As the Washington Redskins head into free agency after nearly clinching a playoff spot for the second-straight year, we will look at some of Washington’s key players and grade their 2016 performance.
Player: Pierre Garcon
Position: Wide receiver
Contract status: $42.5 million/5 years, expires in 2017
Preseason buzz: Is it fair to say there was little buzz around Garcon before the regular season? DeSean Jackson was the deep threat, Jamison Crowder was the emerging slot option, and Josh Doctson was suppose to be the missing red zone threat because of his height. Garcon was certainly going to be a contributor, but a volume receiver was not the initial consensus.
Ended 2016 like: Although he only scored three times, Garcon had 79 receptions for 1,041 yards, which were both good for second best in his career. With Jordan Reed missing time during the course of the season, Garcon was Washington's most consistent producer, especially on third down where he fearlessly went over the middle of the field to make a play. 52 of Garcon's receptions, or 66 percent, went for first down conversions.
Season high: Looking back to Washington destroying Green Bay on Sunday Night Football, no one would have thought the Packers would be a game away from the Super Bowl. Garcon got in on the fun against a depleted secondary with a season-high 116 yards on six catches and one touchdown. Garcon was crisp in his routes, made key grabs to keep drives alive, and had an all around solid game.
Season low: There were times where Garcon faded to the background, against Dallas in Week 2 and Detroit in Week 7 combining for just 47 yards in those two losses, but the game he had the worst impact in was overseas. In London against the Bengals, Garcon had his average 6 catches for 67 yards but he had a costly, but debatable, offensive pass interference penalty that prevented Dustin Hopkins from a shot at redemption.
If a few more of those red zone fades panned out or Garcon was able to get in the end zone by another means more often this season, he would have earned the full A. Regardless, Garcon was arguably Washington's most consistent player throughout the season. His hard nosed mentality helped him put up impressive stats, which will serve him well in his upcoming pay day.
2017 expectations: Assuming the Redskins re-sign Garcon, which is not at all a given because of their other unrestricted free agents and holes on the defensive side of the ball, you can expect more of the same from the six-footer. Whether it be during his time with Peyton Manning or Robert Griffin III, Garcon has been a physical player that takes care of the football by avoiding drops and fumbles. He has not missed a game over the past four years and that will be extended into a fifth.
Follow Neil on Twitter @NeilDalal96.
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