Redskins

Redskins

At some point this week, Greg Olsen is expected to visit the Redskins. The almost 35-year-old will also meet with the Bills and Seahawks as he decides on the next step of his life, which could include covering football as a TV commentator.

So, should Washington make a concerted effort to land Olsen? Or does it make more sense to address their large need at the position with other free agent or draft names?

Here are the points and counterpoints when it comes to Olsen and the Burgundy and Gold.

POINT: He'd be a strong asset as Ron Rivera takes over.

Olsen and Rivera both arrived in Carolina in 2011, and together, they were key parts in helping the Panthers reach the playoffs on four occasions. As Rivera looks to establish himself in D.C., Olsen would be a useful leader to have around.

It's unrealistic to think Olsen will post 80 catches if he does eventually re-join Rivera, but he should be able to pitch in on the field as both a receiver and a blocker. Off the field, meanwhile, he'd be someone Rivera could rely on to set a tone and show the 2020 Redskins how to play and act under their new coach.

For those who roll their eyes at that sentiment — and it's admittedly an easy thing to eye-roll at, since Olsen is an athlete, not a deity — ask recent Redskins what Alex Smith's presence meant in the locker room, or what Adrian Peterson's impact has been. Those kind of respected pros are valuable, and Olsen would absolutely qualify.

 

COUNTERPOINT: He's basically 35. He's also injury prone as of late. That's it. That's the argument.

Culture. Mentality. Professionalism. Blah blah blahblahblah blah. Olsen isn't aging; he's aged. And, by the way, he's missed 18 of a possible 48 games in the past three seasons. 

With Vernon Davis retiring, why would Washington replace one declining tight end with another declining tight end? Plus, hasn't this team had enough important pieces take in Sundays while wearing sweats instead of pads?

If Rivera wants an ex-Panther, go pursue someone like James Bradberry. Let Olsen be another team, or a TV booth's, pickup.

POINT: The Redskins wouldn't consider him the answer at tight end. Rather, he'd be part of it.

Rivera and Kyle Smith surely wouldn't acquire Olsen, slot him in as their top tight end and move on to other priorities. They'd welcome him in and feel better about position, but it'd still be on their list of things to build up.

While Olsen has missed a solid chunk of time the past three years, it's necessary to point out he suited up 14 times in 2019. And in those 14 appearances, he posted 52 grabs for 597 yards and two scores. There's absolutely a place for that on this team, especially from what should amount as the second guy on the depth chart.    

COUNTERPOINT: He's, at most, a rental for a year or two. Totally rebuild the spot from the ground up, instead.

OK, so Olsen would do Rivera a lot of good and could make the offense better in 2020 as well. So what, though? Will there be a giant clamoring to keep him for 2021?

The Redskins' new head man has talked often of constructing everything from the ground up, and tight end would be an excellent space on the roster to do so.

Whether that means taking whatever money they'd give Olsen — which likely won't be much, but any amount helps — and allocating it toward up-and-comers like Austin Hooper or Hunter Henry, or selecting a promising Day 2 prospect in April to be the starter, or both, those are better avenues than inking the three-time Pro Bowler.

CONCLUSION

In the end, Olsen becoming a Redskin isn't going to make a break the franchise. He also won't be one of the core players Rivera's been referencing.

But he'd still be a very worthwhile signing.

There's something to be said for what Olsen would bring to the Redskins for offseason activities, training camp, practices and more. Plus, in the right role, he looks like can still be a viable player.

Olsen, of course, will have to decide whether he wants to finish his career with what looks like a rebuilding group, but if he does like the fit, Washington's operation will hopefully improve in many ways.

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