By Rich Tandler
The Pittsburgh Steelers have started the process of trimming their salary cap with the release of cornerback Bryant McFadden. The release saves them $2.5 million against the salary cap.
The move means that McFadden, 31, is free to sign with any team effective immediately. The Redskins could be in need of depth and possibly a nickel corner this offseason. Would McFadden be a fit?
The fact that the Steelers released him does not necessarily mean that he has no value. He was a 19-game starter on the 2010 Super Bowl team so he clearly has some ability. Pittsburgh is pressed up against the salary cap and often when a player who makes as much as McFadden does is cut it is due as much to money as it is to the player’s ability. But there are signs that McFadden might not be a good fit with the Redskins
The age is the first red flag here. The Redskins have been trying to get younger both through the draft and by signing free agents who are on the younger side of 30. McFadden will be 32 before the season ends and he doesn’t fit the profile.
Still, on a one-year deal, which is all that McFadden is likely to be able to land, the Redskins might consider it. They signed a 30-year-old Phillip Buchanon to play corner in 2010 and re-signed him last year. So they could sign him as a short-term stopgap and not worry about the age.
But is McFadden worth even a one-year deal? He was a 19-game starter when the Steelers went to the Super Bowl in 2010. Last year he started the season opener against the Ravens and played most of the game. But he was benched after that 35-7 shellacking delivered by Baltimore and he rarely saw the field on defense after that. McFadden played 52 defensive snaps in the opener and just 19 the entire rest of the season.
The fact that the Steelers didn’t just demote him to nickel corner but benched him altogether should be taken as a sign that he has lost whatever ability he had. Pittsburgh is well known for letting players go at just the right time in their careers. It’s probably better that the Redskins steer clear of Bryant McFadden.