Washington, 27, entered the league as a seventh round pick of the Lions in 2016. When he was pushed off of the roster by the Lions’ crowded running back depth chart in 2018, he joined up with the Saints’ practice squad. For the last three years, he’s served as a backup and special teams player in New Orleans. Now, he’s back for No. 4 to support Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray alongside the recently re-signed Ty Montgomery.
Washington finished the regular season on a strong note, notching 108 rushing yards in Week 17. All in all, he finished out with 229 yards off of 43 carries.
New Orleans won’t see Mark Ingram return from suspension until Week 5, and the club is still searching for a viable backup to lighten the load on starter Alvin Kamara. Through three games, Kamara has handled 81% of the Saints’ running back snaps and 79% of the club’s running back touches. Reserves Mike Gillislee and Jonathan Williams haven’t contributed much, and one could conceivably be cut in order to create a roster spot for Washington.
Washington, 24, was selected by the Lions in the seventh round of the 2016 draft. After appearing in 12 games and toting the ball 90 times (for an unappealing 2.9 yards per carry) during his rookie campaign, Washington’s playing time dropped precipitously in 2017, when he managed only 20 carries in five games. He was released during final cutdowns earlier this month, pushed off Detroit’s roster by the club’s crowded running back depth chart.
Even if Washington doesn’t see much work behind Kamara, he could still help on special teams, as he handled two kickoff returns in each of his two seasons with the Lions. However, the Saints re-signed wideout Brandon Tate earlier this week, and he figures to take on return duties for New Orleans.
September 2nd, 2018 at 6:40pm CST by Dallas Robinson
Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four NFC South teams. Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline yesterday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters, claiming players off waivers or signing guys who clear waivers. Those transactions for the Falcons, Panthers, Saints, and Buccaneers are noted below.
Additionally, as of 12:00pm CT today, teams can begin constructing their 10-man practice squads. You can check out our glossary entry on practice squads to brush up on those changes, as well as all the other guidelines that govern the 10-man units, whose players practice with the team but aren’t eligible to suit up on Sundays.
Here are Sunday’s NFC South transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day:
With Rudock out of the picture, Matt Cassel will serve as the backup to quarterback Matthew Stafford. Freeny conceivably could have made the roster based on his familiarity with head coach Matt Patricia, but the Lions went in another direction.
Twentyman thinks the three on the bubble will be fighting it out for just one spot on the team. As of now he seems to think that Abdullah has the edge. The team can save $1MM in cap space by cutting Abdullah. Abdullah has been a disappointment since entering the league with a lot of hype as a second round pick back in 2015. Entering the final year of his rookie deal, even if he does make the roster this fall, 2018 should be his last season in Detroit. Washington and Zenner have both been hanging around the bottom of the Lions’ roster the past couple of years, and it looks like it could be the end of the road for them.
Here’s more from the league’s northern divisions:
The Browns are very high on rookie Denzel Ward, reports Tony Grossi of ESPN Cleveland. The number four overall pick in this year’s draft, Ward has drawn rave reviews from defensive coordinator Gregg Williams this spring. “He is one of the best press guys that I have seen” Williams said, adding that Ward “passed with flying colors” during offseason workouts. It sounds like Ward could start right away and that he could help solve the Browns’ long-lasting issues at cornerback.
The Packers battle between Tramon Williams and rookie Josh Jackson for a starting cornerback spot will be one of the most interesting competitions to keep an eye on, writes Nick Shook of NFL.com. Shook points out that Williams is 35, and that the Packers might be eager to usher in a “new era” at cornerback with Jackson. Williams could hang on as a starter for one final year, but it won’t be long until the Packers’ younger cornerbacks take over.
Golden Tate isn’t concerned with his contract, he told Sirius XM NFL Radio (Twitter link). Tate said he wasn’t worried about heading into the final year of his deal, and doesn’t appear to be pressuring the Lions for a new one. He did say teams shouldn’t hold his age against him, because he hasn’t “shown any decline.”
Well-traveled backup quarterback Dan Orlovsky re-signed with the Lions this offseason after spending 2015 as the team’s No. 2 signal-caller behind Matthew Stafford. However, the Lions drafted Michigan’s Jake Rudock in the sixth round of this year’s draft–the first time Detroit has drafted a QB since selecting Stafford himself in 2009–and that selection immediately put Orlovsky’s job in jeopardy. After all, new GM Bob Quinn was raised in a Patriots system that typically keeps just two quarterbacks, and rarely has the backup been a veteran.
But Dave Birkett of The Detroit Free Press writes that both head coach Jim Caldwell and OC Jim Bob Cooter sang Orlovsky’s praises after the conclusion of OTAs on Thursday, and as Rudock is a fairly raw prospect, the Lions may wind up keeping three quarterbacks in 2016, or even trying to stash Rudock on the practice squad. In any event, it is far too early to count Orlovsky out of the picture.
Now for more from the Motor City:
Detroit selected running back Dwayne Washington in the seventh round of this year’s draft, but because NFL policy prohibits college players from practicing with their new teams until their academic year is over, Washington’s first OTA practice on Thursday was the team’s last OTA practice, which puts him at a major disadvantage. However, as Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com writes, Washington’s speed was on full display on Thursday, and Washington himself indicated that the practice went as well as could be expected.
In the same piece, Rothstein says Alex Carter, last year’s third-round selection, is expected to be a significant part of the Lions’ cornerback rotation. Carter suffered an ankle injury during the early stages of training camp last season and did not play a single snap for Detroit, but Rothstein pegs him as the team’s No. 4 corner behind Darius Slay, Quandre Diggs, and Nevin Lawson.