WASHINGTON — The Redskins released veteran linebacker Adam Hayward on Friday morning, cutting ties with a former team captain less than a week before training camp.
Hayward missed all of last season with a torn right ACL. He was hurt during an Aug. 20 preseason game against Detroit. That came on the heels of a broken right leg in 2014 that cost him the final five games that year.
Signed to bolster Washington’s beleaguered special teams, Hayward was a captain for that unit in 2014 and expected to play the same role last season. But those two serious injuries and his age – 32 – left Hayward vulnerable.
The Redskins also have lots of competition at inside linebacker with Will Compton, Mason Foster and Perry Riley, Jr. already in place. Second-year pro Martrell Spaight also made the 53-man roster last year before a concussion in Week 1 ended his season.
Meanwhile, 2016 seventh-round pick Steven Davis is expected to push for a spot, too. Washington signed former Steelers special-teams ace Terrance Garvin this spring to improve that group. That doesn’t even include rookie Su’a Cravens, who worked with the inside linebacker all offseason despite being listed as a safety.
So it became clear Hayward had his work cut out for him with likely just five or six spots available at the position. A key reserve and part-time starter in Tampa Bay for the first seven years of his career, Hayward signed a three-year contract with the Redskins in 2014. The team saves $885,000 against the salary-cap by cutting him and just $100,000 of dead money.
It’s not a big deal given Washington isn’t facing a salary-cap crunch. But any little bit helps, especially when you consider Hayward will almost certainly be replaced by a cheaper option.
Follow Redskins reporter Brian McNally on Twitter.