Playing for a Contract: Offense

Redskins Personnel Washington Commanders

Though there are a number of players playing for their jobs, perhaps most interesting are those players playing for a new contract. Here are some offensive players in contract years and what they will need to do to be back in 2014:

WR Santana Moss:

-Moss is 4th on the team in career receptions and yards, and is coming off a year where he doubled the next highest receiver in TD’s, but he is very much playing for his next contract. He signed his last deal before the market under the new CBA set, so he has been a little overpaid, especially now that he is more of a slot receiver in a non-passing offense. Moss reduced his salary for this season, in an effort to help the team. While Moss is getting up there in age, he still proved himself to be highly effective this past season.

What he needs to do to come back: 

-Moss is a fan favorite and was a clutch target for RGIII last season, but that won’t be enough to ensure him a spot in 2014. The Redskins aren’t a passing team, and with Pierre Garcon in place and the promise of Leonard Hankerson, they probably won’t look to break the bank in 2014. Moss will need to lower his contract demands from his previous deal (which shouldn’t be an issue given him reducing his salary this year) and he will need another strong season. Moss has an advantage of being really the only true slot receiver on the team, and a strong year at least matching his 2012 production should earn him another reasonable contract.

TE Fred Davis:                                                                                                                                                                                                                          freddavisfull

-Davis has had a lot of hype throughout his career, but he only really ever came close to showcasing that ability in 2011. Unfortunately his “breakout” year also featured him getting suspended for the final four games of the season due to positive drug tests. In addition to those four missed games, Davis is now on a short leash, where one more infraction could result in his suspension for a full season. Due to that concern the Redskins didn’t really try to negotiate a long term contract with Davis for 2012. Instead they placed their Franchise tag on him. Though his season was starting out well, Davis went down with an Achilles injury in the 7th game of the season. While there was some drop off in production from the tight end position, Logan Paulsen did a nice job replacing Davis, and the Redskins offense as a whole didn’t suffer. After exploring a couple free agent options, Davis re-signed for a one year incentive laden deal. The Redskins also re-signed Paulsen to a 3 year deal and drafted a movement TE (Jordan Reed) in the 3rd round for insurance.

What he needs to do to come back:

-Davis is going to need to do three things if he wants to be back with the Redskins in 2014. One he has to stay out of trouble, any failed test or other issue will likely lead to the Redskins passing on him. Next Davis needs to stay healthy, Achilles injuries will have a lot of setbacks in that first year, so if Davis doesn’t have a setback the Redskins should feel more confident in him. Finally, Davis is going to need to have his best all-around year, and succeed in every area of being a TE. Even when Davis has been successful in 2011, questions about his route-running, penalties and blocking hounded him. Davis needs to succeed in every area if he wants to be back, because the Redskins won’t be as desperate for him to return given their depth and status. If Davis struggles to block it makes it harder to justify a lot of snaps for a run first team, and Jordan Reed can be a cheaper receiving option for the Redskins. A solid year just isn’t good enough.

WR Josh Morgan:

-Morgan was signed to technically a 5 year contract, but the final three years of the deal void and were used to spread out the original signing bonus. Morgan didn’t have the flashy season of Pierre Garcon or Santana Moss, but he led the team in targets, catches and 1st downs. He wasn’t a big yard after the catch guy, but was a nice possession receiver for Robert Griffin to get the ball to when he was in trouble. Morgan also distinguished himself as a very good run blocker down the field, which helped break a number of Griffin’s and Alfred Morris‘ big runs. Also, it should be noted that he was coming off a big leg injury, and clearly didn’t have 100% of his speed and agility back. Off the field Morgan is a community leader, and gives back as much as anyone on the team. Morgan could face a numbers game though as, there are only so many catches to go around and Garcon and Hankerson are already on the team, and Moss plays more of a specialized role.

What he needs to do to come back:

-Morgan has to clearly outplay Leonard Hankerson this season, and prove that he is more than just a possession receiver (and blocker). While his contributions were nice, they aren’t worth the $6 million a year he is getting for these two seasons, which is why Morgan will likely need to reduce his contract demands as well. It could be tough though to have the numbers to support another contract for Morgan if both Garcon and Davis are healthy this year.

Who do you think comes back in 2014?

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