Unlike some seasons in the past decade, the 2017 version of the Washington Redskins look to be deep. After a few years of maximizing draft picks and not overly relying on free agency, the Redskins have strong talent at a number of positions, and at some point, will have to release some good players. 

Tight end illustrates this problem.

Jordan Reed headlines the group. The elite playmaker, though currently on the PUP list, is an absolute lock for a roster spot. So too is his backup Vernon Davis. 

That then leaves veterans Niles Paul and Derek Carrier and rookie Jeremy Sprinkle. Paul is a special teams workhorse and a highly capable player for a third string TE. Carrier has not shown the same production, but is a good blocker and was well liked by former GM Scot McCloughan. Both Paul and Carrier have dealt with injuries in recent seasons, and Paul will count more than $2 million against the cap this year, expensive considering his position.

Sprinkle is a big body with much to learn about route running and the Redskins passing game, but provides the Redskins with a real pass catching option when the team deploys their jumbo set with three tight ends on the field. Ty Nsekhe worked in that role much of last season after injuries to Paul and Carrier. Sprinkle is also cheap, commanding only the $534,000 salary of a 5th round draft pick, and under team control for four years.

Redskins coach Jay Gruden knows he will have a decision to make. Keeping four tight ends on an NFL roster is unusual; keeping five is unheard of. 


"I've thought about a lot of different scenarios, both outside linebacker, safety, corner, inside backer. I mean, we have some issues we're going to have to deal with as far as the 53-man roster. I think it'll all play out," Gruden said. 

Gruden stressed the importance of preseason games, and the omnipresent that injuries could solve roster bottlenecks as well.

"Everybody's happy with everybody right now, but at the end of the day, people are going to have to perform in the preseason. They're going to have to continue to perform, be consistent performers out here on the practice field, and at the end of the day, we're going to have to make some tough decisions somewhere. Could be a tight end spot, could be safety, could be inside backer, could be outside backer. We don't know yet. We’re going to let it play out, let these guys compete, and we'll do the best we can picking the best 53."

Picking the best 53. Novel concept. Won't be easy though. 


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