When news broke that the Redskins hosted free agent wideout Anquan Boldin for a visit, the next natural question popped up as to what space Washington has at the receiver position. Starting wideouts DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon are slated to be back with the team this fall, and Jamison Crowder looks like a lock in the slot for years to come.
Why bring Boldin in if there isn’t a spot for him to play? Some Twitter frenzy suggested that Boldin could replace Garçon - and his $10 million 2016 cap hit.
One thing must be presented first before this discussion continues: Redskins GM Scot McCloughan and coach Jay Gruden both like Garcon. The veteran wideout is respected in the locker room.
But in the business that is pro football, Garcon’s production does not match that of a $10 million wide receiver. Last season in 16 games, Garcon brought in 72 passes for 777 yard - good for 10.8 YPC - and six touchdowns. As the chart below shows, if Washington moved on from Garçon, the team would save $8 million in cap money.
Playing in the final season of a five-year deal last fall in San Francisco, Boldin caught 69 passes for 789 yards - good for 11.4 YPC - and four TDs in 14 games.
Prior to that, in 2014, Garcon caught 68 passes for 752 yards and three TDS. In 2014, Boldin caught 83 passes for 1,062 yards and five TDs. Garcon did outproduce Boldin in 2013 (113/1,346/5 to 85/1,179/7) but both wideouts put up strong numbers that year.
Both players play a tough brand of football not often seen from the wideout position. Garçon will be 30 when the 2016 season starts, Boldin will be 36; a very big discrepancy for a Washington team that McCloughan says he wants to get younger. Both players are also about the same size; Boldin stands 6’1” and goes 218 lbs., Garcon weighs roughly the same but stands 6-foot.
Considering just how quiet Washington has been throughout the free agency period, signing a guy like Boldin doesn’t make too much sense. Considering that Boldin might offer similar production to Garçon at a cost of way less than $10 million, maybe the situation looks different. Still, the scenario where McCloughan signs Boldin and releases Garçon seems far-fetched. It assumes that Boldin signs a short-term, team friendly deal, not to mention the team wanting to cut ties with Garçon - two factors that seem far from certain.
Another theory could be at work: CSN's Rich Tandler wrote about a possible extension for Garçon as a way to spread out his $10 million cap hit. Might a visit from a prominent free agent WR - with similar production at a reduced cost - encourage Garçon to consider that extension?
Regardless the intent, by hosting Boldin for a free agent visit, McCloughan and the Redskins have opened up many questions. Let us know what you think in the comments.