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Commanders Trim Roster To 53 But ‘Not Done Yet’

By Mark Solway | August 31st, 2022

Tuesday was cut down day – arguably the toughest day to be an NFL player – especially if you’re on the bubble. The Commanders trimmed their roster down to 53 players, and with it came a few surprises.

One of the big surprises was that Brian Robinson Jr. was NOT put on the non-injury list. Robinson needed surgery just a couple of days ago, after being shot in an armed robbery. That might mean that he’ll be back in less than four games because otherwise, they could have put him on the list and had an extra roster slot. Washington have four running backs in the 2022 stable – Robinson, Antonio Gibson, J.D. McKissic, and Jonathan Williams.

Washington also put a few players on the injured reserve which negates them from occupying a current roster slot – OT Willie Beavers, C Keith Ismael, and CB Josh Drayden.

Most Surprising Cuts

Several players that were on the 2021 roster did not make the cut this time around:

CB Danny Johnson
DE William Bradley-King
OG Wes Martin
RB Jaret Patterson
LB Khaleke Hudson
CB Corn Elder

Johnson didn’t have a great pre-season, but given the lack of depth at the position, his release was still a bit of a surprise. Same goes for Corn Elder.

Martin was drafted in the fourth round by Washington in 2019. The guard out of Indiana was beat out by Chris Paul this time around. Paul, along with Wes Schweitzer, will back up off-season acquisitions Andrew Norwell and Trai Turner. Given that Turner is yet to see the field, that might be important. The Commanders also have Keith Ismael and Willie Beavers – though both of them were put on injured reserve to start the season.

Patterson would seem to be a victim of numbers, as he had a decent camp – but obviously the running back room is pretty full. Still a bit of a surprise that the team went with Williams as insurance over Patterson. He’s definitely a good practice squad possibility if he clears waivers.

Bradley-King was drafted by the Commanders last year in the 7th round. He did see some playing time in 2021, but could not eke out a spot this time around.

Hudson was a bit of a surprise because frankly, the linebacker room is extremely sparse.  The team lists David Mayo, Cole Holcomb, and Jamin Davis as starters, but only Milo Eifler and De’jon Harris remain as backups. Play Buffalo Nickel? On every single down if you have any injuries at all. Washington drafted Hudson out of Michigan, in the 5th round of the 2020 Draft.

Rest Of The Cuts

OT Alex Akingbulu
DT David Bada
TE Kendall Blanton
RB Reggie Bonnafon
DT Tyler Clark
WR Matt Cole
WR Alex Erickson
S Ferrod Gardner
DT Justin Hamilton
TE Jake Hausmann
OG Nolan Laufenberg
WR Kyric McGowan
WR Marken Michel
OT Aaron Monteiro
CB DeJuan Neal
DE Jacub Panasiuk
S Steven Parker
C Jon Toth
LB Tre Walker

Coach Says

After making the cuts, head coach Ron Rivera spoke of how bigger practice squads and rule changes have impacted the roster. The NFL will allow 16 players on a practice squad again in 2022 – a change that came about in 2020 when COVID hit. The league was scheduled to go back to 14 this year, but voted to keep the number at 16. That means that a lot of the players cut, could be re-signed to the 2022 practice squad.

When asked if the initial 53 man roster was the opening day squad, Rivera said, “We’re not done yet.”

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