One week after adding two veteran defensive linemen via free agency, the Washington Redskins released defensive end Ricky Jean Francois Wednesday, among the squad’s more vocal leaders and best-liked players.
The 6-3, 313-pound Jean Francois appeared in all 32 games since joining the Redskins in 2015, starting six games last season. He would have been an expensive backup entering 2017. Cutting him will save the Redskins $4 million in salary cap space as they seek to shore up their defense this offseason.
Also Wednesday, the Redskins re-signed unrestricted free agent defensive lineman Ziggy Hood and exclusive rights free agent Vinston Painter, an offensive tackle.
According to people with knowledge of the decision-making, the Redskins have not ruled out making overtures to Johnathan Hankins or Dontari Poe, two of the more attractive defensive linemen remaining on the free agent market.
The 6-3, 305 Hood appeared in all 16 Redskins games last season, starting 14. A former first-round pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2009, Hood, 30, recorded 23 tackles (17 solo), one sack and once forced fumble last season while leading the Redskins defensive linemen with three passes defensed.
The Redskins added Painter (6-4, 322) via the waiver wire in the 2016 preseason. The Virginia Tech product appeared in five games for the team.
During the initial wave of free agent signings last week, the Redskins added defensive linemen Terrell McClain and Stacy McGee. They also picked up safety D.J. Swearinger. On offense, they re-signed tight end Vernon Davis and followed with the high-profile addition of wide receiver Terrelle Pryor.