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So what happens next for the Redskins defense after the Reuben Foster injury?

So what happens next for the Redskins defense after the Reuben Foster injury?

Reuben Foster cried as he got carted off the field at Redskins Park on Monday. The injury — which is reportedly a torn ACL — was massive on a number of different levels, but personally, for Foster, it had to be devastating. 

A first-round pick in 2017, Foster has had a controversial and tumultuous NFL career. He's been suspended multiple times, dealt with multiple domestic violence arrests (though he's been cleared for both) and has a substance abuse violation. Foster's dealt with police and NFL discipline more in two seasons than most players do in a career, and despite all that, there was great hope for his on-field ability this fall. 

Now for the Redskins, Foster won't be a part of the plans for the 2019 season. So who is?

Expect Mason Foster and Shaun Dion Hamilton to be the starting linebackers for this team. Those two took over the top two spots late in the 2018 season as Zach Brown got benched. With Brown now in Philadelphia, there is hardly any question Foster and Hamilton will get the majority of the work. 

Expect Josh Harvey-Clemons to maintain his role in the nickel package, and all of a sudden, fifth-round rookie Cole Holcomb has a chance not only to make the team but contribute right away. When the 'Skins took Holcomb, the word was he could use his speed on special teams early and learn to be an NFL linebacker. Well, that learning curve just hit the gas pedal. 

The Redskins could look to bring in a veteran free agent linebacker for depth, as former Washington LB Will Compton remains a free agent. There are other names out there, though not that exciting — guys like Josh Bynes, Hayes Pullard or Manti Te'o. 

For fans that wondered why the team held on to Mason Foster this offseason, this is why. Nobody could expect a major injury to Reuben Foster in a non-contact drill in OTAs, but there were questions, both on-field and off-field. In his career, Reuben Foster played just 16 of 32 possible games. Mason Foster has played two full 16-game seasons in the last three years.

The hard reality is that losing Reuben Foster is a big blow for the potential of the Redskins defense, but if it had to happen, May was the best possible time. Washington still has almost four months to build their defense and figure out their linebacker situation.

The potential, though, takes a big hit. Foster was a first-round pick, with some elite talent. He was a major thumper that covered ground fast-moving downhill. 

After the draft, some said the Redskins' defense had top-five potential. Losing Reuben Foster lowers that ceiling. It just does. He was the only player at the linebacker position with his level of skill, and that skill won't be easily replaced. 

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Report: Jordan Reed has cleared concussion protocol, wants to continue playing football

Report: Jordan Reed has cleared concussion protocol, wants to continue playing football

Just days after it was reported that Jordan Reed was still in concussion protocol six months after suffering one last August against the Falcons, the Redskins tight end is apparently healthy once again.

According to The Athletic, Reed has cleared concussion protocol and wants to continue playing professional football. Reed missed the entire season due to the concussion he suffered in Atlanta, the seventh documented concussion of his football career. 

While Reed may still want to suit up, it's unlikely it will be with Washington.

The Redskins are expected to release the tight end, who is entering the second to last season of a five-year, $46 million extension he signed following the 2015 season. The Redskins would save $8.5 million against the cap if they parted ways with Reed prior to June 1.

New head coach Ron Rivera has already parted with multiple veterans, releasing cornerback Josh Norman and Paul Richardson last Friday. Norman had one year remaining on his deal, while Richardson had three.

When asked about the tight end position earlier this month, Rivera wasn't shy about the team needing to improve the unit.

"Do we have our tight end? Probably not," Redskins head coach Ron Rivera said on Redskins Nation on Feb. 4. "That’s a big question mark." 

Two tight ends the Redskins could seek in free agency are Austin Hooper and Eric Ebron, among others.

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Redskins exercise team option on Adrian Peterson for 2020

Redskins exercise team option on Adrian Peterson for 2020

There was little doubt, but Adrian Peterson is officially returning to the Washington Redskins in 2020.

Washington officially exercised Peterson's team option on his contract on Wednesday, keeping the 35-year-old under contract through next season.

"Adrian Peterson is the epitome of what it means to be a pro in this league," head coach Ron Rivera said in the team's statement. "Adrian’s leadership and passion towards the game of football will set an example of what is expected of the players in this program moving forward."

The seven-time Pro Bowler has led Washington in rushing yards the last two seasons. A year ago, he was named a team captain for the Burgundy and Gold and led the team in rushing touchdowns and carries in addition to rushing yards. In 2018, he rushed for over 1,000 yards in his first season with the team.

The future Hall of Famer has continued to climb in the record books during his time in Washington. Last season, he passed Walter Payton on the all-time rushing touchdowns list and eclipsed 14,000 yards on the ground. Entering 2020, he remains 1,054 yards away from passing Lions' legend Barry Sanders for fourth all-time in rushing yards.

Peterson's return to Washington was expected, especially considering the many question marks surrounding the rest of the position group.

If the Redskins had let Peterson become a free agent, Washington's top two running backs under contract would have been third-year pro Derrius Guice and sophomore Bryce Love, both who have a laundry list of injury concerns. The team's top pass-catching back, Chris Thompson, is a free agent.

"It’s a blessing to be back and I look forward to continue leading and inspiring those around me to be great and think outside the box!" Peterson told NBC Sports Washington's Julie Donaldson. "Not only am I appreciative to the organization for having faith in me but also love how the Redskins nation has embraced, showered me with love. I’ll continue to pour my heart and soul into winning a championship! The best is yet to come!"

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