The Washington Redskins have cut CB DeAngelo Hall as part of the team's effort to get under the NFL salary cap before the start of the free agency season tomorrow.
This news comes as a surprise to precisely no one, since cutting Hall and his $8 million cap figure allows the Redskins to, at one stroke, get under the 2013 NFL salary cap, which is $123 million for most teams, but only $105 million for the Redskins, as a result of the $36 million cap penalty levied by the league. That penalty came about because the Redskins used the 2010 uncapped season to "dump" money from the contracts of Hall and former Redskins defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth.
Hall is a 29-year-old former 8th overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft by the Atlanta falcons, who eventually traded him to the Oakland Raiders for a second round draft pick in 2008. Hall was a disaster in Oakland after signing a huge contract. Unable or unwilling to adapt to the Raiders' defense, Hall was cut in November after being paid $8 million for 8 games and picked up by a desperate Redskins team, which soon inserted him into the starting lineup. Hall intercepted a pass in his first game with the Redskins and after the season received a 6-year contract with $23 million in guaranteed money.
The high point of Hall's career in Washington came against the Chicago Bears in 2010, when he intercepted four Jay Cutler passes in one half, returning one for a touchdown. The performance, which tied an NFL record for picks in a half, earned Hall Defensive Player of the Week recognition. Hall went on to the Pro Bowl at the end of the 2010 season, where he earned Pro Bowl MVP honors.
The low point for Hall with the Redskins, at least before today, came during a week 8 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2012, when Hall erupted in a confrontation with an NFL referee. The fracas cost Hall $30,000 and an admonishment from the league office.
It is not clear who will take over the starting job in place of Hall, but it could very well be someone who is not currently on the roster. I'm fine with releasing Hall since it was clearly necessary from a cap standpoint and he isn't nearly productive enough to justify such an expense.
Hall played very well twice against the Cowboys last year and also did a fine job in the win over Tampa Bay. However, he had other games, such as the aforementioned loss to the Steelers, as well as wins over Minnesota and Baltimore, where Hall was arguably the worst player on the defense.
I think Hall is a very effective blitzer, but as a cover cornerback, which is where all cornerbacks must make their bones, he was normally mediocre or worse. He gave up 374 yards after the catch last season, third-worst among all NFL cornerbacks, according to Pro Football Focus. What's more, opposing quarterbacks completed 67% of passes on Hall, a terrible figure. That probably explains why he was targeted so frequently -- 112 times in 2012 -- tied for second-most in the entire league.
The Redskins don't have much at the cornerback position right now. With Hall gone, that leaves only fellow starter Josh Wilson, the best cover man on the team, to go with Richard Crawford, a 7th round draft pick in 2012 who saw most of his action on special teams. Cedric Griffin and Jerome Murphy are both free agents.