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Washington obviously views Reuben Foster as a 2019 prospect

Jacksonville Jaguars v San Francisco 49ers

SANTA CLARA, CA - DECEMBER 24: Reuben Foster #56 of the San Francisco 49ers warms up prior to their game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Levi’s Stadium on December 24, 2017 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Robert Reiners/Getty Images)

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Moments before the NFL made it clear that linebacker Reuben Foster won’t be allowed to play until further notice, Washington announced that it won’t allow newly-claimed linebacker Reuben Foster to play until further notice.

Which means that Washington necessarily views the $257,000 it will pay Foster over the balance of the season as payment for the privilege of having him on the team at some point in 2019, and beyond.

This move clearly isn’t about getting help down the stretch, because it’s highly unlikely that both the legal process and the NFL’s investigation will be resolved within the next month or so. Instead, the legal process will move at its own speed, the NFL at the appropriate time will impose discipline, if any, and Foster will be eligible to play at some point in 2019, after Foster serves whatever unpaid suspension is imposed on Foster by the NFL.

Of course, there’s a price to pay beyond the $257,000. Washington already has taken a significant P.R. hit, with the vast majority of fans and media expressing disapproval of the move to claim Foster on waivers, two days after the team that made him a first-round draft pick less than 18 months ago cut him loose after his latest off-field incident, a second domestic violence arrest in the same calendar year.

But Washington, which recently needed a quarterback but wouldn’t even glance in the direction of Colin Kaepernick, had no qualms about giving safe harbor and, essentially, money for nothing to a man who at a minimum has a problem following rules and at worst use his size and strength to assault and batter a female.