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Commanders Updated Depth Chart: Washington has added 4 new players in the past two weeks

3 XFL players headline the Commies’ roster reinforcements

Minnesota Vikings Training Camp Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

I published the last depth chart update when the Commanders officially finalized their 90-man offseason roster, but, as Martin Mayhew reminded us in his post-draft press conference, roster-building never really stops. In the two weeks since Washington’s 90-man roster became official, four new players have been signed — 3 of them from the XFL — while 3 players have been released and one moved to the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.

Note on Armani Rogers
TE Armani Rogers suffered an Achilles tendon injury during OTAs recently. While the injury has been widely reported, the team has not announced any change in his status. On the depth chart below, I have moved him to the bottom of the tight end group and used a grey-colored box to denote his unclear status. I imagine we will get more clarity about his situation ahead of training camp in July, and possibly much sooner.

Note on depth chart at the Center position
With the signing of veteran free agent Nick Gates, the drafting of Ricky Stromberg and the release of Chase Roullier, there has been a lack of clarity about the depth chart at the center position. That was cleared up recently by John Keim who said on his podcast that Gates goes into camp as the starter, and that Stromberg is seen as a developmental player at the position who could take over as the starter in a year or two. I have adjusted the depth chart below to reflect those comments.

Players added

OT Jaryd Jones-Smith (XFL Battlehawks, Texans, Dolpins, 49ers, Raiders, Ravens)

The 27-year-old is 6’7”, 320 pounds, and played his college ball at Pitt. Here is what the team website says about Jones-Smith:

Jones-Smith, who most recently made the All-XFL team with the St. Louis BattleHawks, spent time with five NFL teams, including the Houston Texans, Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers, Las Vegas Raiders and Baltimore Ravens. He has appeared in six NFL games — three with the Raiders and three with the Ravens.

Jones-Smith first joined the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Texans but was released during the final roster cuts of training camp. He then played for San Antonio Commanders in the AAF, appearing in all eight games of the season before the league went defunct.

Jones-Smith then spent brief periods of time with the Dolphins and 49ers before landing with the Raiders on their practice squad. He appeared in games against the Chargers, Broncos and Chiefs before being released prior to the 2021 season.

Jones-Smith signed with the Ravens and appeared in three of the final four games in 2021.

S Ferrod Gardner (XFL DC Defenders, Commanders)

The 26-year-old safety is 6’1”, 215 pounds and played his college ball at with the Ragin’ Cajuns of Louisiana-Lafayette. Here is what the team website says about him:

Gardner, an undrafted free agent from Louisiana, spent the 2022 season in the XFL with the DC Defenders. He was selected in the 10th round of the XFL Draft and played in seven games with two starts, recording seven tackles. Gardner was signed by the Commanders after the 2022 draft and spent training camp with the team.

Garnder was a two-time Honorable Mention All-Sun Belt conference selection with the Ragin Cajuns with 238 tackles over the course of his four-year college career. He also racked up 14 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks to go with an interception and six pass breakups. Garnder played in 47 games at Louisiana with three seasons as a consistent starter.

TE Brandon Dillon (XFL Vegas Vipers, Vikings, Jets, Saints)

The 26-year-old tight end is 6’5”, 250 pounds, and played his college ball at Marian. He first entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2019. When I looked at his career stats on Pro Football Reference, I found that he was active for 5 NFL games in 3 seasons, and PFF shows that he played 22 special teams snaps in Week 1 of 2021 — the final game of his NFL career to date.

XFL - Here’s a short summary of his XFL season and NFL background from Our Sports Central:

The Marian University product appeared in all 10 games for the Vipers and made eight receptions for 87 yards. His best game was in Week 4 at the DC Defenders, where he caught three passes for 47 yards. The Commanders become the fourth NFL organization Dillon has been with as he has previously spent time with the Minnesota Vikings, New York Jets and New Orleans Saints.

NFL - Here’s a short summary of his NFL career from CBS Sports:

Dillon appeared in five games for the Vikings between 2019 and 2021, totaling just one reception for six yards. However, despite bouncing around a few organizations, he hasn’t appeared in a regular-season NFL game since. The undrafted tight end out of Marian figures to be a long shot to make Washington’s Week 1 roster, but he will provide some depth to a position group that recently lost Armani Rogers (Achilles) for the entire 2023 campaign.

