The Washington Redskins began to address their salary cap situation Wednesday with the expected releases of linebacker Zach Brown and defensive lineman Stacy McGee. The two moves opened a little more than $8 million in cap space, giving the team just under $18 million in room.
The Redskins recently agreed to trade for quarterback Case Keenum and signed Pro Bowl safety Landon Collins to a free agent contract worth six years and $84 million. With those deals becoming official after the start of the new league year at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Washington needed to clear some salary cap space. The Redskins began the day with just under $10 million in cap space, ranking 30th in the NFL.
Brown, 29, had two seasons left on a three-year, $21 million deal signed last offseason, but he fell out of favor with the coaching staff down the stretch of last season, and cutting him was an easy way to get some salary cap flexibility. His release provides the Redskins $5.75 million in cap savings, with $3 million in dead money still counting against the salary cap. Brown, who eventually lost his starting job to rookie Shaun Dion Hamilton, said he played through an oblique injury all season. He finished with 96 tackles, two forced fumbles and a sack, and was ranked as the fourth-best inside linebacker in statistics website Pro Football Focus’ grades, despite having seemingly taken a step back from his 2017 performance, when he led the team in tackles.
“This was probably one of my worst seasons," Brown said at the end of the season. "I was injured most of the season, anyway, playing with a torn oblique. I should have just sat out and healed up for three weeks. . . . It was painful just every day. It would just flare up sometimes. It was painful for the first 10 games.”
The team saves $2.275 million by releasing McGee, with $2.4 million in dead money. He played just eight games in 2018, recording nine tackles and one sack. He appeared in all 16 games the season before, starting 10.
The Redskins did not offer tenders to restricted free agents Rob Kelley and Maurice Harris, meaning the running back and wide receiver are now available to sign with any team. Kelley started his career in Washington as an undrafted free agent and had his best year as a rookie, leading the team with 704 rushing yards and six touchdowns. Injuries ended his seasons in 2017 and 2018. Harris also signed as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2016, and had a career year in 2018 with 28 receptions for 304 yards. He started seven games last season after injuries depleted the wide receiving corps.
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