Source: Redskins TE Jordan Reed cleared from protocol, released

ASHBURN, Va. -- Washington Redskins tight end Jordan Reed was cleared from the concussion protocol, a source confirmed Wednesday, and was released Thursday, as expected, a source told ESPN's Field Yates.

Reed suffered the concussion on a helmet-to-helmet hit in August, during the third preseason game. His clearance from the protocol was first reported by The Athletic. Redskins coach Ron Rivera had said Saturday that Reed remained in the protocol.

With Reed's release, Washington will save $8.5 million against the salary cap, with $1.8 million in dead money. Reed had two years left on his contract.

Reed, 29, missed all of last season because of the concussion, his seventh documented one since he started playing college football. His career has been marked by multiple injuries, and Reed has never played more than 14 games in a season. A source close to Reed said the tight end wants to continue playing.

He had struggled for two seasons because of ligament damage to his big toes but looked good in training camp over the summer. But in the third preseason game, Reed suffered a concussion after Atlanta Falcons safety Keanu Neal delivered a helmet-to-helmet hit. Reed nearly returned in Week 2, getting cleared by the team, but after symptoms returned, an independent neurologist failed to clear him. He did not practice after Sept. 12 and was put on injured reserve Oct. 14.

Washington made Reed the focal point of its passing attack under former coach Jay Gruden. He responded with a big season in 2015, when he played a career-high 14 games. That season, Reed caught 87 passes for 952 yards and 11 touchdowns -- all personal bests.

After that season, the Redskins signed Reed to a five-year extension worth up to $46.75 million, and he made his lone Pro Bowl after the 2016 season. But from 2016 to 2018, thanks to injuries, he averaged only 49 catches per season with a combined 10 touchdowns. He has 329 career receptions with 24 touchdowns.

Washington selected Reed in the third round out of Florida in the 2013 draft and he provided immediate help, catching 45 passes in nine games before injuries ended his rookie season. Reed proved to be a mismatch for linebackers or safeties, especially when aligned in the slot. The Redskins loved his ability to quickly win versus a defender, making him an ideal target.

The Redskins have a big need at tight end. Last year's starter, Vernon Davis, retired -- though it was unlikely they would have re-signed him anyway. Washington visited with Greg Olsen, but he ended up signing with the Seattle Seahawks.

Washington already released two former starters this month: cornerback Josh Norman and wide receiver Paul Richardson. After those moves, the Redskins have approximately $54 million in salary-cap space.