Saahdiq Charles

Commanders Place CB Benjamin St-Juste, OL Saahdiq Charles On IR

Washington made some quick adjustments to its active roster just prior to its season finale against Dallas this weekend, placing cornerback Benjamin St-Juste and offensive lineman Saahdiq Charles on injured reserve, according to Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2. To fill their spots on the 53-man roster, the Commanders signed practice squad tackle Alex Akingbulu and practice squad defensive end Benning Potoa’e to the active roster.

The biggest name here is obviously St-Juste, who has become a full-time starter in the slot during his sophomore season with the Commanders. As a rookie third-round pick last year, St-Juste was able to earn some serious playing time, starting three of nine appearances, but concussion issues led to an early end to his rookie year on IR. This season, St-Juste moved from outside corner to play more of a nickel role in the slot. St-Juste started every game of the season alongside cornerbacks Kendall Fuller and Bobby McCain before beginning to deal with an ankle injury in a Week 11 win over the Texans. St-Juste has missed four of the five games since then and will now end his second season in a row on IR. In his absence, the Commanders have utilized rookie seventh-round pick Christian Holmes and veteran Danny Johnson in the slot.

Since being drafted in the fourth-round in 2020, Charles has been a dependable backup lineman for the Commanders, filling in as a starter for at least one game each season. Charles started three games earlier this season after coming in for injured right guard Trai Turner in a Week 4 loss to the Cowboys. Charles has been inactive since the team’s Week 14 bye while dealing with a concussion. Placing him on IR ensures he will be inactive for his fourth straight game to end the season.

Akingbulu is an undrafted rookie out of Fresno State. The first-team All-Mountain West offensive tackle from last year will provide some depth to the offensive line after the loss of Charles to IR. Potoa’e went undrafted out of the University of Washington in 2020, initially signing with the Buccaneers. After two seasons on Tampa Bay’s practice squad, Potoa’e was released in final roster cuts this preseason and decided to sign to the Commanders’ practice squad this season. Potoa’e is looking for his second in-game appearance this season, while an appearance by Akingbulu would mark his NFL debut.

Commanders C Chase Roullier Likely Out For Season, Restructures Contract

Commanders center Chase Roullier is likely done for the season, as Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com reported earlier this week (via Twitter). Roullier played in only eight games last season due to a fibula fracture, so this is an especially disappointing development for player and team.

It was the fibula injury, suffered in Week 8 of the 2021 campaign, that landed Roullier on the PUP list at the start of this year’s training camp. The Wyoming product was able to suit up for the 2022 opener, but he went down with a serious injury to his right knee — which John Keim of ESPN.com reports is a torn MCL — in the waning moments of Washington’s Week 2 loss to the Lions. He underwent surgery on the knee on Thursday.

A starter since his rookie year in 2017, Roullier established himself as a quality blocker over his first few professional seasons, with Pro Football Focus consistently awarding him high marks for his pass-blocking prowess. 2020 was his best year yet, and he earned a four-year, $40.5MM extension in January 2021. Unfortunately, after appearing in 46 of a possible 48 regular season games from 2018-20, it looks like Roullier will have appeared in just 10 of a possible 34 games from 2021-22.

He will, however, get a little extra financial security despite the injury. In order to carve out some much-needed cap space, the Commanders have converted $4.5MM of Roullier’s base salary into a signing bonus, as Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. The transaction gives Washington an additional $3MM in cap room.

PFF graded Washington’s O-line as the sixth-best unit in 2020 and 2021, but that group is facing some serious hardship this year. The Commanders lost longtime right guard Brandon Scherff in free agency and tried to replace him with veteran Trai Turner. Turner, though, missed most of training camp with a quad injury and was replaced by Saahdiq Charles during the club’s Week 4 loss to the Cowboys due to poor performance.

Meanwhile, Roullier’s replacement, Wes Schweitzer, sustained a concussion one week after Roullier’s injury and has been placed on IR, so the Commanders will deploy recent acquisition Nick Martin at the pivot for at least a few games. Furthermore, Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post reports that right tackle Samuel Cosmi underwent surgery on his right thumb on Tuesday and will miss an undisclosed amount of time.

