The Redskins have since confirmed Hatcher's release.
Prior to the move, Hatcher alluded to the end of his time with the Redskins on Instagram:
In 147 regular-season games with the Redskins and Dallas Cowboys, the 33-year-old has recorded 250 combined tackles and 34.5 sacks. He also tallied one interception and five forced fumbles.
In Hatcher's post, he alluded to finding a new home despite discussing retirement as an option after Washington's defeat to the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Wild Card Round. CSN Mid-Atlantic's Tarik El-Bashir shared a photo of Hatcher gathering his belongings with a contemplative caption:
Tarik El-Bashir @TarikCSN
Will Jason Hatcher suit up for the #Redskins again? He said Sunday night that he's contemplating retirement. https://t.co/jaP9hKatEZ2016-1-11 14:58:05
"I've been thinking lately about this being my last year, you know, retiring," he said, per Rich Tandler of CSN Mid-Atlantic. "One thing I've got to pray about. [General manager Scot McCloughan] said he wanted me around."
Hatcher was a late bloomer. His first start for the Cowboys didn't come until his age-28 season, and only four of his final 72 appearances weren't in a starting capacity for his team. During his age-31 season, Hatcher made the only Pro Bowl of his playing career.
He immediately became a key figure for Washington after signing a four-year deal with the team worth $27.5 million. His presence made life easier for linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, who recorded a career-high 13.5 sacks in 2014—Hatcher's first season in the nation's capital.
The Redskins will now have to worry about finding a replacement for Hatcher. The timing couldn't be much worse, either, since defensive tackle Terrance Knighton is hitting free agency. Retaining Knighton might take priority, thus tying the front office's hands in filling the void left by Hatcher.
Should Washington lose both Hatcher and Knighton, the defensive line would be in rough shape heading into the 2016 season. The franchise isn't exactly flush with cap space, as noted by Spotrac, especially when you consider quarterback Kirk Cousins was hit with the franchise tag as both sides try to reach a long-term deal.