When fans of the Washington Redskins woke up this morning, they were greeted with the news that their team was taking care of one of their own. Washington had signed tight end Jordan Reed to a five-year contract worth close to $50 million, making him the second-highest paid tight end in football behind only Jimmy Graham.
On the surface, it seems like good news. The Redskins of the past overvalued other teams' players while undervaluing their own. Since the day general manager Scot McCloughan arrived in D.C., that mistaken philosophy has changed. They have signed Trent Williams, Ryan Kerrigan and now Reed to long-term deals, keeping the young nucleus of this team intact.
While you have to applaud GMSM’s efforts, this deal for Reed may be a mistake.
When on the field, Reed is one of the five best players at his position and one of the three best in the red zone. WHEN HE IS ON THE FIELD. Reed has never played a full 16-game season during his three-year career. He has suited up for 34 of 48 career games. That is 70.8 percent. To put that in perspective, Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal, who people want to run out of town for being a delicate flower, has suited up for 247 of 328 career games. 75.3 percent. How can the Redskins commit so much money to a player who is on the field less than Beal is on the court? I don’t believe they should.
Let’s go one step further. Reed’s injuries have not been ankle sprains and tweaked hammys. They have been concussions. And Reed hasn’t had one or two. He has had five. He suffered one each in 2011 and 2012 while at the University of Florida. There were two in 2013 and one last season.
His concussion during a Week 11 loss to Philly in 2013 was so severe, Reed was placed on season-ending injured reserve. While Peyton Manning was paid for chanting “cut that meat," Reed is possibly one major blow to the head away from needing someone to cut his porterhouse for him. Jokes aside, there is little funny about the seriousness of concussions and what it could mean for the Redskins if Reed suffers another.
There is no denying Reed’s talent and impact on the field. The extension also does wonders for the locker room, where young, homegrown Redskins (Bashaud Breeland, Matt Jones, Trent Murphy, etc.) will use Reed’s extension as motivation to work harder so they can get their own pockets fat. But if this team is building for the future, how will that be impacted if No. 86 suffers a sixth concussion and the Redskins are strapped with $20 million in dead money? For a talented yet fragile player, I don’t see this deal being worth the risk.
Chuck Sapienza is the Executive Producer of the Naval Academy radio network and the former VP/Programming for ESPN980. He was also a part of the Washington Redskins Radio Network from 2009 to 2015, serving as the network's Executive Producer. He can be reached at SapienzaChuck@gmail.com
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