The Redskins announced today that Ryan Plackemeier, the team's punter for the last half of 2008, would not be back to compete for the job in 2009. This is mildly surprising since signed for next season at a salary of just over $500,000 and there didn't seem to be any urgency to create that cap space.
However, if you decide that a player just isn't in your plans and that nothing is going to happen to change your mind there isn't any point in keeping him around. Although it appeared that he was improving at the end of the season, dropping punts inside the 20 with regularity, Plack is not better than a replacement-level punter.
This leaves the Skins in the market for a leg. They signed Zac Atterberry, out of NAIA Lindenwood, to a contract last week, but it's hard to believe that he will be the team's punter when the season starts, at least not without a serious fight from someone. Perhaps they will go the route of the veteran with double digits of experience and sign Craig Hentrich (15 years) or Mitch Berger (14 years). Or, more likely, there will be a camp competition and the winner will be either one of the two on the team or a waiver wire pickup in early September.
While Plackemeier is going, Phillip Daniels may be returning. Like most, I figured that his knee injury on the first day of training camp last year would be his last day as a Redskin. Not so fast, my friend, according to this article by Ryan O'Halloran in the Times.
Phillip Daniels turns 36 next month, is rehabilitating from knee surgery that cost him all of last season and counts $2.156 million against the Washington Redskins' salary cap in 2009.
But Daniels doesn't see any of that as a basis for the team to move forward without him.
Daniels' rehab is going well and since his injury happened so early he has plenty of time to heal up. But looking at the numbers—$2.1 million and 36—and considering the fact that the team is over the cap and in need of getting younger, does bringing him back make sense?
If this team operated the many successful NFL franchises there is no way that Daniels would be back. They would have drafted a run-stopping end in the third round a year or two ago and he would have been groomed to be able to step in and fill Daniels' role at a considerably lower price. It's called succession planning and it's not something that the Redskins do very well.