- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 13, 2019

The Washington Redskins were busy Wednesday — bringing back a familiar face and releasing two players to free up more than $8 million in salary cap space.

Washington re-signed running back Adrian Peterson to a two-year, $8 million deal and cut linebacker Zach Brown and defensive lineman Stacy McGee.

The Redskins and Peterson were both interested in a reunion, given the 33-year-old ran for 1,042 yards in 2018 — his best season in years. Peterson joined Washington last August after second-rounder Derrius Guice suffered a season-ending torn ACL. But Peterson quickly emerged as the team’s new starter and provided leadership, especially when Alex Smith went down with a broken leg.

In December, Peterson said he wanted to return and “finish on a better note” with the Redskins.

“I feel like we have a great group of guys here, all the adversity we faced here and how guys continued to come to work and really stay focused,” Peterson said. “It shows a lot about this team, this locker room, the coaches surrounding us as well, so that’s something I would love to be a part of.”

At $4 million per year, Peterson received a substantial raise from his old contract, worth $1 million for one year. Peterson, who turns 34 later this month, will likely have to split carries with Guice and Chris Thompson, but both he and coach Jay Gruden said they felt like a rotation could work.

For Brown and McGee, the Redskins reportedly had tried to trade both players in recent days, though ultimately failed to find a team willing to take on either of them.

By releasing Brown, Washington will save $5.75 million in 2019 — though his release carried $3 million in dead money. Cutting McGee, on the other hand, will free up $2.275 million.

Both moves were expected as Washington had just $9 million in cap room for next season, according to Over The Cap, before Brown and McGee were released.

“It was fun DC,” Brown posted on his Instagram. “Y’all showed mad love to your boy. Thanks for everything. Time to start a new chapter.”

Last season, Brown had numerous incidents with the coaching staff. The 29-year-old first blasted his coaches on Twitter in November, a day before the Redskins‘ game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He later lost his starting job to rookie Shaun Dion Hamilton — leading him to tell reporters he saw the “writing on the wall” about his future with Washington.

Brown’s release comes just a year after the linebacker re-signed with the Redskins on a three-year, $24 million contract. The Redskins initially signed him to a one-year deal in 2017, and Brown was a pleasant surprise that season. He had the ninth-most tackles in the NFL with 127. After the season, Brown revealed he spent most of the year dealing with a torn oblique — something he said he regretted trying to play through. The linebacker said he suffered the injury in training camp.

McGee joined the Redskins in 2017 as a free agent, signing a five-year, $25 million contract. Last year, he was used mostly in a reserve role — appearing in just eight games. He missed the first half of the season with a groin injury.

The Redskins have had a productive offseason so far. Besides Wednesday’s moves, Washington traded for quarterback Case Keenum and signed safety Landon Collins to a six-year, $84 million deal. Those moves became official Wednesday.

Washington might not be done, either. The team reportedly wants to re-sign safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, who was acquired midseason in a trade with the Green Bay Packers.

Elsewhere in the NFL, running back Le’Veon Bell announced he will sign with the New York Jets (four years, $52 million). The Baltimore Ravens were also active — landing safety Earl Thomas (four years, $55 million) and running back Mark Ingram (three years, $15 million).

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