With all the oxygen in the room being used up on Kirk Cousins contract situation, we can tend to forget that there are other areas that the Washington Redskins need to address.
Over the next couple of months, I’ll be looking at where the Redskins can improve their roster at key positions in free agency.
Today, I am going to start at the most disappointing position of the 2017 season, Wide Receiver.
The Redskins did not have a single receiver with over 800 yards receiving or over 70 catches. Jamison Crowder who led the team with 66 receptions and 789 yards on 104 targets came the closest. Terrell Pryor, Sr. ended up being a complete bust.
Jordan Reed’s season was shortened again due to injury. Unfortunately, this is something Redskins fans have become accustomed to and have people questioning if he should be cut this offseason.
With Crowder and Josh Doctson guaranteed to return next year, there is a glaring need at this position. Could the Redskins take a receiver in the later part of the draft to add depth? Yes. However, there are other areas of the team that are even thinner than the receiving corp.
Out of their own hitting the market, Ryan Grant is someone the Redskins need to bring back. He was the most consistent and was the most versatile in 2017.
Head coach Jay Gruden sang his praises the entire season and acted as a security blanket for Cousins on key third downs.
Outside of Ryan Grant, who are the other top free agents the Redskins could pursue?
If it wasn’t for his knee injury, it would have been unlikely to have been allowed to leave Jacksonville. But, with the emergence of Keelan Cole, Allen Hurns and Marquis Lee, it is likely the Jaguars could let Robinson walk.
Robinson is 24 years old and a former second round pick in 2014. He only had 1 reception on 1 target for 17 yards before blowing out his knee. With this knee injury, it will allow for him to hit the market at a cheaper rate than what he could have asked for if he came close to his potential.
The Redskins could take the same route that they took with Terrell Pryor, Sr. Sign Robinson to a 1-year deal and see if the reward is worth the relatively low risk. This would also allow for Robinson to prove to other teams that he is back to 100 percent and hit the market again for a bigger contract in 2019.
Whether it was the offense that he was in, or it was Jared Goff getting more comfortable with Robert Woods, Sammy Watkins underperformed his ability in 2017.
Watkins, like Robinson, is 24-years old and drafted in 2014. Watkins finished fourth on the Los Angeles Rams with 593 receiving yards and 39 receptions on 70 targets. If you trust in Mike Clay’s logic, which I do most of the time, Watkins had some of the toughest cornerback match-ups of 2017. Watkins is clearly the third or fourth option in the Rams offense behind Woods, Todd Gurley and Cooper Kupp.
We have seen how physical he can be. It would be good for Doctson’s development to be around someone like Watkins. The Redskins could swoop in and take advantage of offering a long-term, incentive laden, escalator deal to Watkins. This type of contract would give the team flexibility to sign depth along the offensive and defensive lines.
Richardson is the wild card of the wide receiver free agent class. The website Spotrac has his calculated market value at $6.4 million average annual salary (AAS). It is not a secret that the Seahawks want to bring him back. But, it is currently unclear that they will have the cap space to do so.
Richardson was second on the team in receiving yards (703), third in targets (80) and fourth in reception (44). The former 2014 second round pick is 24-years old and drafted in 2014 along with Sammy Watkins and Allen Robinson.
The Redskins could use the speed and skills of Richardson to open underneath routes for the likes of Grant and Crowder. They clearly missed the speed of DeSean Jackson last year. Richardson could be the most expensive of the three receivers. Signing him could force the Redskins to skim on other positions. But, with it being unlikely they will repeat the same injury disaster on defense next year, it could be a worthwhile investment.