Thursday, May 5, 2016

Redskins Sign Key Offensive Weapon to Long-Term Extension

The Washington Redskins' offseason has quickly gone from the sound of crickets, to a sonic boom. First came the surprise signing of Josh Norman—now the highest paid cornerback in the league.

Less than a week later, the team selected a wide receiver in the first round of the NFL Draft. The consensus among football analysts and mock drafts everywhere was for Washington to address a position of need; specifically, defensive tackle. Their wide receiver depth is considered strong, with DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, and Jamison Crowder headlining the group. Not surprising, the 22nd overall pick received some backlash among fans, pondering why their team added another receiver—in the first round, that is.

Then, on Cinco de Mayo, the team generated more buzz with the signing of tight end Jordan Reed to a multi-year extension. Reed's deal is a whopping five-year, $50 million extension, which keeps the athletic 25-year-old in burgundy and gold through the 2021 season.

"Honestly, I don't want to be anywhere else than here," Reed said, per ESPN. "I love it here. I love playing for the Redskins. I love all my coaches and all my teammates. I love this area, man. They gave me that deal, and I took it. It was a solid deal, and I'm just happy to be a Redskin." Reed continued, "I'm going to show them that they made a good investment, and I'm going to prove them right in making me one of the highest-paid [tight ends]."

Firing on all cylinders with quarterback Kirk Cousins last season, Reed amassed 87 receptions for 952 yards and 11 touchdowns. Opposing defenses began realizing the 6 foot 3 game-changer was a matchup nightmare who could not be stopped.

Durability, though, has been a concern with Reed, having yet to play an entire season. He appeared in 14 games in 2015, but only 20 games combined his first two seasons. Concussions have plagued him since his college days at the University of Florida.

Overlooking past injuries, the Redskins' decision to lock down a player of his caliber was a no-brainer. In fact, head coach Jay Gruden believes his star tight end will get bigger and have more of an impact on the run game. "He can get a lot better, that's the scary part," Gruden said.

Reed's emergence last season easily solidified his name among the top five tight ends, and now he is certainly paid like one.