Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, March 15, 43 days before the NFL draft.
Free agency shuffles Redskins WR depth chart
The Redskins added to and subtracted from their wide receiver depth chart over the past few days. The end result left more questions than answers.
The addition was former Seahawks receiver Paul Richardson. He is seen as an ascending player, coming off of a career-best year when he caught 44 passes for 703 yards and six touchdowns. His yardage and touchdown totals last year exceeded his totals from his first three years in the league combined.
The subtraction via free agency was Ryan Grant. The Redskins wanted to keep him around but the deal he took with the Ravens, reported to be $29 million over four years with $13 million guaranteed, was way too rich for the fourth receiver role the Redskins had planned for him.
They also re-signed Brian Quick, a veteran who was rarely used last year, getting targeted nine times in 10 games. He did make a key catch in the Redskins’ win over the Seahawks but that’s about it for his season highlight reel.
Richardson filled one hole, giving them a starter to line up opposite Josh Doctson with Jamison Crowder remaining in the slot. You can say that the Redskins still lack a true No. 1 receiver and you’d be right. Either Doctson, the team’s 2016 first-round pick, will develop into that No. 1 role or they will not have anyone in that role. That’s not the end of the world; there are far fewer No. 1 receivers out there than there are NFL teams. An offense can function without one.
What is now behind the three starters is an area of major concern in Ashburn. If the season started today the backup receivers would be Quick, Maurice Harris and Robert Davis. As noted, Quick played sparingly last year (77 snaps). He is a veteran, going into his seventh year in the league. Quick played in 67 games in five seasons with the Rams after they made him a second-round pick in the 2012 draft.
Harris started last year on the practice squad and the first time he was targeted he made one of the most spectacular catches of the year against the Vikings. But he largely disappeared after that, playing just 76 snaps. After that 36-yard TD catch against Minnesota in Week 10, he caught three passes for 26 yards. In 10 games in 2016 he caught eight passes for 66 yards.
As light as Harris’ experience is, he is a grizzled veteran compared to Davis, who did not get an offensive snap as a sixth-round rookie last year. The team likes his size (6-3, 219) and hands but they weren’t impressed with him enough to give him a spot on the 53-man roster at the start of the season. He spent most of the year on the practice squad before being brought up to the main roster late in the year.
It seems unlikely that the Redskins will go into the season with just Quick, Davis and Harris as their backup receivers. They at least need to bring in some camp competition. Perhaps an experienced free agent addition will come in the next few weeks. Someone like former Bronco, Jet, and Titans receiver Eric Decker, who is 31 and coming off of a season where he had production similar to Grant’s. might be a good option.
Tandler on Twitter
Alex Smith fact: He worked with a different offensive coordinator in each of his first seven seasons in the NFL. Might help explain his 58% completions and 76.4 passer rating to start his career.— Rich Tandler (@TandlerNBCS) March 14, 2018
—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 32
—NFL Draft (4/26) 42
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 178
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