Quarterback Kirk Cousins isn’t the only Washington Redskin possibly playing his last game.
Cornerback Bashaud Breeland, safety DeAngelo Hall, receiver Terrelle Pryor, Sr. and center Spencer Long are among the 2018 free agents that may find greener or retirement pastures. So could Junior Galette, Ryan Grant, Mason Foster, Trent Murphy, Will Compton, Zach Brown, Niles Paul and Shawn Lauvao.
This has been a season of survivor for the Redskins with 20 players on injured reserve. But of the 53 remaining for Sunday’s season-finale at the New York Giants, probably 25 or more won’t return next year.
Some were starters, others barely known, but the roster is flipping far beyond the possibility of Cousins and the Redskins finally realizing each would prefer a fresh start. Despite vying for their third straight non-losing season for the first time seemingly since the Woodrow Wilson administration by beating the Giants, the Redskins realize they’re stuck in mediocrity. And as the Washington Wizards long showed, it’s hard to escape without bottoming out first.
This isn’t just the season’s last stand. It’s another era flipping past with possibility a better one to come. But that means hard choices, especially if re-signing Cousins to a $34 million deal to prevent keeping Breeland and Brown and even Long and Foster. The draft will be the only way to rebuild, not free agency. And, well, the springtime selections haven’t always been kind to Washington.
Perhaps the upside to the constant injuries is the rookie and free agent classes showed promise. Washington has some young talent, though coach Jay Gruden urged caution on handing out participation trophies just yet.
“[Rookies] produced and they were fine,” he said. “It’s just a matter of draft classes usually shouldn’t be judged until two, three, four, five, six years down the line, you know what I mean? So we’ll see how they do next year. Like I said, these rookie players, the ones that make the significant jump from year one to two to three, then you know you really have something there. That’s important.”
But tomorrow is another day. For now, it’s a possible last look at a quarterback about to finish his team-record third straight 4,000-yard season. Maybe it’s not a farewell forever, just ‘see ya’ to another mediocre season.
“Of course, [Cousins] knows that we want him back,” Gruden said, “but at the end of the day, like I said, agents, everybody gets involved and he’s got to make a decision for himself.”
Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter @Snide_Remarks.