The Washington Redskins still must decide whether or not they’ll re-sign receivers DeSean Jackson or Pierre Garcon. If they don’t, they must decide how they’ll replace one or both. And that could lead to a discussion on Alshon Jeffery.
The Bears won’t be using the franchise tag on Jeffery after doing so this past season. That means Jeffery will be a free agent at a time when Washington has an opening.
To date, there has been no momentum toward bringing either Garcon or Jackson back. But nothing is guaranteed – one way or another – with either player. And if the Redskins meet with their agents at the combine this week, things could change. The problem is, the lack of communication thus far has allowed momentum to build toward their exit, too. But in these situations, momentum is only a strong offer away.
Still, that leads us to Jeffery. (Thus far, I haven’t heard anything on a possible match here, but that doesn’t mean nothing will develop).
Why he makes sense for Washington: Because the guy can play, and he’s only 27-years-old. At 6-foot-3, he would provide something the Redskins don’t have: a big target. It’s not just about the red zone (his numbers suggest he’s not great here). Jeffery is very good at using his body to compensate for any flaws in route-running. He doesn’t always create separation with good, hard plant steps, but instead, he will cut inside and create a good target with his size. On downfield throws, quarterbacks can just throw it up and let him use his skills. It often works. It also would give the Redskins two big outside targets, assuming Josh Doctson is healthy. Yes, it would give them two big receivers, but what you want are two good ones. If that’s the case, then there’s nothing wrong with that – and both would offer good ball-tracking skills down the field.
Why he doesn’t: Jeffery will be an expensive signing, and if the Redskins are going to spend big on offense, why not either re-sign some of your own players (for a cheaper cost) or invest it more heavily on defense? My sense, based on numerous conversations, is that the Redskins would look elsewhere first if they don’t re-sign Jackson or Garcon — at less-expensive solutions. Jeffery was suspended four games last season for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. He missed seven games in 2015 because of injuries. Availability matters. While it’s nice to consider the red zone, too, that hasn’t been Jeffery’s strength. He did have one strong year, catching six touchdown passes out of nine receptions in the red zone in 2014. But in the past five years combined, Jeffery is 48th in the NFL in red-zone receiving yards 195). He caught 24 of the 70 passes thrown his way during this period; his 34.3 percentage ranks 178th. And his 14 touchdowns tie him with Garcon, among others, for 39th.