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Need to Know: Will Culliver remain on the Redskins’ roster this year?

Feb 18, 2016, 5:18 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, February 18, 6 days before the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

Should Culliver return?

Let’s take a quick look back at the Culliver story before answering it. Last year the Redskins signed Culliver, who will be 28 in August, to a four-year contract worth $32 million. When it was signed it had $16 million fully guaranteed; part of that was his $8 million salary for 2016.

When he was healthy he played pretty well but health was a major issue. He missed three games due to an inflamed knee. Culliver was rounding back into form but at practice on Thanksgiving Day he suffered a torn ACL and MCL and his season was over.

For their investment the Redskins got six games, no interceptions and one pass defensed.

Culliver’s 2016 cap hit will be $9.25 million. That $8 million base salary will be the highest on the team after Robert Griffin III is released.

Culliver did miss one other game and as it turns out it plays a big role in deciding about his future. He was suspended in Week 2 for a violation of the NFL’s personal conduct policy that occurred when he was with the 49ers. According to the terms of his contract the suspension voided any future guarantees in his contract. So his 2016 salary is no longer guaranteed, putting the option of moving on from him from the realm of being financially irresponsible to being possible.

If Culliver’s salary was still guaranteed, cutting him would have created a net cap hit of $9.25 million. As it is now, cutting him saves a net of $5.5 million.

But the fact that the money will work if he gets cut doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea to let him go. Right now the cornerback depth chart consists of Culliver, Bashaud Breeland and some second-year players. Some of them, like Quinton Dunbar, could be pretty good. But it would be scary to go into the season with just Breeland, who is just in his third year, Dunbar, and the other inexperienced players.

And that is said realizing that Culliver may not be able to go at the start of the season. The season opener will be about nine and a half months after his injury so we’ll just have to see how things progress. But even if they have to rely on Dunbar for a few weeks that’s better than relying on him for 16 games.

I think that Culliver stays this year and McCloughan will find a cornerback in the draft. If the drafted CB shows promise they may well decide they can do without Culliver and the $8 million per year he has remaining on the last two years of his deal.


—The Redskins last played a game 39 days ago. It will be about 206 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL Combine 6; NFL free agency starts 20; 2016 NFL draft 70

In case you missed it

  1. Lex - Feb 18, 2016 at 5:50 AM

    Cut him and bring in sean smith from kc

    • babyteal1 - Feb 18, 2016 at 7:49 AM

      Get it done Lex!!!

      • redskinsnameisheretostay - Feb 18, 2016 at 10:34 AM

        Why do you need to behave like a trolling jackass?

        • babyteal1 - Feb 18, 2016 at 10:54 AM

          Who’s trolling now? I liked what Lex suggested.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Feb 18, 2016 at 11:10 AM

          It looks like you are patronizing. If that wasn’t your intent then I apologize but that it appears that way to me.

  2. sidepull - Feb 18, 2016 at 6:35 AM

    The injury really put a damper on this signing and his future with the Redskins. He has a huge cap hit and if they have to trim the roster and were to cut him it would be a big disappointment. Glad I do not have to make this decision. His position by nature is going to test his recovery from that injury.

    • babyteal1 - Feb 18, 2016 at 7:48 AM

      Yes agreed…big decision. If he would have played better we wouldn’t even be having this conversation but he didn’t.

  3. colorofmyskinz - Feb 18, 2016 at 6:43 AM

    Yep. If his knee was just ACL I might go on a hope and prayer. But MCL and ACL is different. High dollars to watch him recover, especially after he did not really contribute much prior to injury. We can easily redeploy the cap savings to get someone healthy I have to believe.

    Loved when we signed him. But now we have nothing with his huge contract. We need to get a healthy veteran CB with that cap savings and draft another high pick corner.

    Just my thoughts.

    • ET - Feb 18, 2016 at 9:15 AM

      The nature of his injury is huge. We’ve heard that it takes most players not named Adrian Peterson at least one year to recover from a combined ACL/MCL injury. The reality is it could take longer than that for Culliver to get back to speed, especially at such a challenging position. That timeline is problematic for the team.

      The front office is fortunate they crafted a loophole with the suspension clause. Not certain they make use of the loophole, of course, but I’m fairly certain Culliver will be the subject of some intense debate this offseason.

