It’s the offseason, and with the draft now over, there’s not a lot left for fans to do other than engage in baseless speculation.
A lot of that speculation seems wildly off, from the signs I’m reading from the coaching staff, so I wanted to take a little time to pump some air under a couple of them and throw some cold water on a couple of others.
My own, based, speculation starts below:
Chase Roullier will be cut
Chase Roullier, when healthy, has been an absolute stud for Washington, and the reality is, he’s been everything you could ever ask for in a 6th round pick. That said, he’s been badly injured in each of the last two seasons, and there’s no indication at all that he’s back to full health.
In the meantime, Washington has re-signed depth center Tyler Larsen, signed former Giants center Nick Gates to a very healthy contract ($5.5M AAV), and used a third round pick on Ricky Stromberg. If all things didn’t point to the team moving on from Roullier before the draft - and I think they did - they certainly do now, with the selection of Stromberg, who is expected to compete for a starting role.
Asked if Nick Gates might compete at guard, Rivera shook his head no. If there’s a competition for center, it’ll be between Gates, Stromberg and the others.— Matthew Paras (@Matthew_Paras) April 29, 2023
Right now, Washington will essentially have no cap space after signing its rookies. Cutting Roullier before June 1 saves the team $4.32M against the cap this year. Cutting him with a post-June 1 designation allows the team to push about $4M of bonus against the 2024 cap, and accelerate the availability of that money into 2023, freeing up $8.37M in cap space.
At this point, Washington can’t even really renegotiate Roullier’s contract in a way that makes much sense. If cut, some other team might be capable of taking a low cost flyer on Roullier, on the hope that he eventually recovers, but I think his time in DC is very short-lived. Thanks, Chase, for all your contributions.
Andrew Norwell will be cut
I think this one will be a lot less painful for fans. Last season, Norwell was brought in with the hope that he still had something in the tank, and that John Matsko and Rivera might be able to draw it out of him. Turns out the Norwell/Trai Turner reunion tour was an absolute disaster that probably ended up getting Matsko fired.
With a handful of young guards, and players with guard flexibility on the team now, including: Chris Paul, Sam Cosmi, Saahdiq Charles, Braeden Daniels, Gates, and Andrew Wylie (in a pinch), Norwell is dispensible.
When asked about LG, Rivera singled out Saahdiq Charles and Chris Paul as competitors for the job. Andrew Norwell is still on the roster and Rivera said they're still doing some evaluations of positions. Draft likely will impact future moves.— John Keim (@john_keim) March 28, 2023
Cutting him does free up a solid amount of cap, however. If he’s cut with a pre-June 1 designation, the team saves $2.28M. If that’s pushed to post-June 1, the amount climbs to $4.38M.
Kendall Fuller will not be cut, and sticks around at least one more year
I suppose I understand why, after having used its first two draft picks on secondary players, there’s speculation that Kendall Fuller might be on the chopping block. I also think the notion crumbles under just about least amount of inspection.
14-7-73-0-0, 65.5 QB rating is the statline over the past 4 weeks on targets against Kendall Fuller. The guy has turned his season around after early struggles. #HTTC— Washington Commanders UK fan (@WashingtonComs) November 15, 2022
In 2022, and for some time, Fuller has been Washington’s best CB by a fairly wide margin. Ben St-Juste has had impressive stints, but has also left a lot to be desired at times, and William Jackson III was abysmal. Here are the PFF ratings of Washington’s CBs in 2022 (snap count in parens):
Fuller - 76.6 (1,031)
St- Juste - 58.3 (655)
Jackson - 49.6 (204)
Danny Johnson - 81 (293)
Yes, cutting Fuller would save $8.5M against the cap this year, in his last year under contract, but it would be a massive unforced error to cut your previous CB1 - by a mile - even if you’ve just spent a first round pick on a highly acclaimed CB prospect. Not going to happen. If it does, it’s probably grounds for immediately jettisoning the Martii.
Logan Thomas will not be cut, and remains the team’s best TE option in 2023
Another claim that seems entirely disconnected from reality, and based maybe more on wishful thinking that Washington’s tight end room is terrible and would be immediately transformed either by dropping some new free agent - or even more dubiously - a rookie, into it, once the “washed up” Thomas is swept out.
Not only do I think Thomas still has something left to give this team, it’s pretty clear Rivera and Mayhew do as well.
Mayhew said there is a strong class of tight ends in this year's draft. Went on to say that they feel confident about what they have on the roster right now, from Logan Thomas to Curtis Hodges.— Zach Selby (@ZachSelbyWC) March 1, 2023
Oh, and by the way, the players freaking love the guy, who also seems to have earned from respect from the new offensive coordinator.
Yes, cutting Thomas would save $5.175M, but I certainly wouldn’t count on it happening.
And, just a reminder that in 2020, before his injury the following year, Thomas was the 6th most productive tight end in the league, catching balls from Alex Smith, Dwayne Haskins, and Kyle Allen. I expect a nice bounce back in 2023.
Which of these is the most credible?
This poll is closed
Chase Roullier is cut
Andrew Norwell is cut
Kendall Fuller remains
Logan Thomas remains
I’ll take the parlay