ASHBURN, Va. (CBSDC) — After almost six weeks of analysis and discussion, practices and games, the Redskins finalized their 53-man roster on Saturday afternoon.
Washington had already waived eight players on Friday. Hours before the 4 p.m. NFL deadline, it also waived running backs Evan Royster, Lache Seastrunk and Chris Thompson, wide receiver Nick Williams, offensive lineman Maurice Hurt, safety Phillip Thomas, cornerback Chase Minnifield and kicker Zach Hocker and released linebacker Everette Brown.
There were four other moves made to drop the Redskins to the roster limit: Defensive end Stephen Bowen and wide receiver Leonard Hankerson, both still recovering from knee surgery, were placed on the physically-unable-to-perform (PUP) list.
Nose tackle Chris Neild was placed on the Reserve/Injured list after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during Thursday’s preseason finale at Tampa Bay. Linebacker Darryl Sharpton, still nursing a high ankle sprain, was also placed on that list.
And safety Brandon Meriweather was placed on the Reserved/Suspended list. The NFL suspended Meriweather two games for an illegal hit on Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith in an Aug. 23 preseason game.
The league denied his appeal on Saturday. Meriweather will miss games against Houston on Sept. 7 and Jacksonville on Sept. 14. He won’t begin serving the punishment until Monday, but Washington was allowed to fill his roster spot immediately.
Thomas is a candidate for the organization’s 10-man practice squad if he clears waivers by noon on Sunday. He was a fifth-round pick in 2013 from Florida State before a Lisfranc sprain in his left foot ended his season.
After fighting a hamstring injury early in training camp, Thomas recently experienced soreness in that foot again. At a position where Washington lacks depth, Thomas was expected to play a key reserve role this season.
Instead, the safeties who made the opening roster are veteran Ryan Clark, second-year pro Bacarri Rambo and reserves Trenton Robinson and Akeem Davis.
Williams appeared in five games for the Redskins last year at receiver and as a kick and punt returner. He, too, is a practice squad candidate.
Hocker pushed incumbent kicker Kai Forbath throughout training camp thanks in part to a stronger leg on kickoffs. But Forbath improved in that area during preseason and made four of five field goals.
“You just don’t want your phone to ring,” Forbath said after making a 45-yard kick in the Tampa Bay game.
It didn’t. Forbath has made 35 of the 40 field-goal attempts in his two seasons in the NFL. During the preseason he hit from 26, 45, 32 and 39 yards, missing only a 46-yarder against New England.
Hocker missed a 39-yarder against Tampa Bay, though he hit twice in the New England game from 27 and 39 yards. He had been drafted in the seventh round out of Arkansas in May.