With all the obstacles that are facing the Washington Redskins this off-season, mainly the $18 million dollar salary cap penalty, many questions need to be answered. The question of whether or not Fred Davis is replaceable is one of them.
Many NFL teams have made a transition to the “new” prototype player at tight end that includes New Orleans tight end Jimmy Graham as well as New England’s Rob Gronkowski. These new prototype tight ends are much like an extra wide receiver who change the flow of the game and are often times impossible to defend with the match-ups they present to opposing defenses.
In the midst of this transition period, Fred Davis has been blossoming into one of the leagues hot talents at tight end. In 2011 Davis was well on his way to his best season in the NFL when he was suspended for the final four games of the season due to failed drug tests during the lockout the off-season before that. Many fans of the Redskins were shocked at the suspension, but not against keeping the 6-4 Davis, known by many simply as “Sleepy”. In 2012, Davis was set, in the eyes of many, to have his breakout season for the Washington Redskins, but those plans came to a end just seven games in when Davis suffered a torn Achilles tendon against the New York Giants that ended his year.
Davis had 24 catches for 325 yards and no touchdowns in the seven games he played. While the team took an obvious loss by not having him, they actually won the majority of their games after the injury without Davis involved at all, players like Logan Paulsen and Niles Paul stepped up. So now the question is, can the Redskins let Davis walk? He was franchise tagged last year at a 5+ million dollar salary cap number. That will not happen this year as the Redskins are looking to strengthen their salary cap position and have little wiggle room (they currently are $4 million over the cap).
Here are Fred Davis’s career numbers:
The options with Davis are as follows, the Redskins could re-sign him to a long term deal, to a one year deal or don’t sign him at all. The fact that Davis is not currently under contract eliminates any ideas of trading him.
The long term deal option is a sticky one, Davis will be returning from a major injury and no one knows how well his body will respond to the process of rehab and then of course, NFL caliber football. The one year option presents the best path if the Redskins are trying to determine just what type of player Davis will be post-injury, factor in the thought that he has been suspended once from the league already for substance abuse, and short term trust could be the solution to the problem.
The last option, releasing him, should only happen if the Redskins feel as if Fred can’t help their team or that his contract is too hefty to keep on the books. A quick look at the list of 2013 NFL Free Agents will tell you that the options to replace Davis are not all that strong, nor cheap, making this option tough for a cash strapped team like the Redskins.
Just a few days ago Davis was cleared to return to physical activities, which is a good sign, but it is also to early to tell just how healthy he is.
So what’s your take on the situation?
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