The Redskins went wide receiver shopping on the first day of free agency and they came back with two of them with another one pending.
Pierre Garçon left the Colts for a deal that is reported to be for five years and $42 million with $21.5 million guaranteed. Although preliminary contract numbers, which usually come from agents, can be embellished somewhat that seems to be a hefty contract for a player who does not have a season with 1,000 yards receiving on his resume.
Ex-49er Josh Morgan also came on board, signing for $12 million over two years. He appeared to be a player on the rise until he suffered a broken ankle and missed the last 11 games of the season.
The signing of Eddie Royal was reported to be a done deal last night but it didn’t quite get finalized and as of this morning he’s not a member of the Redskins.
With or without Royal, the Redskins have transformed their wide receiver corps, which was a disappointment in 2011. In fact, wide receiver has been a position of weakness for the Redskins since Art Monk and Gary Clark left in the early 1990’s.
Although the current group won’t make anyone forget The Posse led by Monk and Clark, Garcon, Morgan, and possibly Royal certainly make the Redskins younger and faster at the position.
The Redskins have a mix of young and old receivers on their roster. Jabar Gaffney (68 catches) and Santana Moss (46) were the two leading wide receivers last year and both are over 30. Of the rest of the returning receivers, Leonard Hankerson had the most receptions with 13. Also back are Niles Paul (2), Anthony Armstrong (7), Terrence Austin (12), and Aldrick Robinson, who spent most of last year on the practice squad.
Add in the 26-year-old Morgan and Garçon, 25, and you have eight receivers. Royal would make nine. Some are going to have to go as the Redskins are likely to keep no more than six.
We’ll speculate who might be on the roster a little later today or tomorrow. The question is, who is the No. 1 receiver?
The lack of a top dog is what seems to be drawing the most fire from Redskins fans and others. However, there was only one true No. 1 on the market and that was Vincent Jackson. If the Redskins truly were in pursuit of him as was widely reported, the salary cap penalties imposed by the league made acquiring him a long shot. He signed with the Bucs for five years and an average of just over $11 million per year.
So, what were they supposed to do? After Marques Colston re-signed with the Saints, Garcon was the next best receiver out there. Should the Redskins have passed on him because he’s not going to draw double coverage on a consistent basis?
Is Morgan a budding star? Probably not but he will be an upgrade. If Royal comes on board he will be better than a lot of the receivers currently on the roster. The opportunities to upgrade receiver in the draft will be limited with the Redskins' first pick after taking Robert Griffin III second overall will come in the third round. They might be able to find the proverbial diamond in the rough but Griffin needs help this year if he's going to succeed.
The Redskins could not go out and force the Lions to release Calvin Johnson or make Larry Fitzgerald a free agent. They did the best they would with what was available.
It appears that they are hoping that having multiple No. 2 and No. 3 receivers will make up for the lack of a true No. 1. We will see how it works out.