Commanders sign former rival after waiving Brian Johnson, Will Adams
By Jerry Trotta
The Washington Commanders surprised fans on Monday when they opened two roster spots by waiving backup kicker Brian Johnson, who nailed a game-winning field goal against the Raiders last season, and defensive back Will Adams, who signed with the club as a UDFA after impressing at the first annual HBCU Combine.
The move paves the way for fan favorite Joey Slye to pick up where he left off last season when he converted all six of his field goal tries and 12 extra points.
The Commanders will presumably add another backup closer to training camp, but they’ve elected to fill the vacant roster spots with other positions.
On Tuesday, which marked the start of mandatory minicamp, Washington signed defensive lineman Justin Hamilton, who recently played for the Cowboys, and offensive tackle Willie Beavers, who’s entering his seventh season.
The Commanders signed former Cowboys DL Justin Hamilton after opening two roster spots on Monday.
A former undrafted free agent out of Louisiana Lafayette, where fourth-round selection Percy Butler starred, Hamilton joins his fourth NFL team and has now made three separate stops in the NFC East. The 28-year-old’s rookie year in 2017 got started in Kansas City before he joined Philadelphia later that season. He made four combined appearances that year, in which he tallied two tackles and a QB hit.
Eventually, Hamilton found a home in Dallas, where he spent the 2020 and 2021 campaigns and received his most playing time as a pro. During that span, Hamilton played 19 games (two starts) and recorded 20 tackles (one for loss) two QB hits and 14 pressures to go with a 62.1 pass-rush grade from Pro Football Focus.
Hamilton was expected to see reps in place of Daron Payne, who didn’t participate in team drills at OTAs, but the 25-year-old surprised everyone by starting with the first-team at Tuesday’s practice. How long that lasts remains to be seen, so there should be plenty of reps for Hamilton over the course of camp.
If the former Cowboy lasts with the Commanders beyond minicamp, he’ll represent added competition for the defensive tackle position, which leaves a lot to be desired behind Payne, Jonathan Allen and rookie Phidarian Mathis.
The same can be said for Beavers, though the team’s ample offensive line depth doesn’t even compare to the DL outlook.
A former fourth-round pick of the Vikings back in 2016, Beavers’ lone two regular season appearances came during his rookie season. He logged 11 total snaps that year and has since spent time with several teams, including the Patriots, Seahawks, Bears, 49ers and Falcons, respectively.