The Carolina Panthers announced on Thursday that the team would be parting ways with veteran tight end Greg Olsen after nine seasons.
Panthers and Greg Olsen mutually agree to part ways https://t.co/kPyh4lbaqc— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) January 30, 2020
When it comes to what's next for Olsen, there are options other than football available. During the past few seasons, when Olsen suffered multiple injuries, he spent time in the broadcasting booth calling NFL games. Now, without a team, the soon-to-be 35-year-old could have opted for the profession full time. However, a statement from Olsen explained that he is determined to continue his playing career in 2020.
"At this time I have not closed the door on any potential career options," he said in the statement posted to Twitter. "I still have the love of football in my heart and will explore all opportunities presented to me."
-8️⃣8️⃣ pic.twitter.com/GJlsw0p3gb— Greg Olsen (@gregolsen88) January 30, 2020
ESPN's Adam Schefter also reported that Olsen's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, explained that he "will be in communication with other teams after the Super Bowl.”
All signs point to the 13-year NFL veteran being on the lookout for a new team. Playing 14 games in 2019 and catching 52 passes for 597 yards and two touchdowns, Olsen can still be a serviceable target while providing a solid locker room presence for plenty of teams. Could the Redskins be one of them? There are a couple of reasons to think yes.
The first is Olsen's relationship and history with new Redskins head coach Ron Rivera. Rivera, who Olsen thanked in his tweet, was the head coach in Carolina for Olsen's entire tenure besides the last few games in 2019 after Rivera was fired. The two came into the Panthers organization together in 2011 and spent nine seasons working together through ups and downs. Having built a strong bond, Olsen has expressed nothing but love for his former head coach.
After it was announced that Rivera would be heading to Washington, Olsen told reporters that he believed it was a perfect fit. Relating the Redskins situation with Dwayne Haskins to Rivera's beginning in Carolina with Cam Newton, Olsen felt there was no one better to take on a young team with a growing quarterback.
"Ron is the guy for that type of job," Olsen said. "I think you could put him in a lot of different circumstances and he'll do a good job."
Olsen may want to look for a team that is considered closer to contending for a Super Bowl, but heading to a place where he knows the guy in charge may be appealing as well.
While that could be enough for Olsen to want the Redskins, the Redskins need to want Olsen as well. Looking at the tight end situation in Washington, the reliable pass-catcher could play a role.
Entering 2020, there are is no sure bets as to who will man that position for the Redskins. In 2019, Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis played a combined four games due to injuries. Reed, though as talented as anybody when on the field, has had a hard time staying on it. With a history of injuries, there have even been reports that the tight end's career could be in jeopardy.
As for Davis, the veteran is a free agent entering his age-36 season. His ability to keep himself healthy has allowed him to continue to be a useful option in the passing game in recent years, but that wasn't the case last season. There's no guarantee he's back in Washington come 2020.
With that, the Redskins are in need of a versatile and explosive tight end target for Dwayne Haskins to look to. Olsen may not be that, but he could play the reliable, veteran role Davis held. Injuries in 2017 and 2018 limited his time on the field, but Olsen was able to appear in 14 games in 2019. If he can stay healthy, he has the ability to produce on the field and take a leadership position in a young locker room.
Olsen and the Redskins may never happen, and there are a lot of "ifs" in the equation. But, there is potential if the two sides want to explore the option.
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