NFC East Notes: Toney, Eagles, Commanders

Kadarius Toney did not make the trip to London with his Giants teammates, and Brian Daboll offered another discouraging update regarding the 2021 first-round pick’s status. Toney is battling a new injury, with Daboll indicating the reason he did not make the trip is due to a Wednesday tweak of his previously non-injured hamstring (via SNY’s Connor Hughes, on Twitter). Toney is now dealing with injuries to both his hamstrings, and ESPN.com’s Jordan Raanan adds (via Twitter) the shifty wideout said the hamstring issue he entered the week with was different from the one that plagued him this offseason. That would add up to three hamstring problems since camp.

Toney has yet to sustain a serious injury as a pro, but he has fast become one of the league’s most unavailable players. Quadriceps and oblique injuries sidelined him for seven combined games last season, and an ankle malady forced him out of another game. Toney missed much of last year’s training camp with a hamstring injury and underwent a knee scope this offseason. The Giants’ current regime is souring on the Dave Gettleman-era investment, who is signed through 2024.

The Giants will be without ToneyKenny Golladay and Wan’Dale Robinson against the Packers in London. The second-round rookie, who has not played since Week 1, will likely be out again. While Golladay will almost certainly not be part of next year’s Giants team, it is worth wondering if Toney will be. Here is the latest from the NFC East:

  • The Giants wanted DeVonta Smith last year, but the Eagles traded in front of them. Philadelphia was able to begin wheeling and dealing to land the Heisman winner after its apparent Week 17 tanking effort the year prior. That gave Philly the No. 6 overall pick, though Doug Pederson was no longer with the team by that draft. Pederson never informed Jalen Hurts of the plan to, after not dressing Carson Wentz that night, take him out and play third-stringer Nate Sudfeld, Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes. Pederson benching Hurts late in a close, nationally televised game bothered some in the organization, including then-DC Jim Schwartz. Some staffers also wondered if that decision would affect the Pederson-Hurts relationship going forward, McLane adds. That said, Pederson later expressed regret he did not go with Hurts sooner. As Wentz struggled during the 2020 season, the Eagles did not turn to Hurts until Week 14 that year.
  • Eagles management wanted to use the 2021 season to retool with younger talent, Zach Berman of The Athletic notes, while Pederson was behind a reload with a similar coaching staff. Pederson, who had resisted management’s wishes to oust Mike Groh during the 2020 offseason, wanted to promote Press Taylor to OC. That did not sit well with Jeffrey Lurie. Pederson has since hired Taylor as his Jaguars OC.
  • The Andrew NorwellTrai Turner guard reunion may end up being short-lived. The Commanders benched Turner in Week 4, and Ron Rivera said the move will carry over. Saahdiq Charles will start over Turner in Week 5, Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post tweets, with Rivera noting Turner is not fully over the quad injury he battled in camp. Turner nevertheless started from Weeks 2-4 and played 100% of the Commanders’ offensive snaps in Weeks 2 and 3. The former Rivera Panthers charge signed a one-year, $3MM deal this offseason, coming to Washington after one-year stays with the Chargers and Steelers. A third-year Washington O-lineman, Charles has started five career games

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/16/21

Today’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Kansas City Chiefs

Jacksonville Jaguars

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/9/21

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Rams

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Washington Looking To Add Left Tackle

Trent Williams last suited up for Washington in 2018. The team has not replaced the perennial Pro Bowler with a long-term option, but that will be the goal going into the draft.

Washington will look to add a new starting left tackle, with John Keim of ESPN.com noting the team believes it can do so in the first three rounds of this draft. While Washington should be on the radar for a quarterback trade-up, the team sticking at No. 19 and drafting a tackle or trading down and selecting one soon after appears to be firmly in play.

Cornelius Lucas and Geron Christian split time there last season, and Pro Football Focus graded Lucas as a top-25 tackle over the course of the season. Washington has Lucas signed through 2021, with the former UDFA agreeing to a two-year, $3.8MM deal in 2020. Washington only used the 29-year-old blocker as an eight-game starter last season; Christian started six games. PFF graded the latter 60th among tackles. The team drafted Saahdiq Charles in last year’s fourth round, though Keim notes it views the LSU product as a tackle or guard. Charles played one game last season.

