The Redskins released veteran defensive lineman Ziggy Hood on Tuesday, and in a vacuum, that's not major news.
Hood has been a strong locker room presence for Washington for the last three seasons. He's played mostly out of position at nose tackle during his time with the Redskins, but he didn't complain and worked hard.
Still, Hood is a 31-year-old defensive lineman and was the last man in the Redskins rotation.
While the Washington coaches and staff will all have plenty of good things to say about Hood, with the vocal emergence of second-year pro Jonathan Allen, Hood's leadership skills became less valuable.
It's probably not a coincidence, however, that 28-year-old Stacy McGee must come off the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list this week. McGee underwent surgery for a groin injury this offseason and was unable to practice throughout preseason.
In turn, the Redskins placed him on the PUP list, which meant he could not practice or play for the first six weeks of the season.
Well, check the calendar — it's Week 7.
At 6-foot-3 and 339 lbs., McGee is bigger and younger than Hood. McGee is also carrying a $4.8 million cap hit this season, where Hood counted for $1.7 million.
It's the NFL and it'a a cutthroat business.
McGee is now eligible to return to practice, and if he's ready, the active roster. If he's not ready, the Redskins have three weeks of practice time to let him continue to work back into shape.
Washington could also send McGee to the injured reserve list (ending his season) or release him. But neither of these options are expected.
Throughout the beginning of the season, McGee has been a fixture at Redskins Park, both in the weight room and on the practice fields.
Last year, McGee played all 16 games for the Redskins and logged 44 tackles. Other players talked up his ability to absorb double team blocks, freeing up linebackers to make tackles.
Pro Football Focus graded McGee as +2.6 for the 2017 season, where Hood graded out at -26.3.
There are other options as well.
Maybe the Redskins want to give Caleb Brantley more opportunities. The team was high on Brantley going into the 2017 NFL Draft before an off-field accusation caused him to slip on draft boards. Washington signed him during roster cuts after he as released from Cleveland, but he's yet to make a gameday 46 for the Redskins.
It's also possible the Redskins have identified another player, either a free agent or a practice squad player on another team.
One free agent that seems wildly unlikely to fill Hood's roster spot: Junior Galette.
While plenty of Redskins fans want to see Galette return to the Burgundy and Gold, remember, Galette plays outside linebacker and his greatest asset is speed of the edge. Whoever replaces Hood needs to be a big body, serving as a space eater along the defensive line.
Think of it this way: Galette is a Ferrari. Hood is an F-350.
You don't want an F-350 on the race track, or a Ferrari hauling firewood.
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