The Redskins need Jordan Reed, and watching the star tight end speak, he needs the Redskins.
As Reed prepares to miss his sixth straight game, it's obvious that the prolonged absence is weighing on the tight end. Look at his eyes as Reed explains that he won't give up on the 2017 season, and the pain and anguish becomes visible.
Jordan Reed says this is one of the hardest times in his life. Asked about shutting down his season, he says “we’re not there yet.” pic.twitter.com/5x2MdMz7PB— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) December 6, 2017
Hear Washington head coach Jay Gruden talk about Reed, and it's obvious too that the organization feels for their tight end.
"What do you want me to say? He hasn’t been out there the last four, five, six weeks. He’s been incomplete," Gruden said. "It’s just unfortunate. Jordan is a big-time player for us and when he’s not out there, it has an effect on what we do."
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Throughout his career with the Redskins, Reed hasn't made it a full 16-game season. The reasons vary. Early on he dealt with concussions, and head trauma plagued him even last season.
This year, however, concussions haven't been the issue. Reed injured his toe before training camp, and the injury has hindered him since. The subsequent hip and hamstring injuries are a result of the toe never fully healing, and it's likely Reed will need offseason surgery.
Despite missing 28 of 80 games in five years, Gruden won't call his tight end injury prone.
"It’s no fault of the player, it’s just a physical game and guys are going to get injured, it’s just unfortunate it’s happened to Jordan in his career," the coach said. "He’s doing everything right. He works extremely hard in the weight room, he’s put on weight, he runs, he’s in great shape. It’s just been very unfortunate."
At this point, frustrations are mounting. Reed wants to be playing. Gruden wants Reed to be playing. Fans want Reed to be playing.
And for some, there seems to be a growing chorus that the Redskins can't depend on Reed going forward.
He signed a five-year, $47 million contract extension in May 2016, but some wonder if the Redskins should pursue a way to get out of the deal.
That seems highly unlikely.
The Redskins value Reed as a player, and his contract carries a $10.3 million cap number for 2018. That would be a big hit for a team that is still trying to sort out a way to pay for Kirk Cousins and a pair of starting linebackers next season.
Trading Reed also seems like a slim prospect. Other teams recognize his value but can weigh that against his time spent off the field due to injuries. Couple that with the contract, and the trade market for Reed would be less than robust.
Truth is, Reed is best with the Redskins, and the Redskins are certainly best when Reed is right.
Gruden says his star tight end isn't injury prone, that he's just unlucky. If that's true, Redskins fans should stop asking about trades and contracts, and wish for better luck.