After signing a 4 year $32M deal last offseason, Washington GM Scot McCloughan announced in his presser earlier today, that Chris Culliver had been released.
The 6’0″ 199 lb. corner out of the University of South Carolina was signed from San Francisco to aid an ailing unit and to help usher in a culture change. Bringing with him a certain character, work ethic and level of toughness to a locker room and franchise bereft of all three.
Unfortunately, Culliver’s 2015 season was cut short due to his injuring both his ACL and MCL after only playing a total of six games. Injuries ran rampant thru Washington’s secondary last year. As a rookie safety saw time as a corner in nickel packages, a number of players were signed off of practice squads, off the street and even a converted WR saw a number of snaps in high pressure situations throughout the campaign.
The unexpected signing of Josh Norman from Carolina this offseason to a major deal and a need to find money to sign the newly selected 2016 draft class (WAS had $4M in cap space left)– made this decision a necessary evil. Following the delivery of the news, Scot was quoted as saying, “This is the tough part about this business with any player, but especially with him.”
One can only assume, that the last comment is due in part to Culliver being the embodiment of one of the guys, he aims to build an organization around. Though he wasn’t with San Francisco when Chris was drafted in 2011, he was the same type of player that Scot had brought into that organization during his tenure there as an executive.
Looking at Washington’s projected opening day roster, from a numbers standpoint they appear okay at corner with respect to this move. With Norman and Breeland as your projected starters, the highly regarded 2016 selection Fuller if he can get up to speed and is fully healed, may be able to find time as the nickel corner. A spot that Kyshoen Jarrett, a 2015 draftee at safety, fell into and performed admirably prior to succumbing to his own injury issues. With Quinton Dunbar, Will Blackmon and the recently signed Greg Toler also being in the mix, there is a potential logjam at the position.
Is Washington more talented without a healthy Culliver, absolutely not. But sadly the business of the game, does not afford them the opportunity to wait and see how he recovers. Here’s to a successful rehabilitation period that finds him back on the field much sooner than later, and better than ever.
Good luck to you Cully.