Washington Redskins fans have been quick to realize that this upcoming offseason will certainly be unique. They are all aware that the entire offseason will be dominated by the status of a new collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the NFL Players Union. Until then, as we know, teams are not permitted to make trades with other teams or acquire another team’s free agents. That’s unfortunate for the Redskins, as this upcoming free agent class will feature several players that they certainly will want.
That being said, the team is still allowed to negotiate new contracts with their own free agents. Over the next few weeks we will be taking a look at four of the Redskins key free agents, and whether or not the team should re-sign them.
We start this week with wide receiver Santana Moss.
Santana Moss' 2010 Season
Moss, 31, is coming off of a season where he amassed 93 catches (a career high) for 1115 yards and six touchdowns. It was his fourth 1,000-yard receiving year in his career and his third for the Redskins. No matter the head coach, quarterback or offensive coordinator, Moss has been a steady, productive force for the burgundy and gold over his six-year stint in Washington.
In 2010, as he was getting accustomed to his fourth different offense in Washington, he was given a different role by offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan than in his previous years. The Shanahan’s deemed Moss to be more productive by putting him more in the slot rather than playing the classic outside ‘X’ receiver position that he was playing in prior seasons.
Putting him in the slot allowed him to run a more variety of routes and exploit certain matchups against the oppositions' lesser cornerbacks. Along with his ability to get open, it gave him more chances to catch the ball and use his open field skills to get yards after the catch. He isn't as fast as he used to be, but he was still able to run precise routes and get separation of most defensive backs.
He didn't have any of the monster games he used to have early in his career (had just three 100+ receiving yard games in 2010), but he did show more consistency this year than in his previous ones. In 2010, Moss was able to put together a longer stretch of solid efforts, rather than having the occasional huge game followed up by one where he was virtually invisible.
In fact, Moss had 10 games this season where he had at least 70 yards receiving (as opposed to just four in '09) and 12 games where he had at least 56 yards receiving. Not too shabby for the 10th year pro out of Miami.
All in all, Kyle Shanahan’s vision for Moss went just as planned, as he led the team in receiving and set a new career high in receptions with 93.
So Should He Stay Or Should He Go?
This should be a relatively easy decision for the Redskins. Although Moss is getting older and may not be a true "No. 1" receiver anymore, he is still a productive NFL receiver that can get open with some relative consistency. Not only that, but adding more offensive playmakers will probably be among their vast needs this coming offseason, and keeping Moss would only help that cause as this offense continues to take shape.
A good number of the fan base want the Redskins to just adopt a "youth movement" on both sides of the ball, get rid of most of the players who are over 30 and just take some lumps for the next few years. While it’s true that the team should get younger, having capable veterans who can also be locker room leaders is an asset to any NFL team. Even looking at the two Super Bowl teams this year, you can see that it does help to have a veteran receiver in an otherwise young corps.The Packers have Donald Driver and the Steelers have Hines Ward, and Moss is more productive than both of them at this point in his career.
Getting younger shouldn't come at the cost of getting rid of guys who still have some juice left, know the system, and can still compete at a high level. Yes, Moss isn't what he used to be when he first came here in 2005, but what he is today is more than adequate for the Redskins. I think the front office realizes this (and know they don't have a ton of better options), and will make a strong effort to keep Santana Moss in D.C. for what hopefully is the rest of his NFL career.