The Washington Redskins usually spend the NFL’s annual free agency period signing huge names that produce diminishing results. So far, they’ve bucked that trend in 2014, signing former Arizona Cardinals’ wide receiver Andre Roberts to a four- year contract. Roberts played in relative anonymity in Arizona, starting only two games for the Cardinals in 2013. He did catch 43 passes for 471 yards and two touchdowns for the Cardinals, that finished 2013 with a 10-6 record.
Roberts wasn’t brought to Washington to become the savior of the Redskins’ passing game. He will serve as a complimentary receiver for wide receiver Pierre Garcon, who led the NFL in receptions last season with 113. However, Roberts should become an asset in Washington’s passing game in 2014. Garcon is the only healthy, consistent wide receiver on the Redskins’ roster, which gives Roberts ample opportunity to show his mettle on the gridiron.
Roberts’ arrival makes wide receivers Josh Morgan and Aldrick Robinson expendable. Morgan was relegated to punt return status after he failed to provide efficiency as a receiver for quarterback Robert Griffin III in his two years in Washington. Robinson has blazing speed, but he lacks the consistency necessary to warrant increased playing time because of dropped passes.
Roberts possesses good speed, an attribute that no NFL team would shy away from. A 2010 third-round pick by the Cardinals, he ran a 4.36 forty yard dash. Roberts also served as a punt returner, returning 40 punts for 275 yards in his four years in Arizona. Considering the Redskins’ poor special teams play last season, Roberts’ talents returning punts could become very useful if the opportunity arises.
But make no mistake: the Redskins shouldn’t want that opportunity to be presented. Roberts didn’t come to Washington to field punts. He is expected to become Washington’s No. 2 receiver. There’s no reason why that shouldn’t happen. Although veteran wide receiver Santana Moss has resigned with Washington, he can’t be expected to figure prominently in the Redskins’ offense at age 35. In addition, wide receiver Leonard Hankerson will have to show he can return to action after suffering a left-knee injury that prematurely ended his 2013 season.
At age 26, Roberts is just entering the prime of his career. It will be interesting to see if he can become the complimentary receiver Washington needs to get back on track.