  4. babyteal1 - Feb 18, 2016 at 7:46 AM

    I was excited with this signing until I saw what he brought to the field which was nothing. Sorry to say but I think we cut him and sign another free agent.

  5. bangkokben - Feb 18, 2016 at 7:49 AM

    This is one of those decisions that has ramifications. If you cut him you tell the rest of the team and league that you’re ruthless and your players are expendable. If you keep him, you might not get anything out of the investment other than a example that you care for your players. Because $5.5million is all you get from savings and that money would have to go straight back into the cornerback pool, I say you keep him for the next year, make savings at other spots on the roster, and draft a corner.

    • colorofmyskinz - Feb 18, 2016 at 8:09 AM

      This is a business and players need to realize when they sign huge contracts you need to be a top contributor, not just one of the guys at your position. I think the message sent by cutting him would be if you want the big contract better put out big numbers, or we will use whatever we can in the contract to move on. That is what a culture of accountability does. These guys are make sick money. At that level of payout there is no mister nice guy benefit of the doubt. At that money, it is produce or sorry goodbye. Otherwise just sign up for the mediocre contract and there might be more tolerance. Demand big money comes with ruthless accountability in my book.

      • sidepull - Feb 18, 2016 at 9:04 AM

        They certainly whacked Amerson.

        • jonevans511 - Feb 18, 2016 at 9:38 AM

          Cutting Amerson had as much to do with what he did & didn’t do OFF the field as his performance on Sundays. He didn’t work hard in the film room or practice, was late to team meetings, and apparently thought he could skate by based on his natural talent (ha). I’m not piling on the guy but fact of the matter is guys like Amerson can become cancers in locker rooms, and with a franchise that desperately needed a culture change they could not afford to keep him no matter his age or salary.

          I haven’t heard much about Culliver in that regard but I do recall hearing he was a good mentor to the younger corners and takes film study seriously. Say what you will about his injuries and performance last year, I wouldn’t equate the two by any means.

        • sidepull - Feb 18, 2016 at 10:33 AM

          jonevans511 not comparing the players at all just responding to the comment made by color for the need to make on field contributions and accountability.. If your injured thats hard to do. And even if your not, like Amerson, your not getting a free lunch. The players know it is a business.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Feb 18, 2016 at 10:59 AM

          “Cutting Amerson had as much to do with what he did & didn’t do OFF the field as his performance on Sundays. He didn’t work hard in the film room or practice, was late to team meetings, and apparently thought he could skate by based on his natural talent (ha).”

          Your information is sorely outdated. Those were “rumors” in 2014 NOT 2015. You can go back to reporting during OTA and TC where coaches had commended him for his change in work ethics or hard work he was applying in 2015. He struggled in one game and they hastily cut him.

          Enough with this BS that he did’t put the work especially when ignoring reports that indicated otherwise. As soon as that kid left and started on another team he was an instance performer. The coaches failed on this one and Scot make a mistake by releasing him.

        • kenlinkins - Feb 18, 2016 at 2:51 PM

          colorofmyskinz: You are correct, Oakland was very happy at the way Amerson played and to this day I wonder what happened behind closed doors that had the Redskins GM release him getting nothing in return. IMO we Redskins fans do not have the whole story and Amerson is not talking!

      • bangkokben - Feb 18, 2016 at 9:13 AM

        Accountability is about playing well not getting injured. The only reason the Redskins are in this position is because of the suspension which voided the guarantee. Everyone knows its a business and if that’s the kind of business you want to run you can, but should expect employees that have ZERO loyalty to you and 100% loyalty to the maximum they can squeeze from you. Then when you get into negotiations with Reed or whomever down the road, you should expect hard negotiations and guarantees for injury.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Feb 18, 2016 at 11:06 AM

          I see no ramifications in cutting Culliver while injured. The team didn’t sign him for 9 million to spend his time recovering from major knee surgery. Cutting injured players is a common transaction among all teams in the NFL.

