After a promising rookie campaign in 2016, Su'a Cravens seemed poised for a breakout season in 2017. He switched positions, going from inside linebacker to safety, and momentum was on his side during training camp in Richmond.
Things quickly fell apart, however, as Cravens sustained a knee injury in the first preseason game. A procedure on his knee cost him the remainder of camp and the preseason, and then things got worse. Cravens was moved to the Reserved/Left Squad list before the Week 2 game against Los Angeles, ending his 2017 season without playing a snap.
Much has been said and rumored about Cravens' NFL future. In an attempt to clarify, let's look at what is known and what is believed to be true.
- Known - Cravens applied for reinstatement from the reserved/left squad list.
- Believed - Cravens wants to play in the NFL again, as soon as this fall. There was some question if Cravens wanted to play football again.
- Known - Cravens got treatment and was cleared from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center for head injuries in December.
- Believed - Cravens dealt with concussions his rookie season and was still dealing with after effects. Dr. Michael Collins at the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program is one of the foremost concussion doctors in the world; he wouldn't have cleared Cravens unless there was something wrong.
- Known - Cravens has three years left on his rookie contract as the 2017 season "tolled" toward his contract status, meaning the year never counted towards his four-year deal.
- Believed - There is a question if Cravens would be welcomed back in the Redskins locker room. From numerous conversations with people close to the situation, he would. A number of players stayed in touch with the young safety throughout his year off the team, and understand the circumstances surrounding his absence. If he would be welcomed back by the full coaching staff and all members of the front office might be a different story.
So what does it all mean?
It's hard to see a scenario where Cravens comes back to play for the Redskins. The decision to end Cravens' 2017 season by placing him on the reserved/left squad list while he was dealing with injury and personal turmoil still lingers, and some inside the organization still can't understand Cravens' request for some mental health time.
Cravens will have a trade market, especially with three years remaining on a team-friendly rookie deal. The Redskins must understand they won't get dollar-for-dollar value in a trade, as Cravens was a second-round pick in 2016.
The Redskins need help all over their roster, and maybe it would make sense to try and move Cravens for another player rather than draft help. Denver is reportedly looking to move Emmanuel Sanders, and maybe the two sides could work a deal. That might not materialize, but Washington needs to look at creative options in moving the former USC star.
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