WASHINGTON — Redskins inside linebacker Mason Foster has signed a two-year contract with the team, according to an NFL source.
Foster, 27, was a pending free agent when the new league year was set to begin Wednesday at 4 p.m. Instead, he remains with the organization that picked him up on waivers Sept. 29 after the Chicago Bears cut him at the end of training camp.
Foster started the last five games of the season and the playoff game against the Green Bay Packers. He began his Washington tenure as a special teams player, but an injury to Perry Riley (broken foot) allowed Foster to jump into the starting lineup.
“Maybe people had counted me out or thought I was still hurt or I couldn’t play any more,” Foster said after the season. “This year I definitely came back and showed I can play ball at a high level.”
Riley could be in trouble. He is scheduled to make $5.049 million next season, but it doesn’t make much sense to pay him that much if he’s a reserve. The Redskins could always allow the two to compete for a job, but Riley is entering the final year of his contract and the team saves $4 million under the salary cap by cutting him. Riley has also drawn mixed reviews in recent years for his overall play.
Riley was a fourth-round draft pick in 2010 and he’s been a mainstay in the lineup since 2011 with 63 starts since that season. He started nine games in 2016, but missed two with a calf injury and six more, including the playoff game against Green Bay, with the broken foot.
Foster has plenty of experience, too. He played the previous four years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and started 54 games there before adding five more starts with Washington. Foster signed with the Bears as a free agent last March, but he didn’t fit with their defensive system and was cut at the end of the preseason.
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