After adding standout cornerback Josh Norman in free agency and selecting Virginia Tech corner Kendall Fuller on day two of the draft, Washington has parted ways with one of its incumbents at the position. According to GM Scot McCloughan (via Twitter), the team has released veteran cornerback Chris Culliver.
Culliver, 27, signed a four-year, $32MM contract with Washington just over a year ago, ultimately playing out just one season of that deal. Although Culliver’s agreement with the club called for $16MM in full guarantees, including an $8MM guaranteed salary for 2016, that guarantee was voided when the cornerback was suspended one game for a 2014 incident.
In 2014, his final season with the 49ers, Culliver limited opposing quarterbacks to a completion percentage of 50.7% and a 66.5 passer rating when they threw into his coverage, according to Pro Football Focus. PFF’s grades placed Culliver as the 14th-best cornerback out of 108 qualified players. In 2015, however, Culliver started six games for Washington, tallying 16 tackles and one pass deflection. He was placed on injured reserve in November after tearing his ACL.
Releasing Culliver will save Washington $8MM in cash for 2016, and will open up $5.5MM in cap space, reducing his charge from $9.25MM to $3.75MM.
As a vested veteran, Culliver will be free to sign with any team upon being released, without first having to pass through waivers. Per Tarik El-Bashir of CSN Mid-Atlantic (Twitter links), McCoughan didn’t close the door on the possibility of Culliver returning to Washington at a reduced rate, but that sounds unlikely.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.