Colts Sign WR James Washington

Genard Avery‘s season-ending knee injury will lead to him joining Ashton Dulin, who also suffered a season-ending knee injury this week, on IR. To fill Avery’s roster spot, the Colts signed James Washington.

Washington is running out of time to prove himself in the NFL. The Cowboys and Saints have released the former second-round pick over the past year, and the Giants did not use him in a game after adding him late last season.

The Colts will see how Washington looks in their system. Teams must trim their rosters from 90 to 53 by 3pm August 29. After two years of going back to a tiered cut system, the NFL reintroduced the 90-to-53 slash this year. That will lead to more players hitting waivers than at previous points in the 2020s. This does not affect Washington, who is a vested veteran. But the ex-Steelers draftee does not have much time to prove himself in Indianapolis.

The Steelers used Washington as a regular in 2019, when an elbow injury sidelined Ben Roethlisberger after two games. Teaming with ex-college teammate Mason Rudolph, Washington put together his best NFL stretch. He totaled 44 receptions for 735 yards and three touchdowns that year. Although Washington’s five touchdown receptions helped Pittsburgh bounce back and win the NFC North in 2020, Chase Claypool usurped him in the team’s receiver rotation. Washington only finished with 285 receiving yards in 2021. A foot fracture sustained early during Cowboys training camp last year derailed the 5-foot-11 deep threat in Dallas.

Washington, 27, will join a few wideouts to sign with the Colts this year. Amari Rodgers, Breshad Perriman and Isaiah McKenzie as veterans picked up during Shane Steichen‘s initial months as head coach. The team will determine how Washington and this trio fit alongside roster locks Michael Pittman Jr., Alec Pierce and third-round pick Josh Downs.

With 16-man practice squads able to include up to six vested veterans, Washington would also have a chance to land here with the Colts, who waived wide receiver Malik Turner with an injury designation Friday. A former Seahawks, Cowboys and 49ers cog, Turner signed with the Colts in February.

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