The Washington Redskins' roster stands at the league maximum 75 players. That number must be reduced to 53 by Saturday. Here are my final roster projections and done with Week 1 (or Week 2 in the case of Bashaud Breeland) in mind.
Correct, no Robert Griffin III. This probably doesn't happen Saturday, but by Sept. 13. Even if he's only working on the Scout team during practice, Griffin blowing out his knee or suffering another concussion or any kind of "serious" injury could end up guaranteeing his $16 million contract for 2016 If they're moving on without RG3 as starter going forward, then the Redskins simply cannot take the risk of injury because of the contract scenario. As for how they go about moving him, the best guess is via waivers. Take the 2015 salary cap hit and move on. Perhaps some team believes they can fix Griffin's woes and offers Washington a late round pick. Perhaps some team with an established QB takes a shot on RG3's upside with a deal figuring the QB wouldn't willingly join a situation where there is no chance he starts.
Ultimately, a trade seems unlikely considering all the baggage and moving parts. That said, I covered a Washington Wizards team that moved Gilbert Arenas' onerous contract, so anything is possible. So is the Redskins adding a third QB should they part ways with Griffin. Watch cuts around the league. Kansas City now has four quarterbacks with interesting contracts and ex-Redskin Chase Daniel could be the odd man out.
Trey Williams left Thursday's game with an ankle injury and was hobbling around the locker room. If Jones truly sat out activities this week for rest, as the team indicated, then keeping a fifth RB becomes doubtful.
Ross keeps racking up stats while Evan Spencer (concussion) missed last week's game with a shoulder injury.
Tight end (3): Jordan Reed, Derek Carrier, Je'Ron Hamm
If we had to project which unit ends up including a player not currently on the 75-man roster, this is the one.
Offensive line (9): Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Kory Lichtensteiger, Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses, Arie Kouandjio, Tom Compton, Josh LeRibeus, Ty Nsekhe
Though Scherff can swing outside, going into the season with only one reserve tackle seems risky and therefore we won't here. The Redskins spent a third round pick on Spencer Long just last season. That's the season before Scot McCloughan arrived. Without the new GM feeling any loyalty with the pick and Long's stock plummeting with his latest not good performance, he's the surprise cut here. LeRibeus held that spot for me, but he's the default pick at backup center. Nsekhe didn't receive much public attention this summer, but he's quietly had a nice camp. More likely 10 lineman stick than eight.
Defensive line (7): Jason Hatcher, Terrance Knighton, Stephen Paea, Ricky-Jean Francois, Chris Baker, Frank Kearse, Kedric Golston.
Only real roster debate here is whether all seven make it or one gets knocked off because of needs elsewhere
Outside linebacker (5): Ryan Kerrigan, Trent Murphy, Preston Smith, Jackson Jeffcoat, Houston Bates
Inside linebacker: (4): Keenan Robinson, Perry Riley Jr., Will Compton, Martell Spaight
Jeffcoat seemingly locked up a spot by recording a sack in each of the four preseason games. ...Bates and inside backer Terrance Plummer might just be on the wrong side of the roster math, though keeping a ninth linebacker isn't a stretch especially with special teams in mind.
Cornerback (5): Chris Culliver, DeAngelo Hall, Bashaud Breeland, David Amerson, Justin Rogers
Safety (5): Dashon Goldson, Duke Ihenacho, Jeron Johnson, Kyshoen Jarrett, Trenton Robinson
Ten defensive backs, hmmm. Rogers appears safe with Breeland suspended for Week 1. After that, somebody from group could get the axe especially if needs arise elsewhere.
Special teams (3): Kai Forbath, Tress Way, Nick Sundberg
Unlucky for now: Assuming RG3 stays for the moment, there is one less spot available. Houston Bates is my 53rd player at this spot. The Redskins can risk losing him in waivers with other special teamers options around, but likely wouldn't.
Lucky 54: With Breeland suspended for Week 1, another spot opens up. RB Trey Williams or ILB Terrance Plummer could be the beneficiaries.
Vulnerable veterans: There are always a couple of roster shockers. Nothing from Monday's cuts surprised. Law of averages suggests we might get some Saturday. Long, Golston and Trenton Robinson seem like the most in danger while Ross could lose out to Spencer or a decision to keep only five wide receivers. Speaking of the receivers, I've maintained dealing Roberts makes sense if the coaching staff believes Grant and Crowder can step into regular roles. Roberts rebounded during preseason after a so-so training camp. He's a quality receiver -- which is why other needy teams (Carolina?) could be interested.
More roster thoughts: Check back shortly as Chris Russell and I answer questions about the 53-man projections.