The Washington Redskins cut 22 players Saturday, trimming their roster to the NFL-mandated 53 players. Here’s a closer look at the final cuts:
Most significant move: Cutting defensive end Cullen Jenkins. A week ago, he wasn’t anywhere near Washington, but the Redskins signed him Monday and then cut end Stephen Paea. The Redskins wanted to see what Jenkins had left and had him play in the fourth and final preseason game in rain-drenched Tampa. Though Jenkins made some plays behind the line and recorded a sack, it wasn’t enough. The problem was that Washington’s line includes a few players at a similar level, which made the decision difficult along the front. But one thing the Redskins absolutely needed was youth up front. That’s why they opted to keep undrafted rookie Anthony Lanier (and cut draft pick Matt Ioannidis) instead of a player such as Jenkins. The Redskins want to develop Lanier’s athleticism.
Most significant non-move: Keeping quarterback Nate Sudfeld as their No. 3 passer. Sudfeld was going to make it all along, based on several talks in recent weeks. But it’s significant for one reason: It shows how the team is trying to prepare for potential life without Kirk Cousins as the starter. That’s not to say they don’t believe in Cousins; they do. But they also might reach a point in which his production does not warrant the contract he wants (or that the market might dictate). So the Redskins wanted a young quarterback to groom behind Cousins and Colt McCoy. Some in the building view Sudfeld as a future starter, perhaps within a couple of years. If that’s the case, the Redskins could always use the franchise tag on Cousins this offseason but then move on if no deal is reached, and the only option is a $34 million franchise tag fee.
Rookie class: The Redskins have only four of their seven draft picks on the 53-man roster after cutting fifth-rounder Ioannidis. The defensive end from Temple had a hard time adjusting to nose tackle in a 3-4, a role the Redskins still think he could eventually play, but the transition was tough. Lanier’s development also hurt him. The Redskins earlier had placed linebacker Steven Daniels and running back Keith Marshall on injured reserve. The four draft picks on the final 53: receiver Josh Doctson, linebacker Su’a Cravens, corner Kendall Fuller and Sudfeld. But you have to also include two undrafted rookies on this list -- Lanier and running back Robert Kelley. Both were long shots when camp opened, but each showed enough to warrant a spot.
Running men: The Redskins' running back situation will be one to watch in the next few weeks. They waived Mack Brown three days after he rushed for 149 yards vs. Tampa Bay and scored on a 60-yard run. That was a mild surprise for this reason: Starter Matt Jones has a shoulder injury. He missed the last two preseason games because of it (he wouldn’t have played in the finale anyway, but also did not practice during the week, either). So that means the Redskins' backs are Jones, Chris Thompson and Kelley, who showed a few positive traits this summer (vision, toughness, quick feet, desire for pass protection). Still, there are questions, and it wouldn’t be surprising if the Redskins still reached out to a veteran, whether someone who was cut or remains unsigned (such as Pierre Thomas). But they do want to re-sign Brown to the practice squad.
Redskins moves: WR Maurice Harris, DL Cullen Jenkins, TE Logan Paulsen, TE Marcel Jensen, LB Carlos Fields, RB Mack Brown, FB Joe Kerridge, OL Takoby Cofield, CB Mariel Cooper (waived/injured), DL Matt Ioannidis, DL Corey Crawford, WR Kendal Thompson, WR T.J. Thorpe, DL Corey Crawford, S Geno Matias-Smith, OL Josh LeRibeus, DL Jerrell Powe, LB Lynden Trail, OL Nila Kasitati, OL Isaiah Williams, LB Mike Wakefield, OL Vinston Painter.