It’s time to take a look ahead and see what the Redskins’ depth chart might look like on opening day of 2016. Here is a look at the defense; go here to read the post on the offensive depth chart.
Defensive line: Trent Murphy, Terrance Knighton, Chris Baker
Backups: Ricky Jean Francois, Stephen Paea, Kedric Golston
Jason Hatcher talked about retiring and as he carries an $8.7 million cap number the team might not try to persuade him to stay. Instead they get Trent Murphy into the weight room and add about 15 pounds and covert him into a (still somewhat undersized) end. Golston’s return is iffy. Although his leadership and locker room presence is valued he could be replaced by a younger free agent or a draft pick.
Linebackers: OLBs Junior Galette, Ryan Kerrigan; ILBs Perry Riley, Will Compton
Backups: Preston Smith, Mason Foster, Martrell Spaight, Houston Bates
I’m putting Riley in there in pencil and, of course, Galette needs to be re-signed. Riley missed a total of eight games including the last six of the season after he broke his foot. Foster did a good job filling in for him after being signed off of the street after the season started and if he’s back they may move on from Riley. Smith will get plenty of playing time if he continues to improve.
Defensive backs: CBs Bashaud Breeland, Chris Culliver; SS Kyshoen Jarrett, FS Dashon Goldson
Backups: Jeron Johnson, Quinton Dunbar, DeAngelo Hall, 2-3 draft picks/free agents
This is assuming that Culliver, who suffered a torn ACL and a torn MCL in practice on Thanksgiving Day, will be ready for the opener. Goldson may need to trim down his $7.5 million salary for 2016; perhaps he will take some guaranteed money (there is none of that left; the Bucs paid all of it before the trade) in exchange for a lower salary. The big question here is if they will be confident going into 2016 with backups who spent some time on the roster this year, players like Dashaun Phillips and Deshazor Everett, or if they will shop the free agent market and the draft.
Specialists: K Dustin Hopkins, LS Nick Sundberg, P Tress Way
Hopkins came out of nowhere to become a solid kicker. Way is getting better at refining his craft and could have some Pro Bowls in his future.