DB Terrell Burgess (Rams, Giants)

The 24-year-old is 5’11”, 202 pounds and played his college ball at Utah. He was the subject of a player spotlight article earlier today here on Hogs Haven. Here is an excerpt from that article:

Burgess...has a Super Bowl ring. [In 2021, with the Rams] he had 6 regular season games with at least 5 defensive snaps, and he played a significant number of snaps in the wildcard round and divisional round games in the playoffs, though he did not see the field on defense in the NFC Championship game or the Super Bowl.

Burgess plays a lot of special teams. Per Pro Football Reference, he had 524 career special teams snaps in his two & half seasons with the Rams. Looking at the breakdown of snaps on PFF, he played on kickoffs, kick returns, punt returns and PAT/FG, meaning that he has a lot of special teams flexibility.

By the same token, Burgess has the flexibility on defense that the Washington coaches value so much. PFF says that in the 2021 season (the one in which he played the most defensive snaps) he lined up in the box 32 times, as a slot defender 65 times, and free safety 40 times.

Is Burgess any good? Well, he has certainly never lived up to expectations, but he stayed on the 53-man roster of the super bowl champion Rams as a backup DB and special teamer. It seems as if that’s the opportunity he will have here in Washington, where he will compete for a roster spot with players like Darrick Forrest, Percy Butler and recently-signed UDFA Kendall Smith.

Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list

The worst-kept secret in the NFL at the moment is that the Commanders plan to release RG Andrew Norwell, both for poor performance and salary cap relief.


Multiple sources have said in the past two months that Washington plans to release Norwell once he’s able to pass a physical. He’s dealing with a right elbow injury that has lingered all offseason.

Norwell hurt his hip in Week 17 and did not play in the regular-season finale, but he has recovered from that injury.

While Norwell is on the PUP list, he does not count towards the 90-man roster limit, though he does count against the salary cap. The Commanders can save $4.38m in 2023 salary cap space if Norwell is released any time after Thursday this week (June 1st).

Released & Waived

Three players have been released or waived by the Commanders since mid-May.

CB Cameron Dantzler

The only release that is at all surprising is the waiving of CB Cameron Dantzler, who had been signed from the waiver wire after being released by the Vikings earlier this season; however, the drafting of Emmanuel Forbes in the first round of the draft at the end of April made Dantzler expendable.

In a Hogs Haven spotlight article earlier this month, Dantzler’s release from the Vikings was described this way:

From what I can gather, something doesn’t seem to add up about Dantzler’s waiver by the Vikings. Yes, he had some injury issues, and yes, his play was up and down, but the thing that doesn’t sit well with me is that he seems to have gotten on the wrong side of two different coaching regimes, involving both Mike Zimmer and Kevin O’Connell, who strike me as having fairly different coaching styles. He seemed to show enough talent on the field that - absent other issues - he would have made sense for Minnesota to keep around.

Being waived by two teams in the same offseason is likely to raise red flags on Dantzler’s career, which not so long ago, seemed to be on solid footing.

OT Drew Himmelman and LB Nathan Gerry

There was nothing really surprising in the release of either of these players; in fact, I had expressed great surprise and disappointment when Nathan Gerry had been re-signed earlier this offseason. It seems likely that Gerry’s next stop will be the XFL.

This is what I wrote about Gerry in February:

Gerry was a depth signing in ‘22 when injuries bit deep into a very thin linebacker group. He played 82 snaps in 4 appearances for the Commanders. Let’s hope they were his last.

Himmelman was a developmental prospect who brought immense size to the position. There was a brief spark of interest in him when he first signed with the Commanders in 2022, but by this season his ceiling appeared to be that of a practice squad player, at least for the foreseeable future.


The numbers that appear beside some players’ names are 2023 cap hits per Over the Cap.

Please note that assigned positions and color coding are my own personal opinions. They do not necessarily represent the thinking of Washington’s coaches or front office, nor are they necessarily consistent with fan consensus. This chart represents my interpretation, and may not reflect the thoughts of other writers on Hogs Haven. Finally, when it comes to backup players, I don’t put much effort into making sure that they are on the right or left or behind the specific player that they backup. I mostly just try to fit everyone on the chart efficiently.

The Commanders currently have 90 players under contract: 45 on offense, 42 on defense, and 3 specialists.