Washington Football Team releases Shaun Dion Hamilton, signs 13

The Washington Football Team released Shaun Dion Hamilton, among other roster moves.

The Washington Football Team’s offseason is beginning this week, and they are already starting to make changes and build out their 90-man roster for the 2021 offseason. On Monday, they made several key signings to start that process and made the decision to release a veteran player.

According to the team’s official website, Shaun Dion Hamilton, a sixth-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, has been released while the team signed 13 players to reserve/future contracts.

The release of Hamilton, who had just one season remaining on his rookie contract, is somewhat of a surprise. While he did only rank fifth among linebackers in terms of total snaps played on the season, Hamilton ranked second on the team with 309 special teams snaps. Only Khaleke Hudson (357) had more.

Hamilton did have 21 tackles on the season, too, but perhaps Washington felt that they need upgrades at the linebacker position and they don’t envision Hamilton being able to fill the starter or top backup role. If that’s the case, then getting rid of him makes sense, and it likely indicates that they will be looking for linebacker help this offseason.

As for the reserve/future contracts, those deals are, effectively, used to sign players to the 90-man roster before the league year begins in March. These players have to have been out of the league as of the end of the 2020 season, and usually, teams mostly sign their own practice-squad players via these designations.

Here’s a look at the players that Washington signed to these deals, according to their official website.

  • DT David Bada
  • WR Jeff Badet
  • DB Jordan Brown
  • WR Tony Brown
  • TE Dylan Cantrell
  • WR Trevor Davis
  • DE Jalen Jelks
  • DT Devaroe Lawrence
  • RB Javon Leake
  • OT Rick Leonard
  • TE Tyrone Swoopes
  • K Kaare Vedvik
  • RB Jonathan Williams

All of these players ended the season on Washington’s practice squad, so it’s no surprise that they opted to keep them around. Of the bunch, there are a few that stand out as potential contributors.

Trevor Davis has averaged 10.1 yards per punt return on 59 return opportunities during his NFL career, which has spanned five seasons. Steven Sims struggled on punt returns last year, so perhaps Davis can challenge him for that role.

Tyrone Swoopes is a former college-quarterback-turned-tight-end. Washington had success advancing Logan Thomas‘ career this season, so perhaps they can find a way to tap into Swoopes’ athletic ability next.

Rick Leonard has a massive, 6-foot-7, 311-pound frame and is still just 24 years old. He’s a good developmental tackle to keep around and either he or David Sharpe could have a chance to turn into a solid swing tackle (or a great fourth tackle if the team brings in a new left tackle to bump Cornelius Lucas to the swing spot).

And Kaare Vedvik is intriguing, too, as Dustin Hopkins is set to be an unrestricted free agent. Washington probably wants to re-sign him, but Vedvik will give them some insurance in case Hopkins goes elsewhere.

There’s never any downside to reserve/future contracts and the team may opt to shuffle around the back end of their roster a bit in the coming weeks. Either way, keeping these practice squad contributors around seems like a good move.

It will be interesting to see if Hamilton lands anywhere, but given his standing in Washington’s linebacker room and their need for an upgrade at the position, releasing him probably won’t have a major impact.

Washington will probably have more contractual moves coming over the course of the week, so buckle up for the first stages of what should be an exciting, hope-filled offseason for Washington.

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