Assessing Redskins TE Fred Davis' value

October, 22, 2013
10/22/13
2:45
PM ET
The Washington Redskins have depth at tight end and, because of that, they can think about trading a player that looked to be a part of their future a year ago. Even six months ago.

But Fred Davis isn’t playing and Jordan Reed is now the pass-catcher of the future at tight end. So Davis will be shopped before the NFL’s Oct. 29 trade deadline, according to multiple reports.

That doesn’t mean a trade will happen, of course. One NFC executive -- who studied Davis in the offseason -- said Davis had “minimal” trade value. Yes, the old saying is, it only takes one team.

The problem is Davis himself. Two years ago his season ended with a four-game drug suspension and he’s now one strike away from a year-long one. Last season, his year ended because of an Achilles’ injury and this year he’s been slowed by a sprained ankle. And now he’s been surpassed by Reed. When you watch Reed play, that’s not a damning phrase (also note: the coaches consistently praise how Reed and Logan Paulsen work in practice and in the meeting rooms; read between the lines if you’d like). But it does prevent Davis from showing what he can truly do coming off last year’s injury -- or if he’s even back to being his old self.

Another factor, of course: He’s in the last year of his contract. So what would a team really be willing to trade in return? The executive said he thinks Davis likely would fetch a player instead of a draft pick. But would a team really give up a quality player for Davis at this point? My guess is, any player they receive would be one not in their current team’s future plans.

Only one other team made an offer to Davis last offseason: Buffalo. A league source said at the time that the Bills offered Davis a two-year deal worth $700,000 more than what he received in a one-year contract from Washington. But Davis hoped to turn a productive 2013 season into a bigger offer in the offseason.

The New York Jets showed interest, but backed out when they heard the offers being discussed. Davis’ trip there was canceled.

Would the Bills make an offer? I know there's a lot of talk about Buffalo safety Jairus Byrd and whether or not Davis could be used as a chip to get him. I can't imagine that being doable without some serious draft pick going along with Davis. And, yes, Cleveland is fielding offers for receiver Josh Gordon. But the Browns aren't jumping to make a deal and would a Davis/draft pick package really be all that enticing for them (when they already love their tight end, Jordan Cameron)? Perhaps there's a team out there that would love to get Davis; it'll be tough to get a lot for him.

Here’s what ESPN.com’s Bills reporter Mike Rodak wrote about whether or not a trade would make sense for Buffalo:
For the Bills, it's unlikely Davis would replace Scott Chandler in the starting lineup. He would simply provide another option at the position. Chandler, who is also coming off an Achilles' injury, ranks 19th among NFL tight ends, with 22 receptions for 269 yards and two touchdowns.

Beyond Chandler, the Bills have Lee Smith, a blocking tight end with two receptions this season, and their seventh-round pick, Chris Gragg. The addition of Davis would likely push Gragg, who has played just six offensive snaps this season, to the practice squad.

Although it's a considerable long shot, the other wrinkle to consider here is safety Jairus Byrd. Although they're not actively shopping him, the Bills have said they'll listen to any offers on Byrd. The Redskins need a safety.

While the Redskins would clearly need to give up more than Davis (i.e. a mid-round draft pick or higher) to get Byrd, it would be a swap of two players who have expiring contracts, creating an impetus for both sides to make a deal.

John Keim

ESPN Washington Redskins reporter

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