ASHBURN, Va. -- Their seasons ended the same way; now it’s fair to wonder if their Washington Redskins' careers are over, too. Four longtime Redskins ended up on injured reserve this season and, because of age or decreasing roles or salary cap hits, each one might have played his last game with Washington.
That’s not a guarantee, of course, but it’s also a possibility. If that’s the case, the Redskins would lose wisdom and leadership. But in some cases, they likely would have sought an upgrade anyway.
Here are the long-standing Redskins whose seasons have ended, what they’ve added over the years and what the team would miss:
TE Niles Paul: He became the latest player to land on injured reserve, making the second year he’s ended up there. He was placed there Monday because of a problem with the labrum in his shoulder. That will end up being 24 missed regular-season games out of 32. Paul has been a solid backup and special teamer in Washington since he arrived as a fifth-round pick in 2011, beginning his career as a receiver. His blocking has been good this season -- at times excellent -- whether as a fullback or tight end. The hard part in losing Paul is replacing his fullback duties. There’s a chance tight end Derek Carrier will be activated from the physically unable to perform list this week, but he’s not the blocker Paul is at either position. But Paul was not playing a whole lot, receiving as little as five snaps and a high of 19 this season. He’s the sort of player coaches love because he can do whatever is asked, but after two straight seasons ending on injured reserve, it’s worth wondering about his future in Washington. He has another year left on his contract, with a $2.3 million cap hit. But that's a lot for a third tight end, even a passionate, hard-working one.
NT Kedric Golston: He was mostly a backup throughout his career, in addition to an excellent special teams player and locker room leader. You need respected players in each unit and Golston certainly was one. Based on his one-year deal, Golston was no lock to make the roster (he received no signing bonus) and the Redskins erred by not doing more to bolster their front line. That’s not on Golston. The Redskins must spend the offseason improving up front, which means moving on from Golston, a sixth-round pick in 2006, is a high possibility.
S DeAngelo Hall: He was starting to feel comfortable at safety, but that also meant taking chances that did not always help the defense. But the coaches liked him also for his on-field leadership -- he’s a stronger voice than most in the secondary and he’s had a good career in Washington since arriving in 2008. However, at age 33, coming off a torn ACL after dealing with multiple leg issues in 2014 and with a cap hit of $5.06 million in 2017, it’s hard to imagine Hall returning (at least for that price). The Redskins will have a lot of needs defensively and must start in the front seven. How much they get done at safety remains to be seen, but it will be addressed in some fashion.
C Kory Lichtensteiger: The Redskins considered upgrades at center last offseason when Lichtensteiger was coming off nerve damage in his shoulder. He has one year left on his contract, but would count $4.05 million vs. the cap; there would be a $550,000 hit if he’s released. Lichtensteiger has been a scrappy player for Washington since arriving in 2010, playing both guard and center. Coaches loved him because of how well he handled the nuances of the center position. But the Redskins have been looking for a replacement for a year, whether it becomes Spencer Long or someone else they find in the offseason.