The Washington Redskins released four-year starting linebacker Perry Riley and defensive lineman Stephen Paea as they continued to cut down to their 53-man roster.
Riley and Paea were the two biggest cuts so far, but coach Jay Gruden said they were a product of the organization's depth at those positions. Riley lost his starting job to Mason Foster and was hurt by the emergence of Martrell Spaight and Terence Garvin, and Paea became expendable when Washington signed veteran Cullen Jenkins on Monday.
“It's not so much about the player we release, it's about the players that we kept,” Gruden said after practice Tuesday. “I think we've got some guys at linebacker who have played extremely well and we've got some guys on the defensive line who are competing and doing a good job. Those two guys are excellent football players, I imagine they'll latch on somewhere else and do well. They have a lot of football left in their career.”
While the Redskins move on to play their fourth preseason game Wednesday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which was moved up because of a tropical weather system, Riley and Paea could soon latch on elsewhere in the NFL.
The 28-year-old Riley started each game he played for Washington since 2012 and has 455 tackles in his six-year career. He missed seven games last season with a broken right foot and wasn't considered a special teams contributor, which led to his release.
Paea, 28, appeared in 11 games and started one last season for the Redskins after four years with Chicago. He had 19 tackles and 1 1/2 sacks last season and was outperformed by Ziggy Hood in the preseason.
To get to 75 players by the deadline, the Redskins put rookie running back Keith Marshall on injured reserve, tight end Derek Carrier on the physically unable to perform list and waived rookie receiver Reggie Diggs with an injury settlement.
Marshall sprained his left elbow Friday in preseason action against the Buffalo Bills and was considered out for at least three weeks. Putting the seventh-round pick out of Georgia on IR allows the Redskins to either designate him to return later in the season or means his season is over with them retaining his rights.
“All I can focus on is just trying to get 100 percent healthy and see where it goes from there,” Marshall said Monday. “Timing definitely wasn't great, but that's out of my control.”