- The Washington Times - Monday, September 4, 2017

There was already plenty of confusion surrounding Sunday’s news that 22-year-old safety Su’a Cravens is contemplating retirement, and a bit more was added to the mix when the Redskins placed the 2016 draft pick on something called the Exempt/Left Squad list. 

It’s a rarely used roster designation that buys the team (and Cravens) some time during which he will not count against the 53-man roster limit. Even the Redskins were confused about exactly what it means for some time Sunday, so the NFL offered clarification. 

“If a player leaves the team, the team can request a roster exemption for the player if it sends the player a “Left Squad” letter. The letter states that the team will have the right to place the player on Reserve/Left Squad after five days. If the player goes on Reserve/Left Squad, he is out for the remainder of the season,” an NFL spokesman wrote in an email.

“For a player that leaves the team after the roster reduction to 53 players, the team is eligible for a roster exemption that will last no longer than four regular season games (a bye counts as a game). The team can lift the exemption at any time to activate the player, trade the player, release the player, or if the five days have past, place the player on Reserve/Left Squad.” 

In English? To put Cravens on the exempt list Sunday, the Redskins had to notify him of their decision. That’s the “Left Squad” letter. Once Cravens receives the letter (he may already have), he has five days to rejoin the team before Washington earns the right to end his season by placing him on the Reserve/Left squad list. 

The Redskins don’t have to do this right away after the five days are up, though. They have up to four weeks to activate, trade, release or place Cravens on the season-ending reserve list. They could make any of those moves at any time. Once the four weeks are up, they have to choose. 

The most important variable is Cravens. If his mind is made up, the Redskins could still wait the full four weeks just in case, but he’d likely wind up on the Reserve/Left Squad list anyway. Washington wouldn’t want to give up his rights by simply releasing him, but whether he comes back is still Cravens choice alone.

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