The Redskins had two No. 1 picks this spring. One, of course, is quarterback Robert Griffin III, who they took with their top pick in the draft, the second overall.
Their other first choice, judging by how quickly they contacted and signed him, was free agent wide receiver Pierre Garçon. Even though the Redskins had just found out that they were getting slapped with a $18 million salary cap penalty they still made the former Colts receiver an offer he couldn’t refuse and the deal was done within an hour of the start of free agency on March 13. They showed how much they wanted him by giving him a five-year, $42.5 million contract.
That’s a lot of money for any receiver, especially considering Garçon does not have a 1000-yard receiving season on his resume and he never has caught more than 70 passes on a season.
He spent his four years in Indianapolis either playing behind or playing second fiddle to the likes of Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison so his lack of a big season is understandable. But big free agent contracts are usually given out based on proven production, not on potential. The Redskins rolled the dice with Garçon.
He said that he did not feel that his contract put him under any added pressure. “You know, anytime you play in the league, there’s pressure. If you’re a sixth- round pick or if you’re a first day free agent, you know it’s pressure no matter what,” he said. “Everybody has their own pressure. Free agents just have to go out there and make plays, do this and give it your all every time you play and that’s all you can do.”
Mike Shanahan believes that Garçon and Josh Morgan, another receiver with so-so career stats who signed a contract worth $12 million over the next two years, have something to prove. “When you do bring a player in or two players in that have played and played well, it’s a welcome addition to your football team because they are better players that are proving themselves or you’re hoping they are better players that are proving themselves.”
The Redskins will be looking for big plays out of Garçon. If he can pull off plays like his 87-yard touchdown catch and run against the Bucs last year just a few times in 2012 he will go a long way towards earning his contract.
Last year the Redskins lacked a player who could score from anywhere on the field. In fact, that has been a glaring hole for them for many years. They have not been able to score from outside of the red zone and when they get close to the goal line they struggle to punch it in. That combination has made the Redskins offense among the lowest scoring in the league year in and year out.
Shanahan and the organization recognized that need by making priorities of bringing in Griffin, who was one of the most accurate deep passers in college football a year ago, and Garçon. As with many plans and strategies executed by the Redskins in years past, it looks good on paper but we’ll have to wait and see how it plays out on the field.