan Randle El, eight seasons total, four as a Redskin, Antwaan was among the the group of extremely high profile free agents signed before the 2006 season, along with Brandon Jacobs, Adam Archuleta and Andre Carter, Antwaan's production was steady though his effectiveness seemed to wane, he will be remembered for being flexible enough to play all three receiver positions and for being a terrible punt returner.
Defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin, ten seasons overall, the past six as a Redskin, Cornelius was in the class of free agents signed by head coach Joe Gibbs his first year back in 2004.
Quarterback Todd Collins, fifteen seasons total, four as a Redskin, Todd swept in with offensive coordinator Al Saunders in 2006 as a veteran of Al's system from Kansas City. Todd, the Pride of Walpole Massachusetts, will always be revered in this town for his four game run propelling Washington into the 2007 playoffs after starter Jason Campbell went down with a dislocated kneecap.
Cornerback Fred Smoot, boomerang Redskin, nine seasons total, seven as a Redskin in two separate stints, Fred left Washington before the 2005 season as a brash, trash talking cover corner with sticky fingers. He returned in 2007 as a role playing butterfingers with a large cushion between him and the receiver.
Curly R favorite tailback Marcus Mason, three years total, parts of two as a Redskin, Marcus burst onto the scene as an undrafted free agent in 2007, made the cut, was moved to the practice squad, returned in 2008, was cut in a bullshit political move just before the season, spent that season with Baltimore and the New York Jets, was back in the 2009 offseason, made the cut, was let go then brought back with injuries to Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts. A strong ball carrier, his blocking improved over three seasons but was never up to par and he never ingratiated with the staff(s).
Fullback Eddie Williams, 2009 seventh round pick, did not make final cuts, was signed back to practice squad and then brought over to the active roster after tight end Chris Cooley broke his ankle in game seven versus the Eagles, Eddie did not see any live action.
Defensive end JD Skolnitsky, rookie free agent long shot free agent defensive end, did not make final cuts in 2009 and was signed back to the practice squad, he did not see any live game action.
That is quite a list of casualties. But with no salary cap and therefore a chance to unload anyone you want with no cap penalty or dead cap space implications for the future, the team let them all go. Perhaps some of these players will be back at a reduced rate, if the team has openings at the margins heading into training camp and wants veterans for continuity.
Kind of a bummer when things like this happen, even when you know they are coming and even when you know some of these players need to move on.
Curly R will look at each of the veterans and long time Redskins individually, and each will receive a fitting farewell.
Ladell Betts celebrating his fourth quarter touchdown in the Redskins 27-17 2009 game nine victory over the Broncos: Gerald Herbert / AP photo from here.