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Who survives the cut at the bottom of the roster?

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Paying attention to the guys who don’t have big contracts

Late July is important in the NFL for two key reasons:

  • heartbreaking injuries that affect NFL rosters
  • watching the drama for players who are “on the bubble”

Let’s face it; there’s no question about players like Trent Williams, Josh Norman, Ryan Kerrigan and Jamison Crowder. Those guys are making the roster.

But training camp provides opportunity for late round draft picks and undrafted free agents to make an impression and earn the right to live the dream.

Anthony Lanier, a UDFA who has become an integral part of the defensive line, springs to mind.

I thought I’d anticipate Training Camp, which starts on 26 July according to my diary, by looking at the bottom of the roster. One common way to look at the interesting camp battles is to find key positions (DL: Stacey McGee, Matt Ioaniddis, Anthony Lanier, Ziggy Hood) and analyze the players’ relative strengths, weaknesses, experience and value to the team. But we’re not gonna do that in this article.

Instead, I want to ask the question a bit differently today.

One way to identify the ‘value’ of players on the roster is to look at the salary cap hit. The Redskins have 18 players with a salary cap hit of between $555,000 and $631,000 this season, and they represent #46 to #63 on the roster in terms of cap hit. That means that these guys are likely to be among the “bubble” players in camp, and their fates may be determined by ability & willingness to play special teams, or by injuries to other players.

Here’s the list of 18 players, listed in descending order of salary cap hit, listed by their position on the Redskins depth chart (according to Our Lads):

Rob Kelley ($631,000) - He was the starting running back in the 2017 opener. The college UDFA has had his share of fans and detractors on Hogs Haven, and has generally gotten a lot of public support from Jay Gruden. Fans are split on the question of whether he makes the roster in 2018, following a ‘17 season, where he was often injured and had mediocre production, and the ‘18 offseason that saw the Redskins draft Derrius Guice in the second round.

Maurice Harris ($630,000)- Another college UDFA who has spent time on both the Redskins practice squad and regular season roster. He has 12 catches for 128 yards in his career, but had a beautiful 36 yard TD grab against the Vikings last season. At 6’3”, 200 pounds and 25 years of age, Harris offers measurables, but lacks pedigree. Harris did return some kickoffs last season after Chris Thompson was injured. Is there room for him on the 2018 Redskins?

Byron Marshall ($630,000) - Acquired late in the season from the Eagles practice squad, Marshall is a smallish 3rd down back who could back up Chris Thompson, and who can also line up at receiver, offering scheme flexibility. He was injured after recording 5 carries and 6 receptions in three games for the Redskins last season.

Kevin Hogan ($630,000) - The Redskins 3rd quarterback was acquired via trade from the Browns prior to the draft this offseason. The cost was not high, as the Redskins simply swapped 17 spots in the 6th round to get Hogan from the Browns. If the Redskins don’t keep 3 quarterbacks, then Hogan would have to beat out Colt McCoy, who has a $3m cap hit, but is also the only quarterback on the roster that has previously played for Jay Gruden.

Phil Taylor ($630,000) - The 30 year old former first round pick seemed to have earned the starting nose tackle job last season before he was injured in preseason and lost for the year. He hasn’t played a meaningful snap on an NFL football field since 2014. Still, Taylor may have the skills to beat out younger players, IF the coaches believe he can stay healthy and hold up over the 16 game regular season. It’s very possible that that ship has already sailed.

Matt Ioannidis ($630,000) - the 5th round pick in 2016, IoanMan is only on this list because of the immense value he offers to the Redskins in terms of his rookie contract. He is a virtual lock to make the Redskins 53-man roster and to see plenty of snaps as an integral part of the DL rotation.

Jeremy Sprinkle ($624,129) - Drafted in 2017 in the 5th round, Sprinkle doesn’t face much competition at the TE position. As the ‘youngster’ behind Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis, Sprinkle represents solid depth at TE into the future. He is probably a roster lock.

Chase Roullier ($591,795)- A player who was a fan favorite, but not guaranteed a roster spot at this time last season, last year’s 6th round draft pick took advantage of the injuries that hit the Redskins offensive line last season to cement his role as the starting Center. You can write his name in ink on your Redskins roster sheet.

Josh Harvey-Clemons ($576,080) - Another draft pick, JH-C was taken in the 7th round of last year’s draft, and he played well on special teams last season. Clemons is fighting a positional battle in a deep linebacker group, and his special teams experience may help him hold onto his roster spot, but he has no guarantee of a spot on the final 53.

Joshua Holsey ($575,239) - Holsey is the other player taken in the 7th round of the ‘17 draft by the Redskins, and the defensive back faces the same kind of fight as Harvey-Clemons. His year of experience may help him out here, but a lot of young players like Stroman, Texada and Danny Johnson will be looking to unseat him, and with the Redskins’ need for a punt returner on the roster, one of them could conceivably knock Holsey off of the roster. The selection of Adonis Alexander in the supplementary draft merely made an already-crowded CB room even more packed.

