What is Jabar Gaffney worth in a trade?
That was a frequently-asked question on my Twitter timeline yesterday after the news hit that Gaffney said that the Redskins are trying to trade him. It is a difficult question to answer but let’s take a look at a few factors here.
When the Redskins traded for him last year, his value was assessed as being equal to that of Jeremy Jarmon. He is the defensive end the Redskin shipped to Denver in an even trade for Gaffney last August.
Gaffney went on to have a much better year than Jarmon. With the Redskins, Gaffney led the team in receptions with 68, receiving yards with 947, and touchdown catches with five. Jarmon, who was never able to find a home in the Redskins’ 3-4 defense, was released by the Broncos at the end of training camp and did not catch on with another NFL team last year.
It is possible that the Redskins could get better compensation for Gaffney than the equivalent of Jeremy Jarmon. All it would take would be one team with a need at wide receiver and a willingness to part with a draft pick and to pay Gaffney $2.65 million in 2012. That is a fairly reasonable salary for a player who gained nearly 1,000 yards last year. If a team that thinks it needs a productive third or fourth receiver to make a deep playoff run, they could pull the trigger on Gaffney for a late-round pick.
But there are some obstacles to such a deal taking place, some of them created by Gaffney himself. We know about the Twitter blowup and odd aftermath last week. Gaffney still says that it wasn’t him but not everyone seems to believe him.
In any case, there are NFL players out there who have done much worse than blow off some steam on Twitter and are still running pass patterns, making blocks, and running the ball. Something he told Chris Russell on ESPN 980 yesterday, however, may make it very hard for the Redskins to find a trading partner.
Gaffney told Russell that going into last year’s Week 7 game in Carolina, the plan was for him to have a diminished role with Anthony Armstrong and Donté Stallworth going in as the two-deep at the X receiver position and Gaffney backing up Santana Moss at Z.
Gaffney said, “my head wasn’t in the game” due to the demotion and he committed a key fumble near the end of the first half that helped turn the game in the Panthers’ favor. Carolina won going away in the second half.
Everybody fumbles now and then but not having your head in the game because you were bumped down on the depth chart is inexcusable in the eyes of most coaches. It was an extraordinary admission for a veteran player who should know better.
As it turned out, Moss suffered a broken hand in the game, giving Gaffney back the starting job. He ended up playing 871 of the team’s 1,103 offensive plays, far more than any other receiver. But the notion that he was moping on the bench will not help his trade value.
Then there is the fact that Gaffney let it be known that he is on the trading block. In addition, a source Russell talked to said that the Redskins could well release him if they don’t find a deal and you could well have teams waiting for Gaffney to be released so that they can sign him for less money than he’s slated to make and not have to give up a draft pick.
Bottom line, if the phone rings and another team offers a sixth- or seventh-round pick for Gaffney, the Redskins should make the deal before hanging up the phone.