Washington continued its high-cost roster purge Monday by releasing safety Dashon Goldson.
The 31-year-old was due a $7.5 million base salary in 2016. He was three years into the five-year, $41.25 million contract he originally signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2013. Washington traded a sixth-round pick for him a year ago in a buy-low move, and the veteran safety paid huge dividends.
Goldson recorded a career-high 110 tackles and made one interception, turning in his best overall campaign since leaving San Francisco. The team voted him as its defensive captain, and he helped lead a unit that ultimately pushed Washington back to the postseason.
"Dashon Goldson has been a great leader for us all season long," quarterback Kirk Cousins said in January, per Washington Times. "You can tell he's been a part of teams that have won and won consistently. He's been a great personality in our locker room to help from that standpoint, and he's been a great leader for us."
The move largely comes down to money. Goldson joins Robert Griffin III and defensive end Jason Hatcher among players Washington cut Monday, which the team also confirmed. Fullback Darrel Young and defensive tackle Terrance Knighton also tweeted they would not be returning in 2016, so it's clear Washington is undergoing a sea of changes.
Hatcher and Knighton were both key members of an improved defensive line, while Young has been in Washington his entire NFL career. Griffin's departure was the only clear no-brainer, as it was possible the others would have agreed to a lesser salary for a return.
Goldson almost certainly won't be getting anything near the $7.5 million he would have received in Washington on the open market. It's clear he still has limitations in coverage and needs a scheme willing to work around his lack of top-end speed for him to be effective. Still, it's a surprise the two sides couldn't come to a reworked agreement after being such a good match in 2015.
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