Four months removed from surgery to repair a torn left Achilles tendon, Washington Redskins tight end Fred Davis could be headed for the free agency pool when the new league year starts on March 12. The biggest thing keeping him from receiving a new contract from D.C.: the team can’t gauge his recovery.
An Achilles injury typically takes about 6-8 months before the tendon is back to working order. With that in mind, Davis won’t be able to put the Redskins at ease until after free agency has begun. Unless they’re willing to take a shot in the dark, re-signing the unrestricted free agent before he hits the open market seems unlikely.
Even if he does enter free agency, there’s a good chance that Davis won’t garner much interest from any team until he can prove that his recovery was a success. Especially coming off a serious injury and having his 2011 season end by way of suspension, most teams aren’t going to be willing to invest money in a product that currently can’t perform.
Waiting also makes sense from Davis’ standpoint. If he waits until he’s back to 100 percent, Davis will come at a higher value, which will increase the amount of money he receives regardless of destination.
The only logical option at this point for the Redskins besides waiting is offering Davis an incentive-laden contract that is based largely on his 2013 production. By basing his salary off of whether or not he makes plays this upcoming season, the Redskins provide themselves a safety net while giving Davis an extra push to get back to the field as soon as possible.
As of right now, it appears to be a waiting game. If Davis does hit the open market when March 12 rolls around, though, don’t expect the five-year NFL veteran to go completely unnoticed.