While Williams battled myriad injuries as his Washington career waned, the team did not have to worry about adding at this spot. Ron Rivera has since said the O-line is a priority. If Washington either trades up for a passer or does not end up with a tackle fairly early, the team could look to longtime Steelers starter Alejandro Villanueva. However, Washington will not consider the veteran until after the draft, Keim adds.

Beyond Penei Sewell and Rashawn Slater, Scouts Inc. grades Oklahoma State’s Teven Jenkins and Virginia Tech’s Christian Darrisaw as first-round prospects. The likes of Jalen Mayfield (Michigan), Liam Eichenberg (Notre Dame) and Texas’ Samuel Cosmi profile as possible second-round selections. Stanford’s Walker Little once loomed as a potential first-round prospect, but his stock has dropped due to a season-ending injury in Week 1 of the 2019 campaign and the fact that he opted out of the 2020 season.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/24/20

Here is another spree of Saturday minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

  • Moved from IR to reserve/COVID-19 list: CB Michael Joseph

Cincinnati Bengals

Dallas Cowboys

Green Bay Packers

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

  • Promoted: CB Dylan Mabin

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

  • Activated from IR: OL Cameron Clark
  • Promoted: K/P Sergio Castillo, LB Bryce Hager

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

NFL Draft Pick Signings: 7/23/20

Here are Thursday’s draft pick agreements, with the list being updated throughout the day.

  • The Vikings picked an interesting year to make 15 draft choices, given the pandemic’s impact on developmental work. But the team is nearly finished with rookie contract agreements. Minnesota signed third-round cornerback Cameron Dantzler (Mississippi State), fourth-round defensive end D.J. Wonnum (South Carolina), fifth-round corner Harrison Hand (Temple), fifth-round wideout K.J. Osborn (Miami), sixth-round tackle Blake Brandel (Oregon State), sixth-round safety Josh Metellus (Michigan), seventh-round defensive end Kenny Willekes (Michigan State) and seventh-round safety Brian Cole (Mississippi State). Minnesota lost Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander this offseason and tripled up on corners in the draft. First-round corner Jeff Gladney is the Vikes’ lone unsigned pick.
  • Top 2020 Steelers pick Chase Claypool, a second-rounder, is now under contract. The Steelers have their latest Day 2 wide receiver investment signed, along with Round 6 safety Antoine Brooks (Maryland). Claypool’s addition means the top four Pittsburgh wideouts — JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, Diontae Johnson and Claypool — came from the second or third rounds. The Notre Dame product has quite the SPARQ profile, going 6-foot-4, 238 pounds and running a 4.42-second 40-yard dash at the Combine.
  • Washington wrapped up its 2020 draft class by signing Round 4 tackle Saahdiq Charles, Round 5 linebacker Khaleke Hudson, Round 6 safety Kamren Curl and Round 7 defensive end James Smith-Williams.
  • The Bengals signed one of Claypool’s former Fighting Irish teammates, fifth-round defensive end Khalid Kareem. He is the first of Cincinnati’s seven 2020 picks to agree to terms.

LSU’s Lloyd Cushenberry, Jacob Phillips Declare For Draft

After winning the national championship, a number of LSU players are planning their next move. Center Lloyd Cushenberry III, linebacker Jacob Phillips, and offensive tackle Saahdiq Charles were among the notable members of the squad to declare for the NFL Draft today.

This past season, Cushenberry helped lead a unit that earned the Joe Moore Award for best offensive line. The six-foot-four, 315-pound center started 28-straight games during his time with the Tigers. Thanks in part to the consistency and durability, the lineman could end up being a first- or second-round pick.

Phillips is projected to go around the same range as his teammate. The linebacker had a standout season for LSU, compiling 113 tackles and 7.5 tackles for loss. Charles doesn’t have the same draft stock as Cushenberry or Phillips, but he was still a major part of the award-winning offensive line. He missed six games this past season due to disciplinary issues.

LSU had a number of additional players declare for the draft today: safety Grant Delpit, linebacker Patrick Queen, wide receiver Justin Jefferson and running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire.