ASHBURN, Va. -- The press conference was designed to have Scot McCloughan answer questions from media members about the just completed NFL Draft. That happened, but the headline news involved not somebody coming, but going.
“I’ll let you guys know this, I just spoke to him. We just released him," McCloughan said when Culliver's name came up during the Q&A session. "Very good conversation. Chris is a professional. This is the tough part for me about this business is having to do stuff like that with any player, but especially with him because of the injury and that stuff. It was a great conversation. It gives him an opportunity to go out there and test free agency and our door is not closed yet either.”
The injury stuff was a torn ACL suffered on Thanksgiving Day that cost him the remainder of the season. It remains uncertain if Culliver, 27, will be ready for the start of the 2016 season.
Yet the real impetus for the release involved recent acquisitions and Culliver's contract.
Washington signed Josh Norman to a whopping five-year, $75 million contract after the Pro Bowl cornerback was surprisingly allowed to test free agency by the Carolina Panthers. The Redskins spent a third-round pick in the NFL Draft on Virginia Tech corner Kendall Fuller. Starter Bashaud Breeland remains along with reserves Will Blackmon, Quinton Dunbar and Greg Toler. All of that depth made Culliver expendable.
A key stipulation in his contract put the Redskins in position to release him without having to guarantee any of his 2016 salary. The NFL suspended Culliver one game last season for a previous incident. The release allows the Redskins to save $8 million on the salary cap rather than have Culliver count for around $9.2 million.
"It was just the numbers and what we have going now," McCloughan said. "Norman came out of nowhere. We didn’t know. And – boom – it falls into your lap with Fuller. [Bashaud] Breeland I really respect. So we had the numbers. So that’s what I said."
McCloughan added he would have "no problem bringing him back here," but that seems unlikely.
The Redskins can use their newfound cap space to sign additional veterans or extend the contract of current players on the final year of their deal, including quarterback Kirk Cousins and receiver DeSean Jackson.
Notes: In addition to Culliver, the Redskins waived Christo Bilukidi, LB Desmond Bishop, WR LaRon Byrd, DL Anthony Johnson
DL Kamal Johnson, CB Al Louis-Jean and LB Derrick Mathews.
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