Commanders to Release C Nick Gates

Washington’s house cleaning continued yesterday with news that the Commanders informed center Nick Gates that he will be released at the start of the season per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Gates had signed with Washington just last season as a free agent on a three year, $16.5 million contract that had $8 million fully guaranteed at signing. Gates started 10 games for Washington last season and was benched during the middle of the season as he took some of the blame for QB Sam Howell taking so many sacks. He regained the job at the end of the season due to injuries.

The release is a little surprising since Gates was not awful last year, basically ranked as average by Pro Football Focus, and one would think they would have given him an opportunity to compete for the starting job. Perhaps they just did not like the fit with a new offense.

Gates was not expensive this year. His $3.79 million salary ranked 13th among centers and his $5.6 million cap hit 11th. They will not gain any cap room with his release since he has $5.3 million in dead money which will actually wind up causing a slight loss in cap room, though the Commanders have so much cap room this is not a concern. They could use the June 1 designation splitting the dead money at $3.65M in 2024 and $1.67 million in 2025.

Gates has $1.99 million of his $3.79 million salary fully guaranteed. This is the reason why the Commanders can not release him now the way they did Charles Leno and Logan Thomas. Technically we are still in the 2023 league year and that salary would accelerate into 2023 and no team has any remaining 2023 cap room to allow for such a move. That is probably the reason for the delay more than any need to make him a post June 1 designation. The Commanders will receive an offset on any salary he earns with another team this year. That offset will be applied to the Commanders 2025 salary cap.