        • bangkokben - Feb 18, 2016 at 11:46 AM

          The team KNOWS that injuries are part of the game and that is the risk to the team for signing long-term contracts. Had Culliver not got suspended (for one week) then Culliver would’ve had the security of rehabbing without the concern of getting cut. Had Culliver had 16 interceptions and 8 forced fumbles he’d have to honor the contract. So, the Redskins shouldn’t?

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Feb 18, 2016 at 12:00 PM

          If it needs to be honored then put it in the contract. The team has a right to cut a player and while it appears insensitive or harsh, the fact is Culliver would walked away earning 16 million. I think that guaranteed money more than makes up for cutting him if he isn’t able to fully recover this season. If Culliver resembled anything close to a potential shutdown corner then he’d be worth paying while giving time to recover. However, I don’t view him to be good enough to consider investing so much on.

        • bangkokben - Feb 18, 2016 at 12:24 PM

          It is the contract. The only reason this is even an issue is that the Redskins can save $5.5 million this year – thanks to the suspension. Who are you going to get for that? The Redskins aren’t cutting Niles Paul or other injured players because it isn’t in the financial interests of the team. I don’t think the money is enough to say it is in the best interest of the team.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Feb 18, 2016 at 1:29 PM

          5.5 million can make a huge difference and provides some additional flexibility in the cap. It only makes sense to cut him if he can’t fully recover in time to play this season. It doesn’t make it easier knowing he’ll probably be paid more than what he can provide on the field. that includes even when playing at 100%. I don’t think Culliver was a very good cover corner last season which makes the decision easier. I don’t know what the coaches think but if they share the same opinion then I support releasing the guy.

        • bangkokben - Feb 18, 2016 at 1:54 PM

          Is there any way really of knowing right now (or in the next four weeks) where he’ll be healthwise in six months? He certainly didn’t seem like he was “worth” the money as soon as he got the knee inflammation issues but they saw something in the guy for a four year contract. It’s not just about this year but the next three. They liked what he brought to practice and the classroom as well. As for saving that kind of money, there are other non-injured under-performing players that they can get that flexibility also. It’s a matter of do you want to find a starting corner for his $5.5 million or can you find a corner and an ILB for the $7 million you’d save in releasing Riley and Roberts? Look, I’m fine if they decide to move on from Culliver. My only concern is what kind of environment does that make signing your own guys later on. Maybe no significant change; maybe guys feel as if they’re working for the man. You can’t preach we’re one big football family and then cut someone after a late-season severe injury and have authority with that message.

    • redskinsnameisheretostay - Feb 18, 2016 at 10:45 AM

      The big question is where is his recovery now? Players are coming back sooner from this serious injuries but they are normally not returning 100%. I think he’ll struggle all year to hold a starting position while working the knee back to full health.

      The team has already taken a lost signing Culliver. All players need to know it’s a business with a limited spot for roster players and a limited amount of money to provide via the salary cap. This is one where you cut loose a bad investment if he looks like he won’t be 100% by the start of the season.

      • babyteal1 - Feb 18, 2016 at 10:57 AM

        I agree……..sorry not trolling.

      • ET - Feb 18, 2016 at 3:16 PM

        “Players are coming back sooner from this serious injuries but they are normally not returning 100%. I think he’ll struggle all year to hold a starting position while working the knee back to full health.”

        I suspect Culliver will struggle to operate at full speed as well. Cornerback is a tough enough position to play wirhout one knee at 100%. The situation could change, obviously, but a second season with Culliver no longer seems like a sound investment. Man, the secondary depth is pretty wobbly at this point.

  6. scottmccloughanfan - Feb 18, 2016 at 8:18 AM

    My mock had CB as an afterthought.

    This changes things.

    HALL has had too many injuries to become a starter at CB, and DUNBAR still has a ways to go to become BREELAND who is just now establishing himself as a real starter.

    JARRETT will be one CB, BREELAND the other if CULLIVER is gone with DUNBAR and HALL in emergencies, EVERETT and PHILLIPS as back-ups? A scary proposition.

    DRAFTING a rookie? He’d have to be the first or second corner off the board to make any impact to start the season.

    Got no answer here.

    • bangkokben - Feb 18, 2016 at 10:20 AM

      Jarrett is a safety that played in the slot. He’s not starting at corner, playing on the outside, or being considered as a possible replacement for Culliver.

