The Redskins let Pierre Garçon walk away via free agency after the 2016 season, and the numbers show their offense has not been the same.
In his last season in Washington, which also featured DeSean Jackson and Kirk Cousins at quarterback, the Redskins ranked third overall in offensive production. In 2017, without Garçon or Jackson but still with Cousins, Washington's yardage total slipped to 16th in the NFL. This year, without Cousins, Jackson or Garçon and besieged by injuries particularly at the QB spot, the Redskins ranked 28th in the league in offensive yards.
That precipitous fall is not directly attributable to losing Garçon, but the Redskins did not get strong production from the WR position in 2018. Josh Doctson led the team with 44 catches for 532 yards and two touchdowns in 15 games.
Now, NFL Network's Mike Garafolo has reported that Garçon will be back on the free agent market after the 49ers did not pick up his contract option for 2019.
Playing the last two seasons in San Francisco, Garçon's numbers never hit the same level as his production in Washington. He played just 16 games the last two seasons, dealing with injuries, and was also forced to play with a number of different quarterbacks, many of which were backup level. In two seasons with the Niners, he caught 64 passes for 786 yards and one touchdown.
When San Francisco signed Garçon two years ago, they gave him a five-year, $47.5 million contract with $20 million in guaranteed money. That was a lot for a 30-year-old wideout with two career 1,000-yard seasons out of nine years in the NFL.
Kyle Shanahan explained that the Niners wanted Garçon for his ability on the field, but also for his tenacious attitude and "dog" mentality. Garçon is the type of player that will demand others work hard or challenge them, and he expects maximum effort and execution at all times. Working to rebuild the 49ers, Shanahan said his team paid up for that as much as for Garçon's on-field ability.
Well, the Redskins could use some of that.
The team could possibly lose Jamison Crowder to free agency, but 2018 free agent addition Paul Richardson should be back healthy for Washington this fall along with Doctson. If healthy, Trey Quinn could slide into Crowder's role if he leaves as a free agent.
Regardless, the Redskins' receiver room does not have a player with the "dog" type mentality of Garçon among their current group.
Like anything in life, price will be the determining factor in a return to Washington for Garçon. The free agent market will likely look very different for the 32-year-old than it did when Shanahan had just taken over in San Francisco two years ago and his team was flush with cap space and needed veteran leaders.
Remember too, in Garçon's final year in Washington, the fiery wideout had requested a trade early in the 2016 season. Reports also showed that the organization made very little effort to bring him back once his contract expired.
So, does a reunion really make sense? Probably not.
Garçon will turn 33 in August, and could likely want to go to a situation with a settled QB1 in place. The Redskins can't offer that.
What they can offer is an offensive system that Garçon succeeded in, but don't expect Washington to lay out a bunch of cash for his return. With Alex Smith's $20 million salary counting against the cap, the 'Skins will be strapped for extra money to bring in luxury items. The team will need to plug a number of holes - like safety, cornerback, edge rusher and guard - and all of those probably can't come via the NFL Draft.
It doesn't seem likely for Garçon to come back to the Burgundy and Gold. That doesn't mean it won't happen, but it would take the organization warming back up to the passionate wideout and the wideout likely taking a bargain offer from the organization. Don't bet on either.
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