The Washington Redskins released defensive end Ricky Jean-Francois on Wednesday. The move was a surprise to all, including the defensive end. However, after his recent criticism of the direction the franchise is presumably heading, the decision to release him should not come as a surprise.
Jean Francois spoke with Sean Salisbury last week in an interview on SB Nation Radio. There he criticized the team’s decision to not re-sign DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, and Chris Baker. He also suggested the team is about to undo the blueprint that recently fired general Scot McCloughan designed in reshaping the culture of the organization.
— Sean Salisbury Show (@SSalisburyShow) March 9, 2017
“It seems like we’re getting back to the norm, we’re getting back to the dysfunctional, we’re getting back to the drama,” Jean Francois said to Salisbury as transcribed by Mike Florio of Pro Football talk. “It just feels like at no given time we’ve never had that period where we were just comfortable with everything and everything was just running smooth. . . . Everything is changed and it’s like, why? We let go of DeSean Jackson, one of the most explosive receivers in the NFL. We let go of Pierre Garςon — only had one drop last year. You let Chris Baker go, Chris Baker was one great pass rusher for us. . . .
“At the end of the day, it’s business. But it’s not the business that you want to see each and every other day at work when everything is going hectic and you just don’t know what’s going on, who’s making calls. Who’s what. It’s like as soon as you open the front of the newspaper you just see drama. And it feels like just at no given point we haven’t had that grace period that’s just, ‘All right, let’s not have drama. Let’s everything be happy, joyful. Let’s say we’re gonna make a run for the playoffs, Super Bowl, whatever.’ But it’s seems like that’s not the case, or it’s not the case at this moment.”
Jean Francois also was critical of the team not signing quarterback Kirk Cousins to a long-term deal after his two impressive seasons in 2015 and 2016. He also expressed his support for McCloughan.
“OK, I don’t understand why a guy like this didn’t go to the Combine,” Jean Francois said before learning of McCloughan’s firing. “This guy should have been there. This guy’s not making those free-agent moves. He’s not making those decisions that you know Scot McCloughan is known for making. All I gotta say at the end of the day is check his resume because he has some Super Bowl rings.”
The Redskins cleared $3 million of cap space by releasing Jean Francois, who played in all 32 games during his two seasons. But per Mike Jones of the Washington Post, Jean Francois’ release had nothing to do with clearing cap space.
Jean Francois was considered a vocal leader within the Redskins locker room. Brought in by McCloughan, who he played under while in San Francisco, Jean Francois was one of a couple who spearheaded cleaning up the Redskins’ locker room culture and putting the team’s mindset on winning. Guys like him have more value than their production on the field. But considering the variables Washington felt it was best to let him go.
As the Redskins approached the offseason trying to overhaul and upgrade its defensive line, they now have lost their best two linemen from 2016 according to Pro Football Focus in Jean Francois and Chris Baker, as relayed by J.P. Finlay of CSN Mid-Atlantic.
— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayCSN) March 15, 2017
The Redskins have signed defensive lineman Terrell McClain from the Cowboys and Stacy McGee previously of the Raiders. Considering the drop-off in production from just a season ago, it appears their retooling still has a ways to go.