Mason Foster’s agent sounds off on linebacker’s sudden release
The Washington Redskins released linebacker Mason Foster on eve of training camp. This prompted a response from Foster’s agent, Blake Baratz.
For most of the offseason, it seemed that Mason Foster was going to once again be the starter at middle linebacker for the Washington Redskins defense. Foster, who led the team in tackles last year, started most of last season along with Zach Brown. But with Brown’s departure and Reuben Foster‘s injury, Mason Foster was expected to continue on in a starting role in 2019.
That is, until he was cut on Tuesday afternoon.
Foster was released by the Redskins just a day before players were due to report to training camp. This qualified as a surprise. The surprise wasn’t necessarily related to Foster’s ability — his ability in coverage significantly regressed last season and he figured to be a two-down guy moving forward. It was more about the timing and the fact that the team didn’t elect to cut him earlier in the offseason.
This was a point that Foster’s agent, Blake Baratz, brought up on Twitter following Foster’s release. Baratz sounded off about the league’s lack of “good faith” and insulted the Redskins’ decision on Twitter.
In fairness to Baratz, it is odd that Foster was cut on eve of training camp instead of following minicamp, especially if Jon Bostic had already shown enough to replace him in the starting lineup. Why wait another five weeks? Potential injuries or uncertainty about their young linebackers could have played a role in this, but regardless, the timing is still odd.
Cutting Foster was a sensible financial move for the Redskins. He was due to make $4 million this year while Bostic will make $2 million. They will save on cap space and cash as a result, so that should benefit the organization’s ability to offer money to Trent Williams and Brandon Scherff.
Still, this is another classic case of an NFL team breaking a contract with a player at an inopportune time. There is usually far more uproar when a player (like the aforementioned Williams) holds out for a larger payday. But let’s not forget that NFL teams do also take advantages of incentive-based contracts and cut players when they no longer have enough value to the team.
But, I digress.
The Redskins are now much thinner at the linebacker position, so that’s a major concern moving forward. It’s possible that Washington’s young players could step up and outperform Foster. But, the fact remains that they are now thinner at the position than they once were.
It will be interesting to see where Foster lands in the upcoming season. Odds are that he will be playing somewhere as a backup and veteran leader. But for now, all we know is that he won’t be suiting up for the Redskins in 2019.