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: Bashaud Breeland
Contract status: $2.71 million/4 years, expires in 2018
Preseason buzz: When the Redskins added Josh Norman in the offseason, Breeland initially took the move as disrespectful. As such, many thought that Breeland would use it as additional motivation to prove he is a No. 1 level corner in the NFL leading to a dominant tandem in DC.
Ended 2016 like: Not so much a No. 1 level corner, but after a slow start, Breeland showed that he may be worthy of a contract extension. With rotating parts elsewhere on the defense, Washington should not fret about maintaining the status quo at the No. 2 corner spot, especially because he is still a young and developing player.
Season high: In the Redskins penultimate game of the season, statistics came in twos for Breeland. The third year player finished with two tackles, two passes defensed, and two interceptions of Matt Barkley. A runner up performance for Breeland was the previous week where he recorded three pass break ups against Carolina, but in a loss.
Season low: In Week 1 and on dreaded Monday Night Football, Breeland spent most of the night covering All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown. Pittsburgh took advantage of Norman not shadowing the opposing team's best receiver and Breeland had a night to forget. Brown recorded eight catches for 126 yards and two touchdowns, most of which came against Breeland. The game started well for Breeland as he had an interception on a pass intended for Eli Rodgers, but it was all downhill from there.
Despite the letdown on national television early in the season, Breeland was not the reason why Washington dropped the ball twice in the last three weeks and failed to make the playoffs. In combination with Norman, the Redskins did have a solid cornerback duo, but the rest of the secondary was the real problem in the fifth worst pass defense by yards.
2017 expectations: Whether Breeland gets a contract extension this summer or not, he will again come in with a chip on his shoulder. Either he will look to improve his stock in a contract year or prove to the outside world he was well worth the investment. Breeland will have his ups and downs as the season goes along, but for the most part do a good job manning his ground.
Follow Neil on Twitter @NeilDalal96.
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