The Redskins’ 90-man offseason roster is set, at least for the time being. It’s time to take a look at who they have, who will start, and who will be around when the Sept. 9 opener in New Orleans rolls around.
Starters:Pierre Garçon, Leonard Hankerson
Reserves: Josh Morgan
Fighting for a job: Santana Moss, Anthony Armstrong, Terrence Austin, Brandon Banks, Aldrick Robinson, Lance Lewis, Darius Hanks, Brian Hernandez
When Mike Shanahan was asked last week who his top receivers were he rattled off Garçon, Hankerson, and Morgan. The Redskins paid a lot-overpaid, some would say-to bring in Morgan from the 49ers and Garçon from the Colts. Hankerson was developing into a solid option when he got injured last year.
Moss is probably safe but he still has to compete. He is scheduled to make $2.65 million this year and that’s a lot for the fourth wide receiver on the depth chart. But he does know the offense well and he could be of great help in breaking in rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III.
Armstrong’s production fell off a cliff last year after a promising rookie year in 2010. Austin has had some opportunities, but not many, to show that he deserves to stick around. Banks may have to show that he can contribute from scrimmage in addition to his kick return duties if he is going to see a third season in Washington.
It would not be surprising to see Lewis make a run at a spot on the 53-man roster; his talent has been compared to that of Brandon Lloyd. Hanks didn’t see much action in the passing game at Alabama so he will have to show that he can be productive in an NFL offense.
Jabar Gaffney, last year's leading receiver, was released on May 1.
Starter: Fred Davis
Reserve: Niles Paul, Chris Cooley
Fighting for a job: Logan Paulsen, Richard Quinn, Beau Reliford
A good tight end can be a young quarterback’s best friend and the Redskins hope that Davis will fill that role for Griffin. He was one of the bright spots in a dreary offense last year until he was suspended for the final four games.
Cooley could well be put into the “fighting for a job” category as his $3.8 million salary is hefty for a player who won’t start. But Cooley, like Moss, could be kept around as an expensive luxury who could help Griffin get his feet under him. He will need to demonstrate that his knee is sound, making the offseason program key for him.
It remains to be seen how well Paul will covert from wide receiver to tight end but they probably didn’t move him there with the idea of cutting him. It’s going to be very tough to keep four tight ends on the roster so Paulsen is going to be challenged to make it despite the fact that he’s the best blocking tight end on the roster.