Washington Redskins Release LB Perry Riley, DE Stephen Paea
The Washington Redskins released veteran linebacker Perry Riley and defensive end Stephen Paea in their quest to trim the roster down to 75.
The Washington Redskins let a couple of their veteran players go today as they attempt to get their roster down to the 75-man limit. The team elected to part ways with inside linebacker Perry Riley and defensive end Stephen Paea according to Mike Jones of the Washington Post.
Neither move was particularly surprising, given what the Redskins had seen from their team in the preseason.
Riley was a six year member of the Redskins and he appeared in 79 games over the time he spent with them. In his prime, he was a solid tackler who was decent in coverage. He helped to lock down the inside linebacker position for the team and was an important cog for them for many years.
However, Riley’s play had recently declined and he dealt with an injury that caused him to miss the last half of the 2015 season. In the 2016 offseason, the Redskins added some help at the linebacker position. They added Su’a Cravens in the draft and Terence Garvin in free agency. The team also got second year player Martrell Spaight back from an injury, so Riley had some competition.
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In the preseason, Mason Foster, the projected starter for the team, was the best of the bunch at the linebacker position. He displayed great instincts and made it apparent that he was definitely a starter. Aside from him, Spaight showed great improvement after missing his rookie year with an injury and Cravens showed a lot of potential as well. Because of the performance of these three, Riley was made expendable.
Of course, it did not help Riley’s case that he was scheduled to make $5 million during the season. As reported by Jones, cutting him saved the Redskins $4 million in cap room.
Meanwhiel, Paea was a situational player on the interior defensive line who was let go as a result of the team’s depth. Starters Ricky Jean-Francois and Chris Baker look to be locked into their roles, but the depth behind them has gotten much better. Free agent signings Kendall Reyes and Ziggy Hood added great depth. Hood has been particularly good at getting in the backfield during the preseason and he looks like a major threat for the team. He will likely take over Paea’s role as the primary backup.
Also, the team just added Cullen Jenkins on a one-year deal and they have been impressed by Anthony Lanier. Jenkins should fill in as quality depth, and the release of Paea will give him a better chance of making the roster. For Lanier, this release is good news, as a result, he now is likely to make the team. The undrafted free agent has impressed so he will be a really high upside depth guy.
must read: Cullen Jenkins May Have Trouble Making Redskins Roster
At the end of the day, the Redskins made the decisions they made because of one thing: depth. The team had better, younger players than the two they released so it was time for them to move on. Riley and Paea may find jobs elsewhere, but the Redskins are no worse for wear with them gone.