      • scottmccloughanfan - Feb 18, 2016 at 3:10 PM

        Wrong again BEN.

        • ET - Feb 18, 2016 at 3:21 PM

          How is Ben wrong? His comment seems accurate.

          Jarrett was a good find and he should be a good player for years. He had a really fine rookie season. But he’s not a shutdown corner, nor is he a solution on the outside.

        • scottmccloughanfan - Feb 18, 2016 at 6:16 PM

          We won’t have a shut-down corner no matter what is done. If CULLIVER goes, so does our experience. JARRETT is as good as any of the rest at corner. Look at what last season wrought. We need two high picks at corner or someone else like DUNBAR behind JARRETT, HALL, and DUNBAR. And he is being considered for a cover corner.

        • scottmccloughanfan - Feb 18, 2016 at 6:18 PM

          And not being a solution on the outside is exactly what I said. Does anybody read anymore. A ?-mark at the end of the sentence says I don’t think it’s a good idea.

  7. Myrtle Beach skinsfan - Feb 18, 2016 at 8:20 AM

    Major dissapointment and highest contract on team next year. Cut him . The youngsters are better.

  8. troylok - Feb 18, 2016 at 9:19 AM

    I think his signing was a risk in the first place. He’s had a history of bone headed decisions and injury. This gives the Redskins an easy out. There will be some free agent cornerbacks out there. The team can pick up one of them and pencil them in as a starter.

  9. redskinsnameisheretostay - Feb 18, 2016 at 10:51 AM

    Anyone wonder if it would have helped to have Amerson on the roster under this circumstance?

    No, that’s utter nonsense and of course it still makes perfect sense to cut him after one game last season, right? He had to be cut in order to perform well, right?

    Oh and it’s a much better under the current situation where the team has to contemplate the risk of eating 9 more million to keep a much needed starter that may not even be able to play this season.

    • troylok - Feb 18, 2016 at 11:04 AM

      You should change your screen name to “Rosy Outlook”, Mr. Cheerful. Amerson needed a change of scenery. I don’t know why he struggled with Washington and excelled with the Raiders, but I suspect that he had a poor work ethic and someone in the Raiders’ organization was able to push all of the right buttons to get him to play. No hate on the player but all indications were he was failing miserably in Washington land.

      • redskinsnameisheretostay - Feb 18, 2016 at 11:25 AM

        I’m not going to sugar coat a bad roster move.

        Ah yes the “change of scenery” cliche. Too bad it really applies to players that were having personal issues, not able to get along with other players, or other matters resulting in arrests and suspensions. This doesn’t apply to players that just needed proper direction. Oh and if a coach found the “right buttons” to push him in Oakland then it means that the coaches failed here in doing the same here. Both explanations are examples of broad brushing over a coaching mistake. We are not talking cutting a player that needed a season of refinement by another team before he could start and perform well. We are talking about cutting a player that was the starter within weeks and by seasons end put up his best career numbers. That’s a red flag on coaching and not the player. This was a young very talented kid that probably just needed guidance or more time to come around.

        The best argument is maybe the system there is a better fit. However again I put doubt in that excuse due to the quick turnaround.

        • bangkokben - Feb 18, 2016 at 12:02 PM

          Dude needed a wake up call. The Redskins gave it to him. If Oakland benefits, good for them. Has nothing to do with coaching.

        • sidepull - Feb 18, 2016 at 12:15 PM

          Probably just playing in the same backfield as Woodson didnt hurt!

      • 214hof - Feb 18, 2016 at 11:50 AM

        All I know about D.A. is what I saw. I was pumped when we drafted him, and impressed when he pushed Josh Wilson to the bench his rookie year. I had high hopes for him, but it’s almost like he got complacent (just my theory). He got cut, played well for Oakland (my buddy is a Raiders fan and made sure to bring his name up weekly) and Washington looks like the gave up too early on a guy with all the physical tools you look for. With that said, I don’t think he would have had the same turn around for the Skins’ IMO and there is no telling what happens next season. For all we know, D.A. Will revert back to that complacency he showed that got him released in Washington. Time will tell with him. Long story short, am I upset D.A. couldn’t put in the work like Bree… Yes, they would have been a dirty combo at CB for years. Am I going to dwell on the decision to move on from him…No, “In McC I trust”.

