The Washington Redskins sought to solidify their receiving corps in 2008 when they selected wide receivers Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly, along with tight end Fred Davis in the second round of that year’s NFL draft. Thomas and Kelly had the size, speed, and pass catching ability to become stalwarts on the Redskins’ offense for years to come. Unfortunately, things didn’t turn out that way. Thomas and Kelly never lived up to expectations, leading to their respective exits out of Washington.
Davis enjoyed a solid collegiate career at the University of Southern California. However, he was selected by the Redskins to provide depth at tight end. Washington already had the popular and talented Chris Cooley starting at tight end. Nevertheless, Davis became the starter at tight end in 2011. That year, he recorded a career best 59 receptions for 796 yards in 12 starts before serving a four game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
Davis suffered a season ending Achilles injury early in the 2012 season. Unlike Thomas and Kelly, Davis has enjoyed a solid career in Washington. He has recorded 155 receptions for 1,973 yards and 12 touchdowns during his five seasons with the Redskins. Davis was starting to develop a good on field rapport with franchise quarterback Robert Griffin III before Davis’ Achilles injury. At 27 years old, Davis is in his prime, with a lot of good football left in him.
Buffalo Bills’ head coach Doug Marrone, along with other Bills’ officials, dined with Davis over the weekend in an effort to sign the free agent tight end. Despite their limited salary cap resources, the Redskins need to make every effort to resign Davis. Cooley’s role in the offense has diminished. Tight end Logan Paulsen proved to be capable as Davis’ replacement in 2012, but he’s not the long term answer at tight end. Neither is Niles Paul, who also contributes on special teams as a kick returner.
In addition, Davis provides pass receiving efficiency over the middle. That ability opens up the vertical passing game for Griffin III and his wide receivers. Factor in Davis’ desire to remain in Washington, and it becomes clear that retaining his services is paramount to the success of the Redskins’ offense. If Washington can somehow convince Davis to reject the Bills’ advances to stay in Washington, that would make the Redskins’ offense even more efficient.