Up until 4:00 pm on 17 March, long snapper Nick Sundberg had been the longest tenured Washington player on the roster, but the news came out early, tweeted initially by Sundberg himself and confirmed later by the team, that the free agent long-snapper would not be re-signed by the front office.
Sundberg isn’t the only veteran long-snapper to leave an NFL roster in 2021. Other veterans remaining on the market include former Dallas Cowboy LP Ladouceur and former Tennessee Titan Matt Overton.
Of course, some veterans who were potential free agents did stick with their teams. Don Muhlbach re-signed with the Lions for another season and Patrick Scales agreed to terms with the Bears for 2021. The Texans, who initially appeared to be moving on from Jon Weeks, are expected to re-sign him and waive Anthony Kukwa.
Assuming Weeks does return to Houston, Washington would be the only team without a snapper currently on the roster. The Cowboys signed Jake McQuade, who had been with the Rams since being signed as an undrafted free agent in 2011, while the Titans signed two long snappers in March — 11 year veteran Morgan Cox from the Ravens and 2019 college free agent Matt Orzech, who has tried, so far unsuccessfully, to catch on with four teams over the past two seasons.
Typically, signing a long snapper is a long-term decision for NFL teams. Most clubs only carry one long-snapper, and absent a significant injury or some huge mistake on Monday Night Football that costs the team a game, teams don’t change up long snappers all that often. In fact, it’s not at all unusual for a long snapper to spend a ten-year career with one team. It is perhaps the most stable position on an NFL roster if you can get it.
The average age of the top-9 highest paid long snappers in the league in 2020 was 33, and the oldest of the group was 40. Eight of those nine players entered the NFL as undrafted free agents, with the sole draft pick being Clark Harris, who was selected in the 7th round of the ‘07 draft by the Packers. Interestingly, Harris was cut by the Packers as a rookie and has spent most of his career with the Cincinnati Bengals.
For comparison, I checked the NFL entry for the seven youngest long snappers in the league, all of whom are between 24 and 26 years old and found that nothing has changed. Six of the seven entered the league as undrafted free agents. The sole exception is Miami’s Blake Ferguson, whom the Dolphins selected in the 6th round of last year’s draft.
It would appear that Washington, unless it surprises everyone by signing a veteran free agent, has two options for securing a rookie long snapper: using a 7th round pick or signing a college free agent or two immediately after the draft.
Given the apparent lack of competition, UDFA seems to be the way to go, but there’s no guarantee that a team like the Cowboys wouldn’t cut their recently signed veteran in favor of a talented rookie, so there might be an argument for Washington to use a draft pick if they believe there’s one guy that is heads and shoulders above the rest.
And, it turns out that that might be the case.
BNB Football ranks college long snappers, and they strongly indicate that, this season, there’s one player that is the clear #1 when it comes to NFL eligible long snappers:
If there’s ever one long snapper you should learn the name of, he’s in this class: Camaron Cheeseman of Michigan. Cheeseman is one of a few solid long snappers in this group. While some of the long snappers are on the small side, there isn’t necessarily a required size by NFL teams given the protections put in place for lining up over them. Snap speed, accuracy, toughness, and athleticism covering punts is probably more important than blocking ability.
The site goes on to list the top LS prospects with their heights and weights.
The other name that stands out in that list is the #2 ranked guy, Thomas Fletcher, since he is from Alabama; however, it’s not clear whether the Alabama connection remains as strong now as it was before Washington remade its coaching staff and personnel department.
So, assuming the Cheeseman is the the guy that Washington should be targeting, he might be worth one of Washington’s two 7th round picks (#244 or #246).
Here’s an interview with the former Wolverine:
Cheeseman is a strong student as well as a talented athlete. He has, according to his radio interview above, already been accepted to dental school, so he has options to either play football or pursue a career as a professional dentist.
Having played three seasons in the Big 10 against future NFL players, Cheeseman feels that he is NFL ready. He played in the senior bowl and appears to be the top prospect at his position.
It seems like there’s a good chance that Cameron Cheeseman could be on the field for the next decade or more as the Washington long snapper, and may be the franchise’s future longest-tenured player of 2032.
I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to play in the 2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl! A huge thank you to all my family, friends, and coaches. Also thank you to the University of Michigan and @JimNagy_SB ! #TheDraftStartsInMOBILE #GOBLUE pic.twitter.com/ZpY2EvLsYI— Camaron Cheeseman (@camcheese33) December 29, 2020
@camcheese33 is one of the best longsnappers in the 2021 NFL Draft. Make sure you check out his story and give him a follow. Thanks for the interview Cam @UMichFootball @UMich @Michiganfball_ @UMichAthletics @wolverineswire @WolverinesMLive @247Wolverine https://t.co/uPxks4BbKC— NFL Draft Diamonds (@DraftDiamonds) April 2, 2021