Scot McCloughan and the Redskins organization will have a number of important free agent decisions to make in 2016. They will have 15 unrestricted free agents to deal with including seven players who are projected to be starters this season.
The organization has placed a priority on locking up left tackle Trent Williams and linebacker Ryan Kerrigan before they hit free agency. However, one key performer whose contract is set to expire after this year likely will have to wait until next spring to see what the team will offer him. And Alfred Morris insists that it doesn’t bother him one bit.
“I could care less, honestly,” the fourth-year running back said during minicamp. “I approach every year the same. I’m a running back so I’ll be running the ball, blocking, catching it. I don’t even think about next year.”
He’s well aware that his contract status will be a topic of discussion.
“I know I’ll get that question a lot and I kind of dread it this year but it is what it is,” he said. I’m keeping things like I did them my first, second, third years. That’s the same way I approach this fourth year.”
Only Marshawn Lynch of the Seahawks has gained more yards since Morris came into the league than the 3,962 that the sixth-round pick has posted. In fact, only 12 other backs in league history have gained more in their first three years in the league than Morris has.
But the Redskins appear to be taking a wait-and-see approach. That is the prudent course, considering that both Morris’ total rushing yards and his average per carry have dropped each year since his sensational 1,613-yard performance as a rookie.
The value the organization places on Morris is likely to be determined by the direction his numbers take this season. If he gets his rushing total back up into the 1,300-yard range or better he could draw a solid offer. If his output slips below 1,000 yards they could decide to move on. Perhaps if his production shows a modest improvement they could decide to let Morris walk and go with Matt Jones, this year’s third-down pick.
Either way, it’s smart of Morris to let things play out and not worry about it. Not that other sports are necessarily comparable but Nationals fans have seen the play of shortstop Ian Desmond decline in his contract year, perhaps because he’s pressing. Morris just needs to do what he does and let business end take care of itself.