First the bad news -- I guess that depends who you ask though -- per Redskins Insider:
Wide receiver/return specialist Jerome Mathis, the only outside free agent the Redskins have signed this offseason, has been released, according to the team. Mathis, who has been injury prone and has had legal issues, was a longshot to make the team in the first place.
That he was a longshot was just one of a few reasons I thought his signing in the first place had many of us scratching our heads. Besides the legal and injury problems, he didn't represent the tall possession receiver we needed and so the presumption was that we brought him in to return kicks. Which is strange, since we just resigned Rock Cartwright to do the same. And I thought Cartwright was just about the most consistent and capable returners in the NFC last season, perhaps in the entire NFL.
Redskins Insider says that Mathis' fate was decided by the draft; with Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly on the roster, the receiver spots available shrank by degree. Props to all the people who said that the Mathis signing was low risk as we severed ties with him promptly when it became apparent he had no value. All's well that ends inconsequentially.
The good news is from the Official Site and for the newest Redskin, a killer name for sure:
The Redskins have signed undrafted rookie defensive tackle Jonathan "J.T." Mapu, the team announced on Thursday...
Mapu, 6-4 and 290 pounds, played four seasons at the University of Tennessee and totaled 65 tackles (32 solo), three sacks, 6.5 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
Mapu, 24, missed the 2004-05 seasons at Tennessee so that he could participate in a two-year church mission.
Interesting contrast in character; we cut a guy who allegedly assaulted his pregnant girlfriend (wife? Maybe, says the state) to sign a guy who postponed potential riches -- perhaps a stretch, he's not at all guaranteed a spot on this roster -- to do mission work. I'm not so cynical to suggest that the contrast was intentional, and wish Mapu (Mapu! That's a name) the best of luck.
He's going to have to squeeze by either Ryan Boschetti, Lorenzo Alexander, Kedric Golston, Anthony Montgomery, and Cornelius Griffin to get a spot, though. I don't know if/why the team would keep 6 defensive tackles, although Alexander could be kept at a number of positions. Predictions, reader(s)? Practice squad or can this guy push for a spot?
[Note by Skin Patrol, 05/16/08 10:53 AM EDT ] Forgot to extend much love to CptChaosSidekick who, as per usual, beat me to the story.