Over the next few weeks, JP Finlay and Rich Tandler will evaluate each position group’s performance in 2016, break down the current personnel situation and look forward to the unit's outlook for 2017.
2016 starter: Jordan Reed
Backups: Vernon Davis, Derek Carrier, Niles Paul (IR)
Free agents: Davis
Rewind: Reed made the Pro Bowl for the first time but he didn’t have a great season due to injuries. He missed a total of four games with a concussion and a shoulder injury and he was ineffective in two other games due to the shoulder. As a result, his numbers were off from 2016 across the board.
Still, Reed was extremely valuable to the offense. And he showed great toughness during that game in Dallas on Thanksgiving Day. He suffered the sprained AC joint in his shoulder late in the first half of that game. In the second half he gutted it out and caught eight passes for 80 yards and two touchdowns. Anyone who ever thinks of calling him soft needs to take a look at that game.
Davis was a great free agent addition, playing well when Reed was sidelined and also when they were on the field together. They believed he would be a good addition but you have to think that 44 receptions for 583 yards and two touchdowns exceeded all expectations the organization had.
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The addition of Davis pushed Paul back on the depth chart. He played in eight games and he caught just two passes. Paul kicked in some snaps at fullback as well. A shoulder injury he suffered in London landed him on injured reserve.
Carrier was activated off the PUP list when Paul was put on IR. He played sparingly on offense and he caught two passes.
Fast forward: Reed is set as he enters the first year of the five-year contract extension he signed last spring. The rest of the group is up in the air.
Davis is a free agent and while he said at the end of the season that there had been some general conversation about him returning there have been no reports of substantive negotiations. This apparently is the case with the Redskins’ other free agents so there isn’t much to be concerned about. But until all the happy talk about Davis finishing his career in his hometown becomes a signed contract his status must be considered up in the air.
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Paul has now suffered two major injuries in the last two seasons—he missed all of 2015 after he suffered a dislocated ankle in a preseason game—and that could have the Redskins wondering if they can count on him. But it still seems likely that he will be back as a presence on special teams and as the occasional fullback with a role at tight end that will depend on Davis’ status and on other personnel moves the Redskins make at the position.
Carrier never did seem to be fully healthy, still suffering some effects of the major knee injury he suffered in December of 2015. His cap number is a modest $1.025 million so he could be given a chance to compete for a roster spot.
2017 Position outlook series
- Running backs
- Defensive line
- Tight end
- Outside linebacker
- Inside linebacker
- Wide receiver