The NFL finally announced officially yesterday, that Redskins Fred Davis and Trent Williams had both played their last games of the 2011 season. Both were suspended without pay for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse.
When the lockout ended, the two Redskins were among eleven NFL players that failed drug tests; however, because of the lockout, the NFLPA was able to negotiate that the players not receive suspensions. Davis and Williams also failed drug tests after that though, during the season, to earn the suspensions. Additionally, it means that they have both also tested positive at some point earlier in their young careers, as their four game penalty is a 'second offense' penalty. If their first post lockout test had 'counted' - they would both be facing full one year suspensions.
Who knows if Davis and Williams smoked weed together, but if they did, it is likely the most expensive weed ever smoked. Williams stands to lose about $1.85 million in lost salary. Davis will 'only' lose about $141,176 in salary this season, but he's a free agent at season's end, and this will definitely shrink the bargaining chip that his tremendous year could have provided him. His next drug offense will result in a lost season, so Fred just threw up a red flag for agent Drew Rosenhaus to try and tiptoe around. It could potentially cost Davis millions as well. Let's be conservative and say that the transgression costs Davis $1 million - when you add it all up, that's about a $3 million baggie.
Debate all day whether or not recreational drugs should receive the same sort of penalty as some of the more egregious crimes committed by other NFL players receiving similar 4-game suspensions; the fact remains that the penalties are very well known to all players. Davis and Williams made terrible decisions, and as a result, they hurt their team and their teammates. Granted the Redskins season is more about pride and evaluation for the last quarter, but a struggling offense just lost it's best receiving option this year, and it's best offensive lineman. When that said offense has already struggled incredibly, they are two losses that will serve to even further cripple that offense, and potentially their quarterback.
Rex Grossman just lost his blind-side protector, and the replacement options are certainly less than ideal. Sean Locklear filled in for Williams when he was injured earlier in the year, but didn't fare very well, and is better suited for the opposite tackle position. Unfortunately the Redskins only other option at left tackle is undrafted rookie Willie Smith, who has never played a down of NFL football. Maybe they should play them both at the same time. They don't have any tight ends left anyway, so why not install the permanent Heavy Jumbo set, and at least make sure the quarterback doesn't get broken in half.
It isn't very likely that the Redskins go Heavy Jumbo, but with Davis and Chris Cooley both now lost for 2011, there's only Logan Paulsen left at tight end. Mike Sellers could, should and will see time at tight end as well, but that is still a considerable downgrade from the outlet that Davis has become this year. His 59 catches for 796 yards have been a bright spot, and will not be replaced. Washington re-signed Dominique Byrd today, to give them another warm body at the position.
Regardless of how Washington address the latest roster depletions, things just got a whole lot tougher for the struggling franchise, and they couldn't be going into a much worse situation than they are this week. The Patriots are obviously always strong and yet at 9-3, they are only two games up on the Jets, and can't afford to take their foot off the gas at all. Bill Belichek isn't exactly known for his compassion for other team's plights either, and has shown on many an occasion that he is perfectly willing to run up a score. While Washington's defense has done a commendable job of keeping the Redskins in games this year, it remains to be seen what will happen if the offense can't stay on the field for any more than three plays at a time. With 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns already, Tom Brady is about the last guy that you want to give chance after chance after chance.
So despite the fact that Washington's 4-8 season holds little more for them than evaluating and hanging on for dear life, Williams and Davis have put their team in an even more vulnerable position. Their selfish acts have punished 51 other guys that could really use all of the help that they can get - especially the contributions of arguably their two best offensive weapons.
Just say 'No' kids - especially if you play in the National Football League.