The End Is Near for Portis?

Do the Skins need to start looking for his replacement?

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Getty Images
    That doesn't look like a very plush towel.

    Are we nearing the beginning of the end for Clinton Portis?

    The Skins' star running back is set to sit out Sunday's big game against the Dallas Cowboys (boooo!). It's the second straight game he's missed from the concussion he suffered in the Broncos game.

    It's clearly the right decision. His wooziness and other symptoms have prevented him from practicing (as opposed to other weeks, when he wouldn't practice just 'cause). There's no need to rush him back early and risk his health, especially with the way Ladell Betts ran the ball last week.

    But it's just how well that Betts ran the ball that's causing some to wonder whether Portis is really needed anymore. He's got a lot of mileage on his body, and is nearing the carry totals where running backs start deteriorating rapidly. Is his reduced performance the last few years as much the product of all those carries as it is the terrible offensive line?

    In recent weeks, while Portis has been down, many have rushed to kick him.

    The practice issue has come up. Coach Zorn and some players have said that Betts' ability to practice and develop chemistry with the offensive line has helped lead to success. Some players have quietly griped that they don't feel that Portis is giving his all by not ever suiting up to practice.

    Other players have complained about the treatment Portis gets -- particularly as a F.O.D. (Friend of Danny). Some have other issues with CP. 

    Fullback Mike Sellers alluded to some tension with Portis in Redskins Insider. Earlier this year, Portis had tried to get Sellers benched, blaming the fullback's blocking as a reason he wasn't carrying the ball as well as he had in the past.

    If he's nearing the end, and if some of the players aren't happy with him, what could the Skins do (with the big assumption that they'd want to do something)?

    Unfortunately, due to his giant contract and all the restructuring that's been done, the answer is not much. He'd have a pretty huge cap hit if the Skins tried releasing him.

    He's due about $7.2 million next year, with the bulk of that guaranteed. If the Skins wanted to dump him, they'd have a huge dead space in their salary cap, so it would almost make sense to keep him and play him.

    But there's also speculation that, due to the ongoing labor negotiations, that there won't be a salary cap next year. If there's no cap, then the penalties for dumping bad contracts go away; Snyder could simply send him a check and make him go away.

    If that's the case, would an uncapped year mean the end of Portis? If so, we could be seeing the last few games of CP in a Redskins uniform.