The 6-foot-3, 304-pound Montgomery had been with the Redskins since late in the 2008 season, then settled into the team’s zone-blocking run scheme when then-coach Mike Shanahan installed him as the starting center before the 2011 season.
Releasing Montgomery, who was set to count for $3.425 million against the salary cap, will save the Redskins $1.92 million. It will also loosen up an apparent logjam on the offensive line following the signing of former Cleveland Browns right guard Shawn Lauvao to a four-year, $17 million contract on Wednesday.
Kory Lichtensteiger, who has played left guard for the past three seasons, is expected to shift to center, and if Lauvao remains at right guard, incumbent Chris Chester could replace Lichtensteiger on the left side.
A Centreville native and former Virginia Tech standout, Montgomery started the final six games in 2010 at right guard before being moved to center following the release of Casey Rabach. He started all 16 games at center over the last three seasons, and he played every offensive snap in 2013.
Following Rabach’s release, the Redskins were torn between installing Montgomery or Lichtensteiger, who played the position in college, as their starting center. Lichtensteiger has been the team’s back-up center, and he played six snaps at the position in a game late in 2012 when Montgomery exited with a left knee injury.
New Redskins coach Jay Gruden said last month at the NFL combine in Indianapolis that there would likely be subtle changes along the offensive line as the team incorporated players who could handle the challenges of an increased power running game.
“Yeah, that’s something we’re battling, because those are good players [on the offensive line],” Gruden said. “You know, sometimes, on third down-and-8, they get pushed back a little bit. But still, they compete, and they’ve done some great things in their careers, obviously.
“But if you get the bigger guys who don’t move quite as well, then you lose Alfred Morris’ strength, and that’s the outside zone and stretch and finding holes and lanes to cut through. It can come back and bite you if you want to go big. [You’ve got to] know what you’re doing to make sure you get a lot better. I like the guys that we have on our team right now, and we can work with what we have.”
Montgomery’s release was first reported by 106.7 The Fan.