The Washington Redskins on Monday made it clear that they would like to free up some cap space heading into free agency, which begins at 4 p.m. ET Wednesday.
Griffin III and Hatcher’s releases had been reported by other outlets earlier in the day, while Goldson and Johnson’s moves were a little bit more surprising.
Goldson was acquired by the Redskins via trade with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers April 3, 2015, giving the team a much-needed veteran presence in the secondary.
A two-time Pro Bowl selection (2011-12), Goldson was immediately embraced as a team captain in Washington. He started 15 games for the Redskins in 2015, collecting a team-best 139 tackles (one for loss) with four quarterback pressures, one interception – which he returned for a touchdown – four passes defensed, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.
But Goldson, 31, was set to represent an $8 million cap hit for the Redskins in 2016, according to Spotrac.
Originally tabbed as a possible starter at strong safety for the Redskins, Johnson battled through some injuries and inconsistencies throughout the 2015 season. In all, he played in 14 games with two starts, collecting 21 tackles. He also was a key player on the Redskins’ special teams units, as his seven special teams tackles ranked tied for fourth on the team and he also blocked a punt against the New York Jets that was returned for a Washington touchdown.
Johnson’s cap hit in 2016 was set to be more than $1.24 million in 2016, according to Spotrac.
Griffin III, Hatcher Formally Released
Griffin III endured an up-and-down tenure with the Redskins. The second-overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, Griffin III took the league by storm his rookie season, capturing AP Offensive Rookie of the Year honors and leading Washington to its first NFC East title since the 1999 season.
But Griffin III suffered a gruesome right knee injury in the Redskins' Wild Card playoff round matchup against the Seattle Seahawks, and never quite got back to the same player he was in 2012.
After rehabbing the entire offseason, Griffin III got himself ready for Week 1 of the 2013 season. In 13 games, he completed 274-of-456 passes for 3,203 yards with 16 touchdowns to 12 interceptions. He also ran the ball 86 times for 489 yards.
In 2014, under new head coach Jay Gruden, Griffin III was poised to start anew. But early in their Week 2 matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars, he suffered a dislocated ankle, keeping him out until Week 9 against the Minnesota Vikings. He would end up alternating with
Then, last season, Griffin III was named the team's starting quarterback heading into offseason workouts and training camp. But after a rocky second preseason game -- one in which he was sacked (three times) more than passes completed (two), and one in which he suffered a concussion -- Gruden elected to go with
Cousins would go on to set several franchise quarterback records in 2015, and lead the team to the NFC East crown. Griffin III, the No. 3 quarterback the entire season, was active for just one game.
Hatcher, meanwhile, joined the Redskins in March 2014 as one of the Redskins’ most high-profile acquisitions in free agency. He signed in Washington following a Pro Bowl season in 2013 in which he led Dallas with a career-high 11 sacks, including eight against divisional opponents.
A leader in the locker room, Hatcher couldn't find the same level of success with the Redskins, however. He started all 13 games in which he appeared in 2014 with Washington, adding 25 tackles (15 solo), 5.5 sacks and a fumble recovery.
In 2015, Hatcher had 20 tackles, two sacks, a pass defensed and a forced fumble. At 33, he hinted at the possibility of retirement following the Redskins' postseason loss to the Green Bay Packers in January, but has since indicated he might try to play at least one more season in the NFL.