Playing for a Job: Defense
Last week we looked at offensive players on the Redskins who could be playing for a job this year. These are players under contract for next season, but will need to perform if they don’t want to be in danger of being released or buried on the depth chart. On defense this isn’t an easy task as many of the starters and back-ups are impeding free agents. Here are some of the players playing for their jobs:
1. DL Adam Carriker:
-When the Redskins re-signed Adam Carriker in the 2012 offseason, they back-loaded his contract in part due to the cap penalty. Now he’s scheduled to be the 5th highest paid Redskin (versus the cap) in 2014. In fact he is set to cost the Redskins $13.5 million over the next two seasons. That is a ridiculous amount of money for a player who missed nearly all of last season, and who is expected to miss at least all of training camp (if not longer) this year. Carriker reduced his salary for 2012, because the team couldn’t justify the price tag, but nothing has been done about his 2014 and 2015 contract years. At this point on the open market, Carriker would be lucky to get 1/4 of that $13.5 million over the next two years. The Redskins are unlikely to cut him now, and will instead probably try him on the PUP list to hope he can offer them depth the 2nd half of the season, but unless he comes back and plays at an elite level, the Redskins can’t come close to justifying the contract.
2. S DeJon Gomes:
-Gomes was drafted in the 5th round by the Redskins in 2011, and due to injuries and ineffectiveness he’s played in over 600 defensive snaps his two seasons. So far though his play in those snaps has been well below average. Last year he was given the starting nod at SS when Brandon Meriweather was injured to start the season, but Gomes lost that job due to ineffectiveness. With Meriweather hopefully back healthy and a pair of rookies drafted, Gomes could be on the way out (even if they keep 5 safeties) if he doesn’t have a great camp/preseason.
3. DL Kedric Golston:
-Golston’s job is completely safe this year, with Adam Carriker’s injury concerns and Doug Worthington on IR, but next year that might not be the case. The Redskins have quite a bit more cap room in 2014 and they could look at adding a more talented back-up that Golston, particularly one who can rush the passer effectively. Golston has been a real solid back-up player for the Redskins, but that might not be enough to keep his job beyond this season. He’ll have to offer more positive play this year if he wants to keep that number 3 DE role and his job in 2014.
4. DL Chris Neild:
-Neild was a 7th round pick by the Redskins in 2011. His first game of the year he had a pair of sacks in mop up duty and raised his profile among the fan base. After that initial success Neild really didn’t make much of an impact that season, either positively or negatively. Last year he was in a battle with Chris Baker for the back-up NT job when he tore his ACL in practice. Neild was lost for the season and Baker had a solid year. Neild is back and fighting again for the job. Unlike Baker Neild is cheaper and under contract for next season, but that likely isn’t enough to ensure him a job. Neild will either have to out perform Baker, or hope the Redskins would consider keeping both of them.
5. CB Richard Crawford:
-Crawford inspired a good bit of excitement and hope with a strong camp last year and good special teams play, including a punt return that set up the winning field goal against the Ravens. His play during the year as a cornerback though didn’t inspire as much confidence. He did have one solid game versus the Eagles late in the year, but he’s going to have to show more than that if he wants the Redskins to count on him for one of the top 3 CB jobs in 2014, a time when currently DeAngelo Hall, Josh Wilson and E.J. Biggers are not under contract.