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Lack of production, Jamison Crowder's rise could lead to end for Andre Roberts

The Washington Redskins must decide not only which free agents they want to retain, but which players they might want to cut to free up money. As of now, the Redskins have approximately $10 million in available cap space this season, though that number could change after all the earned incentives from 2015 are factored into the cap. But they can free up more money rather easily by releasing a handful of players. No player can be cut until Feb. 8, the day after the Super Bowl.

Over the next week or so, I'll take a look at players the Redskins might cut.

Player: Andre Roberts

Contract status: Signed through 2017

2016 salary-cap hit: $5 million

Potential savings: If there’s a post-June 1 designation, the Redskins would save $4 million against the cap (and $3 million without one).

Why they might cut him: Because he hasn’t been productive since joining the Redskins in the 2014 offseason. In his first year, he caught just 36 of the 71 passes thrown his way. This season, he was targeted 20 times and caught 11 passes in nine games (his season ended on injured reserve thanks to a torn meniscus in his knee). Roberts lost his job as the No. 1 slot receiver to Jamison Crowder. Roberts originally signed in Washington thinking he’d be the No. 2 target behind Pierre Garcon, but then the Redskins landed DeSean Jackson, bumping Roberts to the slot. In 2014, all three of the Redskins quarterbacks had their worst passer rating when targeting Roberts. In two seasons with Washington, Roberts caught a combined 46 passes with two touchdowns. But Roberts could have solidified himself here as a returner, too. However, in 2014 he averaged just 7.43 yards per punt return and 23.67 yards per kick return. So there was no impact in those areas, either.

Why they might not: It’s certainly not a lock that Roberts will be cut. And it could depend on what they think they can do in free agency. Roberts provides veteran insurance, something the Redskins don’t have enough of at receiver. Ryan Grant, entering his third season, was not productive. Even if Roberts sticks around, they would need to add another receiver (perhaps through the draft) to groom for 2017 when both Jackson and Garcon are free agents (yes, they want both players back this season, though their combined cap number is $19.45 million). Also, at 28 Roberts is not old. If he were 30 or older, releasing him would be a no-brainer (as the Redskins would want to get younger; it’s why free agents such as Will Blackmon and Pierre Thomas might not return).