        • 214hof - Feb 18, 2016 at 11:59 AM

          And yes before anyone replies, I read the article over the summer saying that Amerson was studying more film and staying after practice. Have to wonder what he was doing because it obviously didn’t translate to practice or the Miami game. They went right at him when he came in the game and he folded, one pass defend and a “slip” that allowed a score.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Feb 18, 2016 at 12:11 PM

          Amerson certainly could regress like many players in the NFL. However, he could also continue to thrive becoming one of the better DBs in the league.

          it’s not dwelling when you consider the impact this has under Culliver’s situation. This is no different than arguing over Cousins performance last season. The only difference is I’m arguing about the coaching performance. Do I want heads to roll on the coaching staff for cutting Amerson? No! However, these are moves that need to be tracked when considering the job performance of coaches and the GM going further.

          I want these coaches to get the best out of their players. I don’t think they did a very good job in this area for Amerson.

    • bangkokben - Feb 18, 2016 at 12:00 PM

      Cutting Amerson was a GREAT decision – at the time. The decision was made when it was made because Kyshoen Jarrett could play slot which Amerson couldn’t, Will Blackmon was a better corner ‘off the street’ immediately, and Quinton Dunbar was coming along at corner. Every decision you make has ramifications and the Redskins may feel those ramifications now but Amerson wasn’t getting any better HERE. Here is what Jay Gruden had to say about the move at the time:

      You are literally the only one here, who constantly laments it. Get over it. The stuff jonevans511 wrote earlier today is SPOT ON not rumor or just applies to 2014. It has been reported by many since the move.

      • redskinsnameisheretostay - Feb 18, 2016 at 12:22 PM

        “Cutting Amerson was a GREAT decision – at the time.”

        So cutting Amerson was great decision at the time when you had a third QB that was never activated on the roster playing safety on the scouting team? No there were better roster options than cutting Amerson. The defensive back situation could be looking extremely promising right now instead of current situation of considering the idea of retaining a severely injured player at 9 million.

        I don’t care if I’m the only one lamenting about it. The facts are revealing itself on the field and in this current situation. So you and the other flock can play blind sheep with your baseless justifications. There are reasons when players do need to move on. However, Amerson was a matter of just needing time and not a new team.

        • bangkokben - Feb 18, 2016 at 12:42 PM

          “The defensive back situation could be looking extremely promising right now..” NO. It wouldn’t look any different. You assume Amerson’s improvement was inevitable and transferable. His improvement was certainly not likely here. Amerson’s improvement for Oakland and Culliver’s injury are two separate circumstances happening after the decision to release Amerson. He likely would’ve continued to be a albatross on the Redskins roster getting paid handsomely to remain inactive. Sure, the Redskins could’ve released Griffin but there was ZERO chance of that happening, especially since he is still on the roster. As for retaining Culliver at $9 1/4 million, that is entirely up to the Redskins. Cutting him saves $5 1/2 million which can get you a bottom rung starter but that’s it. So is it in the Redskins best interest to cut an injured player now before free agency starts or see what you have closer to training camp? For me, you wait. What you recommended for Amerson despite contrary documented evidence that suggests it would’ve been highly unlikely to get returns in waiting. Culliver himself attributes his improvement to the Redskins releasing him.

        • 214hof - Feb 18, 2016 at 12:45 PM

          Yes, your right. Keep Amerson, a second round pick that was being passed on the depth chart by nearly any warm body they brought in… Was confidence was shook or something, didn’t or wouldn’t buy in… Who knows? All we know is he was dreadful for D.C. at some point he needs to be accountable. Why is it that players like Bree, Jarrett, and Dunbar excelled with the same coaching and he didn’t?

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Feb 18, 2016 at 1:03 PM

          “Why is it that players like Bree, Jarrett, and Dunbar excelled with the same coaching and he didn’t?”

          Every player is different and the development process is different. Jarrett and Dunbar did well and that’s great but does it mean they won’t struggle at times next season, regress, or even show serious weakness in their game that was obvious this season?

