Do the Redskins need another pass catching tight end?

Do the Redskins need another pass catching tight end?
February 8, 2014, 2:00 pm
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Tandler - Tarik

This morning, we examined the Redskins’ 2014 outlook at tight end. Now, Insiders Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler will give their take on if the Redskins need to add another pass-catching tight end.

Tandler: The Redskins have Jordan Reed but they might want to consider adding a second tight end with similar pass-catching ability. One reason is that there may need to be a solid backup plan behind Reed. He missed time in OTAs, training camp, and the regular season with a variety of injuries. The worst, of course, was the concussion that knocked him out of the last six games of the season.

Another factor to consider is that Jay Gruden utilized two tight ends very effectively in Cincinnati. Last year Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert combined to catch 85 passes for 903 yards and six touchdowns. Another tight end in the mix might make Reed that much more effective.

Ideally, the Redskins would be able to acquire a tight end to compliment Reed when he’s on the field and to substitute for Reed when he’s not. But there are wants and there are needs and the additional tight end fits into the former. With resources limited the team should focus on getting a second wide receiver to take some heat off of Pierre Garçon or revamping the offensive line, not to mention rebuilding the defense.

If a talented tight end should fall into their laps in, say, the fourth or fifth round then the smart thing to do would be to grab him. But spending a high draft pick on a tight end or expending any substantial amount of cap dollars on one would be a mistake. The Redskins should plan on rolling with Reed, Logan Paulsen, and Niles Paul this year and perhaps adding talent at the position in 2015.

RELATED: [Redskins position outlook: Tight end]

El-Bashir: While it’s not an absolute necessity, I do think the Redskins will aim to add another playmaking tight end for two reasons: 1) as Rich pointed out, Gruden leaned heavily on Gresham and Eifert last season and 2) Reed is talented but fragile.

Although we don’t know exactly how Gruden’s playbook will look, we did learn this much about the new head coach during the assistant coach hiring process: he likes what is familiar to him. And familiar to him as it relates to tight ends is having two 6-foot-5-ish players that are capable of catching passes and gaining yards.

As I pointed out in my ‘Breakout potential’ item today, Reed possesses all the talent to become a perennial Pro Bowler. But, unfortunately, he could be another helmet-to-helmet hit away from being shelved for an extended amount of time. It should also be noted that Reed was sidelined for one game with thigh bruise and parts of others after taking big hits -- in addition to the six he missed with a concussion. Because of that, relying on Reed before he proves he can be, well, reliable would be a mistake.

If you combine reasons No. 1 and 2, I don’t think it’s a question of if the Redskins will pursue another playmaking tight end but rather an issue of how much they’re willing to spend (in terms of dollars or draft selection) in order to get him.