ESPN 980 "Redskins Radio" announced that the Washington Redskins released running back Ryan Torain today and promoted rookie wide receiver Aldrick Robinson to the roster from the practice squad.
Torain followed Coach Mike Shanahan as a free agent to Washington from the Denver Broncos. He rushed for 742 yards and four scores in 10 game appearances in 2010, leading some to deem him the successor to Clinton Portis. However, he never lived up to that expectation.
The Redskins traded for Cardinals running back Tim Hightower who opened the season as starter. Torain stepped in after an injury kept Hightower out of the St. Louis Rams game. Torain posted a gaudy 135 rushing yards and a touchdown (7.1 ave.) that day, but was never better than 22 yards in any game since.
Washington has since turned to rookies Roy Helu, the team's leading rusher, and Evan Royster who rushed for 132 yards against the Vikings last Sunday. Royster is up for the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week on NFL.com. (Go vote for Royster here.) Washington was not likely to keep Royster within their grasp if they waived him to add him back to the Practice Squad. That made Torain expendable.
Torain's release does not necessarily end his association with the team. Shanahan may invite him back to training camp next year to compete for a spot. However, it does stop a neat story idea for Hog Heaven.
One of the Redskins four running backs, either Torain or Royster, could be trade bait for a mid-round Draft pick. Torain joined the team as a free agent. Washington selected Royster in the sixth-round of the 2011 NFL Draft. An exchange of a player for a fourth-round pick would be a real value upgrade for the team.
The New England Patriots trade players for Draft picks as a strategic emphasis. Few would imagine the Redskins doing the same. That's just the kind of guesswork that bloggers do. It's what we are. In this case, it also made sense.