As covered on this here website on Wednesday — some would say "brilliantly covered," by the way — the Washington Football Team is in prime position to be a major spender when free agency begins later this month.
However, while Ron Rivera and the front office are poised to add outside help soon, could they also make a few surprise cuts (and one very bold one) in order to further shake up their current roster?
That's a trend that's already commenced around the league, and one that could soon become even more prevalent.
So, if Washington joined in on that movement — they don't exactly have to yet, but could choose to — these names would be worth watching, starting with a massive one.
NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal floated this idea out there recently, and though it'd be rather shocking if it actually happened, there is logic behind the thinking.
Since joining the franchise, Collins' performance has been far from exceptional, and plenty would take issue with labeling it as anything more than passable. He's only picked off one pass in 23 contests and his tackling has been sporadic, which doesn't bode well for someone who's supposed to be a force near the line of scrimmage.
Plus, he's rehabbing from a torn Achilles tendon that he sustained in Week 7 of the 2020 campaign. That injury isn't as damning for athletes as it once was, but it's still a significant part of his story. And in his absence, Kam Curl thrived and Deshazor Everett and Jeremy Reaves provided useful contributions as well.
Now, the reason this would qualify as an unexpected transaction is Collins' contract. Moving on from him 12 months from now would be a lot cleaner. Washington could designate him as a post-June 1 cut, sure, and that would allow them to spread out the $18 million in dead money that would result from that decision over two years, but that'd still represent a lot of burned cash overall.
That said, some organizations are showing more of a willingness to eat lump sums of money just to get rid of a piece that doesn't fit. Due to Collins' lack of production and disconcerting Achilles issue, maybe Washington will become the next to do just that.
Bostic is coming off what's likely the best effort of his career. The linebacker notched 118 combined tackles, three sacks and an interception for Rivera and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio. He's never going to be one of the more dynamic guys at the position, but he's certainly serviceable.
That might also be his problem.
Washington's leaders publicly stated that they want more talent at linebacker, and if they're revealing that publicly, imagine the way they view the spot privately. Therefore, Bostic may be in more trouble than his stat line would suggest.
The team could release Bostic at any time, and by doing so, they'd take a cap hit of just $875,000 and save about $2.7 million. Those aren't enormous numbers, but that amount of savings also isn't insignificant.
With all of the second-level options set to hit the market and the Burgundy and Gold picking 19th in the draft, the opportunity to find an upgrade over Bostic does exist.
Much to the chagrin of many fans, Washington's staff values Barber. The appreciation for him is somewhat understandable for those that closely follow the squad, too, even as outsiders often mocked it.
His 2020 yards-per-carry average of 2.7 is woeful on the surface, but the majority of his time on the field came on short-yardage situations, and typically, if he picked up two or three yards, that meant he was also picking up a first-down conversion. So, essentially, he was a specific role player, and he handled that role well.
Yet it's not like that role is exceptionally hard to fill; running backs are as cheap as they've ever been, and there's going to be Day 3 selections who can be a pounder for Washington like Barber was — and at a cheaper rate.
Yes, Barber is cheap on his own — and Rivera is fond of him — but the team would suffer a minute cap hit of $300,000 and save close to $1.4 million. Like Bostic, this isn't something Washington must do, but it is something it can easily do to save some more money.