          Amerson looked pretty darn good as a rookie as well,

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Feb 18, 2016 at 1:15 PM

          “For me, you wait. What you recommended for Amerson despite contrary documented evidence that suggests it would’ve been highly unlikely to get returns in waiting. Culliver himself attributes his improvement to the Redskins releasing him.”

          documented evidence? I prefer the evidence showing up on the field. No player that goes to another team and makes such an immediate impact occurs without questioning the coaches job or the GM’s decision to release him. That’s common sense! These cliches of wake up calls are not applicable for such an instance. If you were arguing scheme change and provided evidence of the difference then this would be a better discussion.

          Every player that is cut and is able to improve moving onto another team uses that wake up call reason. Do you think the player would state that coaching here is so much worst as to the reason why? The point is a player needs to be careful when expressing reasons for a turnaround that doesn’t drum up a media storm or burn bridges.

      • 214hof - Feb 18, 2016 at 12:32 PM

        “Cutting Amerson was a GREAT decision – at the time. ”

        Completely agree, getting passed on the depth chart by Blackmon (pretty much a “walk on” week 1) and an UDFA Rookie WR that switch to CB in the middle of training camp tells me he showed the coaches almost nothing in practice, and they couldn’t trust him on Sundays. Probably a reluctant ST player as well.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Feb 18, 2016 at 1:20 PM

          We’ll see where Amerson is in 3 years and where Blackmon is in 3 years. Every justification you throw out there can be questioned about the decisions the coaches made, how they handled Amerson, or how the used him. Anyone who automatically thinks a struggling player with great potential is only a player issue has never played under different coaches.

      • redskinsnameisheretostay - Feb 18, 2016 at 1:40 PM

        “The stuff jonevans511 wrote earlier today is SPOT ON not rumor or just applies to 2014. It has been reported by many since the move.”

        Find one article that suggested this same issue in 2015 before he was cut.

        • bangkokben - Feb 18, 2016 at 1:56 PM

          There were multiple afterward. Find one article the two weeks before that praises Amerson.

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Feb 18, 2016 at 2:05 PM

          You’re trying to spin on a false claim which is SPOT ON WRONG!

        • redskinsnameisheretostay - Feb 18, 2016 at 2:09 PM

          “It’s not what [Amerson] didn’t do, it’s just that the other guys are playing better,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said. “He has all the measurables you want, but for whatever reason, they don’t show on a consistent basis when he’s out there.”

          So Gruden himself only stated inconsistency. I guess to you that means not doing film work. What BS!

  10. John - Feb 18, 2016 at 1:24 PM

    Regarding Culliver he should be ready for camp. The first year back from an ACL, the player can play but is not exactly balls to the wall. The second year, their back to normal. Unfortunately they don’t have much depth. Blackmon should be in a shot in camp.

    Anderson is a different story. Plenty of talent but maybe not the best fit for this team/system. Some excell at man but are in a zone scheme or vice versa. It also has to do with coaching and taking in what is taught. Sometimes it takes a while for the light to come on.

    • redskinsnameisheretostay - Feb 18, 2016 at 1:33 PM

      “Regarding Culliver he should be ready for camp. The first year back from an ACL, the player can play but is not exactly balls to the wall. ‘

      There are some positions where a payer not fully recovered from such an injury can’t play. Defensive back is one of them. If he can’t play at 100% then he’ll probably be inactive most the season. You can’t put a impaired player at starting CB and expect him to cover NFL WRs. Culliver could barely hold his own when he wasn’t injured.

      • babyteal1 - Feb 18, 2016 at 4:33 PM

        He looked bad when healthy and he looked in worse while injured.

  11. vtsquirm - Feb 18, 2016 at 1:30 PM

    sounds like we need to cut bait unless we’re prepared to pay him to sit on the pup list for the 1st 6 weeks.

    • babyteal1 - Feb 18, 2016 at 4:35 PM

      tough decision for Scot…I say he moves on if he thinks he can nab a replacement during free agency.

  12. renhoekk2 - Feb 18, 2016 at 4:46 PM

    Like Rich said his roster spot will most likely be determined by what they can and can’t do in FA and the draft. Since he will be out most of the off season including training camp they will have ample time to determine if they have found a suitable replacement and be able to gauge that against his rehab process. They will not decide in March or April to cut him. Archives

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