COMMENTARY | On Friday, reports surfaced via The Washington Post that the Washington Redskins have entered contract negotiations with free agent wide receiver Santana Moss. While Moss is a fan favorite, should he be brought back?
To find that answer, let's first look at his role on the team and how it's been affected the past couple seasons. Since joining the Redskins back in 2005 via a trade with the New York Jets, he had three seasons with at least 1,000 yards receiving over the next six seasons. For the better part of the decade, he was one of the NFL's most notable receivers and was certainly the featured guy in Washington.
In 2011, Moss's productivity was nearly cut in half. He caught just 46 passes for 584 yards, a far cry from his 93-reception and 1,115 yard effort in 2010. In 2012, the attention he received in general dropped. He was only targeted 61 times for 41 receptions, 573 yards and eight touchdowns. In 2013, he was targeted more, but the result was similar to the year before. He managed just 42 receptions for 452 yards and just two touchdowns. As you can see, there is a downward trend here.
The decline of Santana Moss can be attributed to new faces in the Redskins' receiving corp. In 2012, they signed Pierre Garçon and Josh Morgan, which stuck Moss immediately in the third spot. In 2013, they drafted tight end Jordan Reed. Reed proved that he's versatile enough to line up in the slot and play a role similar to Jimmy Graham with the New Orleans Saints. Essentially, you can now knock Moss down another peg.
With that, you can put Moss in the mix with Aldrick Robinson (who the team has already resigned), Leonard Hankerson and even Dezmon Briscoe and Nick Williams. Moss is at least nine years older than all three of them. As we see more and more, youth wins out in the NFL.
The next aspect of this decision to look at is who could he be replaced by? Already on the roster, Robinson, Hankerson and Reed can play the slot, the only place where Moss could find himself. Along with who they already have, the Redskins have plenty of viable options in the draft and free agency to replace Moss.
When you look at free agency, Eric Decker is a name that the Redskins have been associated with. If they want to look specifically at a slot receiver, then Julian Edleman's name pops up. Washington has the funds to be able to land either one of those players. However, with all the holes on defense, they may want to spend big there. With that in mind, let's look at the draft.
This year's draft has a number of players that could find themselves in the slot when they get to the NFL. Mike Jones of The Washington Post labels Oregon's Josh Huff, Baylor's Tevin Reese and Kent State's Dri Archer as prospects that will play that role in the NFL. For the Redskins, they would be able to select them with a mid-round pick, so is it worth saving the money and taking a shot on a rookie?
Santana Moss has had a nice run in Washington and it's clear that neither side really wants it to end. Moss himself has said that he wants to return to the Redskins and Washington entered negotiations with him, which means they want him back, as well. While that may be what they want to do, is that what they should do? I'm not so sure.
The only way I see this working out for everyone is if Moss takes another pay cut. Last year, Moss had his contract restructured to stay in D.C. and make just $2 million. If he wants to remain in D.C., he'll need to take a cut to about $1 million. That's just above the league-minimum for a player his age and it still leaves the Redskins with room to work with in free agency.
Ultimately, I think the Redskins should move on from Santana Moss. 2014 will be his 14th year in the NFL and with the way things are shaping up, I don't expect it to be more productive that 2013. The Redskins have options in house, in the draft and in free agency that they can turn to to upgrade that position. Resigning Moss would simply be a waste of money.
It was fun while it lasted, but the time has come in D.C. for the Redskins and Moss to part ways. He's just too old and won't be productive enough to really warrant a new contract at the price he'll be getting.
Brian Skinnell is a contributor for RantSports.com and Yahoo Sports covering the Washington Redskins, Wizards and NASCAR among others. You can follow him on Twitter, @Brian_Skinnell.
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