After an eight-game 2021 season, Chase Roullier is facing a second straight year with an extended absence. The Commanders center is heading to IR with what ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler notes (via Twitter) is a significant knee injury.
Roullier, who suffered a season-ending fibula fracture in Week 8 last year, will seek a second opinion on his latest injury, according to John Keim of ESPN.com. The veteran center left Sunday’s game with barely a minute remaining and exited Ford Field on crutches.
Last year’s injury required extensive procedures, leading Roullier to begin Washington’s 2022 training camp on the active/PUP list. He joined Chase Young and Logan Thomas as notable Commanders needing additional rehab from injuries sustained last season. Roullier, 29, returned to work and was good to go by Week 1, beginning his sixth season as Washington’s center starter. Now, the Commanders will need to make another adjustment.
Wes Schweitzer will take over for Roullier at center, Keim adds. One of many veteran presences on Washington’s O-line, Schweitzer began his season as the team’s starting right guard. The Commanders signed longtime Panthers starter Trai Turner this offseason. After not cracking Washington’s starting lineup to open the season, Turner will become the team’s full-time right guard. He did line up with the starters in Detroit due to a Schweitzer hamstring injury.
This is a tough blow to a team that lost perennial Pro Bowl guard Brandon Scherff in free agency. Pro Football Focus has rated the Washington O-line as the league’s sixth-best blocking unit in 2020 and 2021. While injuries have regularly hit this position group, Washington not having Scherff to anchor this year’s front five will make for a more difficult task replacing Roullier. Washington gave the former sixth-round pick a four-year, $40.5MM deal at the end of the 2020 season. That accord ranks as the NFL’s sixth-most lucrative center contract. Roullier (63 career starts) has been a first-unit presence since his rookie year.
A former Falcons starter, Schweitzer is in Year 3 of a three-year, $13.5MM Washington deal. The 29-year-old blocker has made 18 starts with Washington and 51 over the course of his seven-year career. The ex-sixth-rounder has almost exclusively played guard, however. Turner, 29, is even more experienced, having lined up as a starting guard 107 times.