- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 18, 2021
After the season ended, Morgan Moses told Brandon Scherff that Washington’s playoff loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers wouldn’t be the last time the two played together — acknowledging the All-Pro guard’s uncertain contract status heading into the offseason.
Little did Moses know, however, that he would be the one on the way out.

A source with knowledge of the situation said Tuesday that Washington granted Moses permission to seek a trade — paving the way for the right tackle’s surprising and likely exit after seven seasons.

The news comes as a surprise given that Moses has been highly reliable, starting every game since 2015 even while gutting through injuries. But Washington overhauled its offensive line this offseason — signing veteran tackle Charles Leno, drafting tackle Sam Cosmi and trading for guard Ereck Flowers.  And Moses, a 2014 third-rounder, has an expendable contract with only $1.9 million guaranteed on the two years remaining.  

Moses’ pending departure also signifies the latest shift for Washington under coach Ron Rivera. Since arriving last year, Rivera has jettisoned many of the team’s biggest names who were holdovers from the Jay Gruden-Bruce Allen era.  In his first year, Rivera traded disgruntled tackle Trent Williams, shipped out cornerback Quinton Dunbar and released running back Adrian Peterson. There were other notable, statement-like cuts such as Derrius Guice and Dwayne Haskins — the latter of whom was released just a week before the regular season ended.

Sweeping change can be common in a new regime, particularly for coaches like Rivera — hired to transform Washington into a contender and who strongly believes a team’s culture can impact winning football.

But Rivera has been just as busy with his overhaul this offseason — moving on from quarterback Alex Smith, long snapper Nick Sundberg and defensive Ryan Kerrigan. All three were established presences in Washington’s locker room, with Sundberg and Kerrigan being the team’s longest-tenured players.

Now, Moses seems to be the next to leave. The 30-year-old had become a prominent voice and leader over his time with Washington. A close friend of Williams, Moses strongly backed the left tackle amid Williams’ dispute with the franchise. And when Peterson was benched in 2019, Moses criticized the then-coaching staff’s decision — calling it a “slap in the face.”

This past year, Moses often defended Haskins in interviews, but also praised the way that Rivera handled the decision to switch quarterbacks after a quarter of the season. He was encouraged by the team’s direction after its playoff loss.

“The future is bright,” Moses said. “I feel great about the players that we have, and I feel great about the building that we’ll be doing in this offseason, bringing in new players in the draft and those things. I look forward to it. … I’m just happy to be a part of this team and be a part of this culture. I look forward to getting back to work in the offseason.”

On the field, Moses was reliable and consistent. He played almost all his games on the right side, though started one game in 2020 at left tackle because of injuries.  Moses has also played through plenty of pain, overcoming ankle, foot, shoulder and knee injuries to not miss a game since 2015.

If Washington trades or releases Moses, the team will save $7.7 million in salary-cap space and carry only $1.9 million in dead money (his already paid signing bonus).  Moses is scheduled to make $7.5 million in a base salary in 2021 and carries game day bonuses up to $250,000.
Who Washington would use on the right side instead of Moses remains to be seen. Cosmi, the team’s second-round pick out of Texas, played the position all throughout high school and did so in college his freshman year.  Leno also has experience on the right side, but was primarily a left tackle in Chicago. Cornelius Lucas, last year’s starter at left tackle, can also play both sides.

Washington could use the cap space created by Moses’ departure to help re-sign players to extensions. Scherff, defensive lineman Jonathan Allen and tight end Logan Thomas are all entering the last year of their contracts — three impact contributors for Washington last season.
The team currently has $13.8 million in cap space, according to Over The Cap.

• Matthew Paras can be reached at mparas@washingtontimes.com.

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