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What Losing Mason Foster Means for the Redskins

Redskins release Foster; how does this change their 2019?

Earlier today, the Washington Redskins informed linebacker Mason Foster that he would be released from the team. Despite being the Redskins’ leading tackler last season, the 30-year-old middle linebacker faced many struggles during his four-year tenure in Washington. Now, the Redskins will be forced to lean on younger talent to fill the void.

In 50 games played for Washington, Foster averaged around 6.6 tackles per game. The majority of his 318 combined tackles came from this past season, as well as the 2016 season. Though he seemed to be improving on a yearly basis, many have speculated that Foster is slowing down. His lack of quickness and speed often made it difficult to keep up with certain offensive weapons. In addition, Foster struggled with his reads from time to time, which often led to gaps being formed in the defense.

Although this news isn’t entirely a surprise, the timing is rather shocking. Washington recently lost Reuben Foster – one of their newest defensive acquisitions – after tearing his ACL on the 1st day of OTAs. This type of injury had many believing that Mason Foster would be back for another year, but it looks like Washington will be moving in a different direction after all.

Next Man Up

With both Fosters out of the picture for the 2019 season, the Redskins have no choice but to turn to their young guys. Though unproven, players like Shaun Dion Hamilton and Josh Harvey-Clemons have plenty of upside to work with. The two will likely get more playing time and have the opportunity to compete for the number two linebacker spot. Jon Bostic should be the favorite to take the top linebacker spot, considering his production and experience in the league. There is also hope of Cole Holcomb emerging to be a potential starting candidate, but the rookie must prove himself like his peers.

It's currently 'Next Man Up' in Washington after Mason Foster's release
Bostic and Holcomb stand close at Redskins mini-camp. (Image Courtesy of the Washington Redskins)

After aiming so much attention towards the defensive side of the ball, 2019 should be a good test for the Washington Redskins. On paper, the only solidified group that they have is their defensive line, whereas every other position group retains questions. Releasing Mason Foster only adds to the pressure that’s been put on Washington’s defense, but they very well might be ready for it.

On top of shedding excess weight, Washington frees up $4 million in cap space. Looming contractual issues might have influenced Foster’s release, but ultimately this transaction should benefit the team as a whole. Younger players now have a chance at earning their spot, as well as the slight possibility that Washington could work out a new deal with Trent Williams and/or Brandon Scherff.  Either way, Foster’s release was a long time coming.

 

Featured Image Courtesy of the Washington Post.

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