Dwayne Haskins was cut by Washington yesterday, marking one of the earliest flameouts for a first-round pick in recent NFL history. But while he won’t be taking the field for Washington again, his business with the team isn’t quite settled. As a first-rounder Haskins’ entire four-year rookie contract was guaranteed, and he’s owed around $4.2MM over the next two seasons. As a result of his mask-less partying with strippers that saw him fined $40K and his captain status revoked, Washington may have a claim to void his guarantees, as Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com writes.
Florio obtained a copy of Haskins’ rookie contract, and points out that the deal specifically says Haskins’ money can be voided even for conduct that didn’t result in a suspension. “Player shall be deemed in Default of the Contract if Player takes any action that Club determines, in its reasonable discretion, undermines the public’s respect for . . . Player’s teammates, Club’s ownership, coaches, [or] management,” it reads. As Florio notes the NFLPA would surely file a grievance on Haskins’ behalf if Washington does try to fight it, and the battle would then spill into a courtroom where an arbitrator would need to decide. The Ravens are currently locked in a similar fight with Earl Thomas while trying to void his hefty 2020 salary after a fight with a teammate caused them to release him. This saga seems a long way from finished. We should find out soon whether any team claimed Haskins on waivers.
In the meantime, here’s more from the league’s East divisions:
- Staying in Washington for a moment, the team has been operating without a GM this season as new coach Ron Rivera essentially runs the show including the personnel department. Although Rivera will likely retain a large amount of power, that setup will change this offseason. Washington is planning on hiring an official GM after the season, sources told Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Rapsheet notes that 49ers exec Martin Mayhew and recently fired Panthers GM Marty Hurney are expected to be considered and interviewed. He also highlights former Texans GM Rick Smith, who has continuously been linked to the team, and Washington reportedly almost hired him last year. Hurney, of course, has a strong connection to Rivera from their time in Carolina together. Meanwhile current VP of player personnel Kyle Smith, who has been the top evaluator this season, will no longer be in charge of roster construction, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes.
- The Patriots are wrapping up a very disappointing season, and they’ve got some big decisions to make this offseason. One of those decisions is what to do with stud corner J.C. Jackson, who is about to be a restricted free agent. The Pats will likely place a first-round tender on Jackson, former NFL agent and current CBS Sports analyst Joel Corry tweets. He notes they did the same with fellow corner Malcolm Butler when he became a RFA. Corry also points out that it’s virtually unheard of for a team to give an offer sheet to a player on a first-round tender, which means Jackson will almost certainly be back in New England next year unless they decide to trade him. Of course, any team signing a player on a first-round tender would have to give up their first-round pick. Last year’s first-round tender was worth around $4.6MM for the player, although we don’t have exact figures for 2021 yet.
- Speaking of disappointing AFC East teams, the Jets have rattled off two straight wins, but major changes are still coming this offseason. One of those changes will likely be defensive end Henry Anderson, who signed a three-year, $25.2MM deal with the team in March of 2019. Anderson hasn’t lived up to that contract, playing barely over 40 percent of the defensive snaps through the first two seasons. Apparently he isn’t going to make it through the end of that pact, as Rich Cimini of ESPN.com writes “there’s little chance of him returning” since the Jets can save $8.2MM by releasing him this offseason. A fifth-round pick of the Colts in 2015, he was traded to New York before the 2018 season and had a breakout campaign with seven sacks, inspiring the team to give him the big deal. He had only one last year and just 0.5 this time around.
- Anderson isn’t the only Jets player in danger of being cut, as Cimini writes that starting right tackle George Fant is on “the bubble.” Fant has a $9.4MM cap charge for 2021, which Cimini thinks is steep for what he deems “replacement level” play. Fant has started 13 games for the Jets so far after being a part-time starter for Seattle the previous few seasons. As Cimini notes we’ll know pretty soon what New York is going to do with him, since $4.45MM of his salary becomes guaranteed if he’s still on the roster on March 22nd.