Monday, March 3, 2014
Redskins' offseason needs: Receiver
By John Keim
With free agency set to begin, I’m going to examine some of the Redskins' needs once the offseason really gets underway, with free agency starting March 11 and the draft two months later.
Why receiver is a need: The Redskins could use a consistent No. 2 target opposite Pierre Garcon. They signed Josh Morgan to be that guy two years ago, but after 68 catches in two years it’s apparent that he is not a strong second option. If they paired Garcon and tight end Jordan Reed with another solid receiver, the Redskins could have a strong passing attack. The Redskins also lack depth (and size) at receiver, not to mention players capable of being solid special-teams contributors.
In-house options: The Redskins have Leonard Hankerson and Aldrick Robinson, both of whom have flashed – Hankerson more than Robinson. But Hankerson tore his ACL and might not be ready until mid-August, while Robinson is too inconsistent. He made positive strides late in the year and the coaches like that he can play multiple spots (like Hankerson). But they need consistency. They could re-sign Morgan, but I don’t know why they would expect a third year to be any different than the first two. They can re-sign slot receiver Santana Moss to a small deal -- they still like him and feel he can play -- but that will not solve their pressing issue.
Free-agent options: If the Redskins want someone who can contribute immediately, then they’ll have to spend a little bit. Receiver is one of the toughest positions for rookies, so a first-year guy might not give them what they need – and provide them what they already have in terms of flashing one week and being invisible the next. They have enough players who fit that description. Seattle’s Golden Tate would be an attractive option because he can return punts as well. Hakeem Nicks is a possibility, though his lack of touchdown productivity in recent years (three touchdowns in his last 109 catches) and inability to get separation last season is concerning. But he also wouldn’t cost as much so he could be one to watch; his wide catch radius is helpful. He’s also had four games with at least 100 yards receiving in the past two seasons. No thanks to Kenny Britt; the Redskins need productivity not another player who can’t play to his ability.
The draft: Because the Redskins will have to fill other needs in free agency, especially on defense, the draft is a good, and less expensive, option. They might only land a lesser wideout in free agency, but they’ll still need to add depth at this position. Aside from Garcon, it’s not a position of strength, so they might have to add via free agency and the draft. With Hankerson having had two major injuries in his first three years, the Redskins could use another talented young wideout. There are a few in Rounds 2 and 3 who fit that description: Penn State’s Allen Robinson and Clemson’s Martavis Bryant, among others. LSU’s Odell Beckham and Oregon State’s Brandin Cooks are good choices, but all the reports lately place them in the first round.