Commanders To Cut C Nick Gates

Another Commanders offensive starter will be moved off the team’s roster Friday. Following the releases of Charles Leno and Logan Thomas,’s Adam Schefter reports Nick Gates will join the duo in being cut.

This may be a post-June 1 designation. Gates signed a three-year, $16.5MM deal in 2023, and Schefter adds Washington will not release the veteran interior lineman until the new league year begins. A post-June 1 cut would make more sense here, with a Gates move not moving the needle much financially otherwise.

A post-June 1 Gates release will create $2MM in cap space for the team this year, though it will keep that contract on the books through 2025. If Washington does not use the post-June 1 designation, it will only save $333K and be tagged with more dead money. Rather than pay Gates’ $2.89MM base salary next season, the Commanders will be hit with — in the event of a post-June 1 move — $3.7MM in dead money.

Rehabbing a broken leg sustained in September 2021 during a Giants game in Washington, Gates returned in 2022 to re-establish his value. The Commanders signed both he and Andrew Wylie in free agency, attempting to provide their O-line with more midlevel solutions. With Leno gone as well, Washington is cleaning out the veteran branch. Wylie’s contract remains on the books, however. After Eric Bieniemy‘s exit, Wylie’s status will be worth monitoring.

The Gates decision was not too hard to forecast. The Commanders benched the ex-Giants starter midway through the season, moving Tyler Larsen back into the lineup. A Larsen injury, however, led Gates back into the fray. He started the final three games for the team last season. With Larsen also a free agent, the Commanders have some holes to fill up front. They will have the necessary funds to do so.

Gates, 28, was once a Giants extension recipient, re-signing with New York after early success at center. The 2021 injury threw that contract off course, as Big Blue’s center carousel spun. Gates made it back midway through the 2022 season, working as a guard and helping the Giants to a surprise playoff run. He started eight games that season, but it did not lead to a sustained role in Washington.

Unlike Leno and Thomas, Gates will not have a chance to shop around for another destination immediately. Due to the likelihood this is a post-June 1 cut, Gates will have to wait until the March 13 start of the 2024 league year before entering free agency. It will be interesting if the Giants, who are in need at guard once again, give thought to a reunion. They wanted to re-sign Gates in 2022 but passed and moved to other options.

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