The Redskins signed Josh Norman a week before the draft and then selected corner Kendall Fuller in the third round Friday. They also have Bashaud Breeland as a starter. That, combined with Culliver coming off a torn ACL suffered on Thanksgiving Day, made him expendable.
Culliver’s initial deal with Washington had his 2016 salary being guaranteed. But there was a stipulation that if he were suspended, it would no longer be guaranteed. Sources early in the offseason said Culliver would be back.
But having the base salary non-guaranteed made it easy to release him. He would have counted $9.25 million against the salary cap. They’ll save $5.5 million against the cap; if they designate it as post-June 1, they can save $8 million.
But Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan said he’d have no problem signing Culliver if he fails to get a deal elsewhere.
“It was just the numbers and what we have going now,” McCloughan said. “Norman came out of nowhere; boom, falls in our lap. Breeland I really respect. So we have numbers. The door is not closed. He can test the market and see what happens and hopefully he gets what he wants.”
The Redskins need the cap space after signing Norman and with other key players they’d like to extend before next season. Among potential free agents after this season: quarterback Kirk Cousins, tight end Jordan Reed, receivers DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon, linebacker Junior Galette and defensive end Chris Baker.
The Redskins signed Culliver to a four-year, $32 million deal last offseason. He played in six games, sitting out three because of knee issues and another because of a suspension for violation of the NFL’s personal conduct policy. He then tore his ACL during practice, ending his season.