The Washington Commanders were preparing for life after defensive tackle Daron Payne in the 2022 NFL draft when they selected Phidarian Mathis in the second round.
Unfortunately, Mathis injured his knee in Week 1 last season, leading the Commanders to scour the waiver wire searching for a replacement. Fortunately, Washington claimed John Ridgeway off waivers from the Dallas Cowboys ahead of Week 2. Ridgeway would replace Mathis behind Jonathan Allen and Payne, becoming a key rotational piece for the foreseeable future.
Even better, Ridgeway was a fifth-round pick of Dallas in 2022, meaning Washington claimed his rookie contract. Now, with Allen and Payne signed for multiple years, the Commanders have an excellent pair of young interior defenders in Mathis and Ridgeway.
With the Commanders opening OTAs earlier this week, both players were still not back on the field. Mathis is back — and healthy. But Ridgeway was unable to participate due to a pectoral injury he suffered in the Week 18 win over Dallas.
Ridgeway is still rehabbing from his injury, and the hope is that he’ll be ready for training camp in July.
Ridgeway quietly did an outstanding job last season and is best remembered for two plays. The penalty at the end of the game against the Minnesota Vikings on special teams and his suplex against the Houston Texans.
Those plays overshadowed a good first season in the burgundy and gold for Ridgeway. Before the injury against the Cowboys, Ridgeway was dominating Dallas’ offensive line.
Story originally appeared on Commanders Wire