Washington Redskins‘ wide receiver Joshua Morgan seemed to have the perfect scenario laid out for him. Morgan, a Washington, D.C. native, signed a two-year, $11.5 million contract to play for the Redskins before the 2012 NFL season. He earned this payday after spending his first four years in the league with the San Francisco 49ers. Morgan was not signed to become the featured receiver in Washington. That distinction was reserved for another free agent acquisition, wide receiver Pierre Garcon.
However, Morgan is a solid veteran receiver who was supposed to provide stability as a starter opposite Garcon. Unfortunately, that currently isn’t the case. Morgan’s first season yielded 48 receptions for 510 yards and two touchdowns with the Redskins. That wasn’t the impact Washington expected when they signed Morgan to that big-money contract.
Things are even worse for Morgan in 2013. Wide receiver Leonard Hankerson has taken Morgan’s starting role. Hankerson is a younger, taller and faster wide receiver who seems more fitted for Washington’s occasional deep passing game than Morgan is. In addition, rookie tight end Jordan Reed has emerged as a viable target for quarterback Robert Griffin III. When the Redskins go to a three wide receiver set, Santana Moss and Aldrick Robinson are more likely to be involved in those sets than Morgan.
With Washington’s logjam at receiver, Morgan has been reduced to returning kicks. While there’s nothing shameful about that, Morgan wasn’t brought to Washington to return kicks. His $3.8 million salary dictates that he should be an efficient starter at wide receiver. Since that isn’t happening, Morgan needs to be efficient at returning kicks to justify his salary. Morgan has a four-yard average on punt returns, a 19-yard average on kickoff returns and no touchdowns. Those statistics dictate that Morgan hasn’t yet shown efficiency returning kicks, either.
Considering his diminished stock, Morgan could be on his way out of Washington. To increase his stock, Morgan will have to ignite some sort of spark returning kicks. If he does, the Redskins and Morgan will be able to embrace his new role. If not, Morgan’s exit from Washington could come sooner than expected.