Before Thursday night's preseason opener in Cleveland, the Redskins were already worried about their tight end position: Logan Paulsen's toe injury could possibly cost him the year and Jordan Reed's hamstring seems to be a constant issue.
Four quarters later, however, and the situation that was previously a worry has become far more severe: Niles Paul is done for the season after suffering one of the more gruesome ankle injuries you'll ever see, and Je'Ron Hamm left the game against the Browns and did not return. That leaves only two options on the roster who are currently 100 percent healthy (Chase Dixon and Devin Mahina), and neither have taken a snap in the regular season.
That means the Redskins will almost certainly have to make a move on the free agent market in the coming days and bring in a new tight end. And while many fans -- and the man himself -- are hoping that means the return of Chris Cooley, there are other choices available.
Here are three more names -- each with a tie to the Redskins -- that could be getting a phone call from Scot McCloughan very shortly.
Zach Miller: The 29-year-old only played in three games last year for the Seahawks, and was released in March due to a failed physical (he missed the majority of the 2014 season because of ankle issues). With that being said, when healthy, he's been productive in the past -- he caught 66 and 60 passes in 2009 and 2010 in Oakland, and hauled in 5 touchdowns with Seattle in 2013 -- and, interestingly enough, was actually signed by McCloughan in 2011. That familiarity could lead to him getting a shot in D.C.
Ted Bolser: Bolser was drafted by the Redskins in the seventh round of last year's draft, but was put on the practice squad after the preseason. He remained there until October, then bounced around on Tampa Bay and Arizona's practice squad in the later months of the campaign. He has yet to secure a reception in a regular season game, but he did spend time in Jay Gruden's offense all of last summer, which could lead to an easier adjustment than Miller or the next guy on the list. He's the youngest of the trio, too.
[UPDATE: Despite the ties to the Redskins, it seems Bolser's career may be over after a recent knee surgery. He even tweeted: "I just had surgery this morning on my right knee and because of the rigorous/GREAT 18 years of football/other sports & a recent injury....I'm incapable of playing the sport I fell in love with back when I was 6 years old. I want to thank everyone involved with me and this sport." He could have been an ideal signing before the injury.]
Fred Davis: Yes, this is probably a long shot. OK, it's probably a very long shot. Davis hasn't played in the league since 2013, and has a long history of personal conduct problems. It looked like he'd finally get a chance to return to the NFL when the Patriots picked him up earlier in the offseason, but he didn't last long in New England. Davis probably has the highest ceiling of these three candidates, though, and we saw McCloughan take in a guy with character flaws just a few weeks ago in Junior Galette. The Redskins are very desperate with all that's taken place recently, so maybe, just maybe, they'll give Davis another try.
Other courses of action: With all NFL squads fully booked up with 90 man rosters, the pickings are quite slim right now. When cuts begin to be made, the market should expand -- but at that point, Washington will most likely be taking on castaways. The Redskins could target other players with connections to them (one such example, although it won't be easy, is Seattle fullback Will Tukuafu, a hard-nosed player who can block and has played in both San Francisco and Seattle, franchises that formerly employed McCloughan). But as you can see, they're in a very tough spot.
Have any suggestions for who the Redskins should bring in to help with the tight end situation? Let us know in the comments. They could use the help.