Washington may not have been as successful at talking safety Su'a Cravens out of retiring as previously reported.
Mike Jones of the Washington Post reports that the team is placing Cravens on the “non-football exempt list,” and that he’ll be gone for a month, at least.
The details still aren’t clear. And there are very few options for that kind of move because the league doesn’t want teams to be able to stash players on this list or that list or some other list. Players who are placed on the non-football injury/illness list from the outset of camp can be kept there for at least six weeks of the regular season. For Cravens, the traditional NFI approach is not an option, since he was on the active roster throughout training camp and the preseason.
In-season placement on NFI isn’t unprecedented. Four years ago, the 49ers did that with linebacker Aldon Smith in September. But, as one league source explains it, the league is more likely to make exceptions and grant exemptions when drug and alcohol issues are involved. With Cravens dealing with a knee injury and contemplating retirement, it won’t be easy to simply check a box and put Cravens on the shelf for a few weeks.
The easiest and cleanest move could be to simply put Cravens on injured reserve after 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, due to the knee problem. But that would take him out of game action for at least eight weeks. It also would ensure that he’ll make his full salary for 2017 and satisfy another 25 percent of his signing bonus. If he’s truly not interested in playing, it’s hard to imaging the franchise picking an option pays him to not play.