Kenny Ladler ($555,000) - A safety who first entered the NFL as a 2014 UDFA, Ladler played in the CFL in 2016 & 17 before getting a contract with the Redskins for 2018. He could be a rare CFL player who finds his way onto an NFL roster.

Robert Davis ($555,000) - He was the only Redskins player drafted in 2017 who didn’t make the 53 man roster for the opening game of the season. He spent most of last year on the practice squad, though he did get called up for a look late in the year, but was injured almost immediately. The Redskins may not feature a lot of star-power at wide receiver, but they have a lot of depth and there will be many players competing for the final 3 roster spots, some with better special teams credentials than Davis. He may be looking at a replay of his 2017 experience.

Pete Robertson ($555,000) - This 2016 UDFA has managed to hang around the league for three seasons, and actually played in 4 games for the Redskins last year. He offers depth at linebacker, but a lot would probably have to go wrong for the Redskins to suit him up on gameday in 2018.

Tyler Catalina ($555,000) - One of the 10 UDFAs in camp with the Redskins last season, Catalina surprised a lot of fans by making the roster last year. With the injury to Arie K, and the issues the Redskins face at LG, Catalina has a chance to make the roster as a backup offensive lineman in 2018, though he may have to beat out a player with flexibility as a Center to make it happen. Tyler is probably the very definition of a player “on the bubble” in the 2018 training camp.

Kyle Kalis ($555,000) — Another of the 10 UDFAs in camp with the Redskins last season, most fans thought it would be Kalis, and not Catalina, who would make the ‘17 roster. Kalis faces the same challenges as Catalina in 2018, and it is highly unlikely that both players can make the roster.

Click here for Kyle Kalis video link

Tavaris Barnes ($555,000) - A fringe player since 2015 who has spent time on and off of practice squads, Barnes hasn’t been on a team’s regular season roster since 2015, and the defensive end faces a huge challenge to break into the Redskins DL rotation. He looks like a camp body, and another player quickly racing toward the end of his NFL dream.

Alex Balducci ($555,000) — A 2016 UDFA OL, Balducci was on the 49ers roster for 2 games in his rookie season, but has been a practice squad player ever since. He looks like a camp body.

Isaiah Williams ($555,000) - A 2-year practice squad player, this offensive lineman seems to be hanging onto his NFL dream by his fingernails. This may be the year when he reaches the end of his tether.

So, there are 18 players who don’t represent much salary cap commitment for the team. They range from confirmed starters like Chase Roullier to guys who are barely hanging on to an NFL career.

There is no chance that all eighteen of these players make the final 53-man roster at the end of Training Camp.

Poll

Which receiver is more likely to make the team?

This poll is closed

  • 38%
    Robert Davis
    (636 votes)
  • 47%
    Maurice Harris
    (779 votes)
  • 13%
    Neither one will make the final 53
    (222 votes)
1637 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Will Kevin Hogan make the final 53?

This poll is closed

  • 38%
    Yes
    (603 votes)
  • 61%
    No
    (949 votes)
1552 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Will Rob Kelley be on the 53 man roster on opening day against the Patriots?

This poll is closed

  • 38%
    Yes
    (599 votes)
  • 61%
    No
    (945 votes)
1544 votes total Vote Now

Poll

What do you think about Phil Taylor?

This poll is closed

  • 32%
    He will be on the Redskins 53-man roster in 2018
    (494 votes)
  • 22%
    He won’t be a Redskins, but he’ll be on an NFL roster in 2018
    (344 votes)
  • 44%
    His NFL career is over
    (681 votes)
1519 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which offensive lineman makes the 53?

This poll is closed

  • 53%
    Catalina
    (794 votes)
  • 22%
    Kalis
    (332 votes)
  • 1%
    Balducci
    (22 votes)
  • 22%
    None of these guys makes the team
    (331 votes)
1479 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Josh Harvey-Clemons and Joshua Holsey were both Redskins in 2017. What happens in 2018?

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    They both make the 53
    (519 votes)
  • 40%
    JH-C makes the 53, Holsey doesn’t
    (577 votes)
  • 8%
    Holsey makes the 53, JH-C doesn’t
    (119 votes)
  • 15%
    Neither of them makes the 53
    (215 votes)
1430 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which of these fringe players has the best shot at making the 53 man roster?

This poll is closed

  • 17%
    Pete Robertson
    (232 votes)
  • 5%
    Tavaris Barnes
    (79 votes)
  • 14%
    Kenny Ladler
    (202 votes)
  • 62%
    Byron Marshall
    (850 votes)
1363 votes total Vote Now