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Redskins position outlook: Behind Reed, tight ends depth chart up in the air

Redskins position outlook: Behind Reed, tight ends depth chart up in the air

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.

Tight end

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.

More Redskins: Silence is golden in Cousins talks

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

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Don't believe trade hype: Bruce Allen insists Kirk Cousins will be Redskins quarterback in 2017

Don't believe trade hype: Bruce Allen insists Kirk Cousins will be Redskins quarterback in 2017

Kirk Cousins will be the Redskins quarterback in 2017. Period. At least that's the word from team president Bruce Allen.

"That's why we franchised him," Allen said of Cousins.

Asked about numerous trade rumors and reports on the Redskins single season passing record holder, Allen dismissed them all.

"I can't keep up with the rumors," Allen said. "Kirk and I have talked almost a dozen times this offseason, and we get to laugh when we hear these different rumors. We haven't talked to anyone."

MORE REDSKINS: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 6.0

Allen has spoken with Cousins representatives a number of times this offseason, and the organization still wants to get a long-term deal done with their passer. 

"Our goal from the beginning has been long-term," the team president said. "I'm still hopeful and confident we'll do it."

The team could again use a tag on Cousins, an option Allen mentioned. 

MORE REDSKINS: Exclusive: Allen answers questions on McCloughan firing

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Exclusive: Redskins' Bruce Allen answers questions on Scot McCloughan's firing: 'We needed clarity'

Exclusive: Redskins' Bruce Allen answers questions on Scot McCloughan's firing: 'We needed clarity'

PHOENIX -- The Redskins suffered a public divorce when the team dismissed Scot McCloughan from his general manager position earlier this month. Bruce Allen, speaking with CSN in Phoenix at the NFL Owner's Meetings, explained just how hard the decision was.

"It was difficult because his father and brother and I worked together for a number of years with the Raiders and enjoyed success together. When I brought [Scot McCloughan] to the Redskins obvisouly I was hoping for a good marriage. It is disapointing."

Allen said his organization needed clarity once free agency opened up, and removing McCloughan provided that.

MORE REDSKINS: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 6.0

"I thought on the first day of the league year [March 9], the free agents we were bringing in, we needed clarity. And for our scouts to continue the good work we were doing we needed clarity for the season," he said. "The opening day made the decision."

Interstingly, Allen unequiovocally explained that McCloughan can go work elsewhere in the NFL.

"We hope it works out for Scot because now he can be hired by teams before the draft. He's available, and wish him the best."

Allen would not comment on any personal issues with McCloughan.

"I would never go into the personal conversations."

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