About two weeks ago, Jabar Gaffney, the team’s leading receiver in 2011, went on the radio and said that the Redskins were trying to trade him.
The team apparently was unable to find a taker over the three days of the NFL draft. Now, Gaffney has told ESPN that the Redskins have released him.
A few factors likely went into the decision. First is that combination of age and salary. Gaffney was 30 on a team that is trying to get younger. He carried a $2.6 million salary on a team that is pressed for cap space after getting slapped with a $36 million salary cap penalty, $18 million of which has to be taken this year.
Although Gaffney was consistent in leading the team in receptions with 68, receiving yards with 947, and touchdown receptions with 5, the Redskins are trying to assemble a more dynamic receiving corps. Gaffney picked up an average of just 2.7 yards after the catch.
Some might believe that a strange outburst on Twitter last month may have greased the skids for his departure. Mike Shanahan said on Saturday after the draft that the team was not considering trading Gaffney due to anything that happened on Twitter.
Still, the Twitter incident drew national attention and it certainly did not help his trade value. Neither did Gaffney going on the radio to say that the Redskins were looking to trade him. Teams who might have been interest in a deal likely decided to wait until the Redskins went ahead and released him.
Shanahan did say that the team was allowing Gaffney to make a deal with another NFL team, possibly as a prelude to a trade.
The move frees up the flanker position for Leonard Hankerson, the team’s third-round pick last year, and Joshua Morgan, who the team signed as a free agent in March.
Update: Gaffney confirmed his release to Josina Anderson of ESPN.
I just heard. I just talked to Mike Shanahan. He said I was going to be making too much, and that they wanted to see what the other players can do. He said there is a chance I can come back, but he said it would be for around the minimum because I wouldn't be the starter anymore. I am not interested in going from being their leading receiver to being third-string, and having my number taken from me. That is pretty much telling me that I am not going to be making the team. Now Drew (Rosenhaus) can start talking to other teams to find me a new home.