Washington Redskins: Recent Cuts Set Tone for 2016

Perry Riley and Stephen Paea were both cut by the Washington Redskins. The releases signify a change of culture in the team's managerial strategy.

The Washington Redskins sent shockwaves throughout their roster when they announced that they would be cutting inside linebacker Perry Riley Jr. and defensive end Stephen Paea. Riley entered the 2015 season as the starter at his position, while Paea was expected to provide strength and a disruptive presence along the defensive line as the starting left defensive end for the unit.

.theiaPostSlider_nav._lower {display: none !important}

Related Story: Washington Redskins: 5 Breakout Players

The cuts, while not entirely surprising, do a good job of setting the tone in Washington's locker room. General manager Scot McCloughan, unlike the team's managers in the past, isn't afraid to make roster cuts when necessary. Whether you're a player that has been with the team for a good amount of time or a recent free agent acquisition, you'll have to earn your roster spot.

Perry Riley has spent the entirety of his six-year football career with the Redskins up until this point, joining the team in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft. The team took the time to develop him with the hopes of him becoming the captain of their defense. He had a number of solid seasons between 2012-2014, but it was clear that things weren't going to materialize like everybody had hoped.

Instead of keeping Riley on the roster because of his long stay with the team, McCloughan and company opted to cut him in order to develop younger, more promising talent. As of now, it looks like Will Compton and Mason Foster will begin the season as the starters, meaning that Riley wouldn't have been in the starting lineup -- he would have taken the roster spot of Martrell Spaight.

jQuery( document ).ready(function() { otsembed.embed({ target:"otsvideo198234230", segment:"198234230", }); });

Instead of rolling with the veteran player, McCloughan opted for the younger talent. By doing this, the general manager sent a clear message to the entire locker room. These were statement cuts. Cuts that say, "I don't care about what you did, I care about what you're doing now. The play that you're exuding today."

That sort of leadership breeds success because players don't become comfortable or content. Coasting off of past successes will not be accepted in Washington. Not any more. This is a team that is moving forward, and the release of Riley proves it. He wasn't necessarily bad, but we know what he brings to the table in terms of talent.

The same can be said about Stephen Paea, a player that the team signed in free agency just a year ago. His play was lacking in 2015, as he never cashed in on his full potential. He appeared in 11 games for the Redskins, compiling a mere 11 tackles and 1.5 sacks on the year. His poor campaign was followed by an equally poor offseason, which is what ultimately led to his release.

jQuery( document ).ready(function() { otsembed.embed({ target:"otsvideo197918476", segment:"197918476", }); });

That's the kind of thinking that is necessary to build a winning team, though. Having the guts to move on from players that are being outperformed by lesser known players is key. If you keep a player around simply because of the name on the back of their jersey, your football team is going to suffer. It's a team building strategy that destroys home grown talent, as they aren't allotted the opportunity to properly develop.

With Scot McCloughan pulling the managerial strings, the Washington Redskins are heading in the right direction. They're no longer a team that keeps under performing veterans on the roster. Rather, they're a team driven by results and effort.

.theiaPostSlider_nav._lower { display: none !important }

Washington: Kendall Fuller coverage

With the release of Riley and Paea, it's clear that the Burgundy and Gold are no longer willing to settle for mediocre play, regardless of the player and situation.

This article originally appeared on