Washington Redskins Make Cuts; Clearing the Way for Peppers?

Evan HigginsCorrespondent IIMarch 4, 2010

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 14:  Julius Peppers #90 of the Carolina Panthers goes onto the field against the Chicago Bears during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 14, 2008 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Washington Redskins made the biggest splash during the 2009 offseason, and could look to do the same again this year.

Last offseason, Washington signed defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth to a $100 million dollar contract over seven years, just hours after the start of free agency.

Now in 2010, they could be doing it again with another star defensive lineman, Julius Peppers.

Washington cut some expensive contributing players Thursday, releasing defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin, cornerback Fred Smoot, receiver Antwaan Randle El, offensive tackle Randy Thomas, quarterback Todd Collins and running backs Ladell Betts and Rock Cartwright. 

Some of those cuts come as a surprise. We just learned that six-time pro bowler Chris Samuels has retired, and now they cut another Pro-Bowl offensive lineman in Randy Thomas. 

Running back Ladell Betts has dealt with injuries for the past few years, but when healthy has contributed very well as a replacement for starting back Clinton Portis

Other veterans like Griffin, Smoot and Randle El haven't produced at a high level like they used to, but were still key contributors to this team. 

Mike Shanahan is a great coach, and when a new head coach comes in, there are a lot of big name players cut. He wants to go in a different direction with this team that hasn't lived up to expectations after spending millions on free agents the past few years.

This will clear some space for Washington, as the free agent signing period begins at 12:01 am on Friday, March 5th. 

With many big names hitting the market, don't be surprised if the Redskins repeat exactly they did last offseason by signing a franchise player to a big-time contract.

Julius Peppers is the biggest free agent available, and with the cap that the Redskins just cleared, a chance for him to come to Washington becomes much more possible.


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