The Redskins need improvement at plenty of positions, but tight end might be near the top of the list. Vernon Davis just announced his retirement and Jordan Reed has major health questions.
For new Washington head coach, it's obvious tight end needs help.
"Do we have our tight end? Probably not," Rivera said on Redskins Nation. "That’s a big question mark."
With Davis retired and Reed still on the injured reserve, currently the Redskins only have two tight ends on their roster with NFL experience in Jeremy Sprinkle and Hale Hentges. Sprinkle is going into the final year of his rookie deal, and in turn, due for a significant pay increase. His cap number will be near $3 million for 2020, and though Sprinkle made 26 catches last year, they came on 40 targets.
Neither Sprinkle nor the undrafted Hentges are a certainty for the Redskins 53-man roster in 2020, especially as Rivera will move quickly to make the roster his own. If the speed with which Rivera overhauled the coaching staff and front office is any indication, expect significant roster turnover.
Former Panthers tight end Greg Olsen will visit the Redskins this week, and since he's a free agent, Washington could sign him immediately. Olsen also has a visit planned with the Bills and will have serious consideration from television networks as well. Olsen has a tremendous resume, but will turn 35 in March. Olsen could help in the locker room, for sure, and instill Rivera's cause among players.
Still, even if Olsen signs in Washington, he's hardly the Redskins long-term answer at tight end.
The elephant in the room is Jordan Reed, and it doesn't sound like Reed is in Rivera's plans.
"We're not sure on him as far as health," Rivera said of Reed.
On a personal level it's hard to hear that about Reed. He's gifted and incredibly nice off the field. For Redskins fans, however, it might be welcome news for Rivera to admit what many have already seen.
Reed will turn 30 in July and has never played a full 16-game schedule in his seven-year career. His best season came in 2015, five years ago. He didn't play a single snap in 2019 and has a long history of concussions.
The Redskins had a major problem of relying on players with frequent injuries under Bruce Allen's leadership. It sounds like Rivera is ready to turn that page. Reed also has two years remaining on his contract at nearly $20 million, but if Washington releases the tight end this offseason, would save nearly $9 million in cap space.
The Redskins have major question marks at tight end this season, and got practically no production from the spot last year.
Rivera knows it's a problem, and seems prepared to address it. If Olsen signs will be step one, but that needs to be one of many. The draft will offer options, and there will be other free agent prospects too.
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