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Redskins position outlook: Tight end

Redskins position outlook: Tight end

Over the next few weeks, JP Finlay and Rich Tandler will grade each position group’s performance in 2016, break down the current personnel situation and evaluate the unit's outlook for 2017.

So far we’ve looked at the running backs and the defensive line. Today the focus moves to the tight end position.

Tight end

2016 starter: Jordan Reed

Backups: Vernon Davis, Niles Paul, Derek Carrier

Free agents: Davis

Rewind: Reed had a Pro Bowl year despite being bitten by the injury bug. A concussion sidelined him in Weeks 6-7 and a shoulder injury forced him to be inactive for two late-season games and severely diminished his effectiveness in two others. If he had played 16 games his stats project out to 88 receptions for 915 yards and 8 touchdowns. As is was, his line was 66/686/6.

We will hear the “if only he could stay healthy for 16 games” lament often as the offseason progresses. That may not be realistic. However, after the played and stood out in the second half of the Thanksgiving Day game in Dallas after suffering the AC joint sprain to his left shoulder he can no longer be called “soft”. If he’s not playing, he’s hurting.

Related: NFL Mock Draft 2.0

Davis had a career revival at the age of 32. He appeared to be fading away as his production went way down in San Francisco in 2014 and with the 49ers and Broncos in 2015. But Scot McCloughan signed him and he proved to be a huge asset both filling in for an injured Reed and lining up with Reed. Getting 44/583/2 from their second tight end helped the offense become one of the best in the NFL.

Carrier and Paul both missed extensive time with injuries. Carrier started the season on the PUP list as he continued his rehab from a knee injury he suffered in Chicago in December of 2015. He was activated after Paul suffered a torn labrum in the London game. Neither played much on offense; Paul was in for 112 snaps on offense, Carrier for 80.

Fast forward: Reed is locked up through 2021 after signing a five-year, $46.75 million last May. He is a salary cap bargain this year with a charge of only $5.7 million. That’s well worth it even if he misses few games along the way.

He skipped playing in the Pro Bowl due to the shoulder injury. The good news is that it won’t require surgery and he should be good to go when offseason workouts start in April.

Davis is a free agent and getting him back is a priority for the team. The team started talks with his agent soon after the season ended. After the season Davis said all the right things about playing another year in his home town but it will come down to money. His deal paid him $2.4 million last year. It might take two years and $6 million to get him locked up this time with maybe $2 million guaranteed. Odds are he will be back but it’s no sure thing.

More Redskins: Defense with the top pick?

Paul is still under contract this year for $2 million in combined salary and roster bonuses. Money won’t be a factor in whether he’s back or not. The issue will be health and if he can stay on the field. He missed only one game due to injury in his first four seasons in the league but then he missed all the 2015 season with a dislocated ankle suffered in the preseason and half of last year. The coaches love his commitment, work ethic, and the way he plays with abandon. He can also play fullback; the team had to resort to using linebacker Houston Bates there after Paul was injured. Those factors should push them to keep Paul around and give him a chance to contribute what he can.

Carrier may not be as secure. After Paul and Logan Paulsen were injured in 2015 the Redskins traded a conditional 2017 fifth-round pick to the 49ers for Carrier. The fifth-rounder may have tilted the scales towards keeping him around. But the conditions for the fifth-round pick were not met and the pick is now a seventh-rounder. That won’t have much of an effect on a decision to keep him or not. Carrier is likely to stay around but he will have to earn a spot on the 53.

If Davis ends up leaving, the Redskins could look for a replacement in free agency. Perhaps Jermaine Gresham, who was with Jay Gruden in Cincinnati, could be a target if he’s healthy. And you can’t rule out Scot McCloughan grabbing a tight end in the draft if one is the best available player on the board.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Burning Questions: Which Washington Football Team player has a lot riding on 2020?

Burning Questions: Which Washington Football Team player has a lot riding on 2020?

As training camp continues to build, JP Finlay and Pete Hailey will answer burning questions related to the Washington Football Team.

Up next: Which player, outside of Dwayne Haskins, has a lot riding on 2020?

Pete's pick: Sean Davis

Washington's free agency class is crowded with players on one-year deals, which is something Ron Rivera loves.

"A lot of these guys want to come in and say, ‘Hey, give me an opportunity to compete, let me prove myself,'" Rivera told the media a few months ago. "I love that guys are betting on themselves, that they’re going to come in and prove that they belong, that they deserve an extensive contract." 

Sean Davis is one such guy who's betting on himself, and should he win that bet, it'll do a ton for his career as well as for the franchise, too.

First, look at it from Davis' point of view. The ex-Steeler was a useful contributor during his first three years in Pittsburgh, but in 2019, he appeared just once before landing on injured reserve in mid-September. He needs to bounce back to ensure his NFL arrow is pointing upward again.

As for Washington, well, they've been looking for a pair of safeties to rely on for more than a decade now. They're locked in with Landon Collins at one spot, and with Davis being just 26 years old, he looks like an ideal candidate to slide into the other. 

Davis must be healthy, clean up his tackling and handle his coverage duties well, though, for both he and the organization to be happy. If he comes through, expect his next contract to far outweigh the one he's currently on.

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JP's pick: Fabian Moreau

Cornerbacks can make big money if they prove an ability to stay on the field and cover, and fourth-year Washington CB Fabian Moreau has a real opportunity this fall to show he can do both.

A third-round pick in 2017, Moreau came to Washington with plenty of fanfare from his college days at UCLA. Things haven’t really clicked yet, but the 2020 season presents a chance to take over a starting outside cornerback spot.

For the past few seasons, Moreau has been overshadowed by Josh Norman and Quinton Dunbar, but neither player is in Washington anymore. Moreau has also dealt with injuries. As a rookie, he barely played while working back from a torn pectoral and last year he missed a chunk of time with a hurt ankle. 

BURNING QUESTIONS: WHO WILL BREAK OUT?

Now, in 2020, Moreau needs to show up. 

Washington signed Kendall Fuller this offseason and he will nail down one spot in the secondary while Moreau and Ronald Darby compete to start opposite Fuller. If Moreau can win that job, and then play well on the field after that, he stands to see a major payday next year in free agency.

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Former Washington RB Derrius Guice a free agent after going unclaimed on waivers

Former Washington RB Derrius Guice a free agent after going unclaimed on waivers

Derrius Guice is officially a free agent.

The running back unsurprisingly went unclaimed on waivers after Washington released him on Friday. Guice is now free to sign with any team. 

The 23-year-old was released by Washington on Friday after he was arrested on domestic violence charges. Guice, who had become a fan-favorite during his two-plus years in Washington, has denied all accusations against him, per his attorney. 

Additionally, Guice -- who is usually active on social media -- has deleted both his Instagram and Twitter accounts.

While a healthy Guice would likely be an upgrade to many backfields across the league, it's unclear if any teams will take a chance signing him

Guice's NFL career thus far has been all potential and little production. While he's shined when on the field, the running back has missed 27 of a possible 32 games due to multiple knee injuries since Washington selected him 59th overall in the 2018 NFL Draft. 

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TALK PODCAST

Stay connected to the team with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

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