The Washington Redskins and Jordan Reed have agreed on a five-year, $50 million contract extension. This is a solid signing, but it hinges upon Reed’s ability to stay healthy. There is no doubting Reed’s talent, but one can certainly question his durability.
The Redskins made Reed their third-round pick in 2013. He hit the ground running with 45 catches for 499 yards and three touchdowns in nine games. In 2014, he caught 50 passes for 465 yards in 11 games. Last season, he enjoyed a breakout year. In 14 games, he caught 87 passes on 114 targets for 952 yards and 11 touchdowns as he and Kirk Cousins developed an excellent rapport.
Nobody has ever doubted Reed’s talent. However, he has appeared in just 20 of 32 possible games in his first two seasons and 34 of 48 possible games in his career. He is a weapon in the Redskins’ offense when healthy and one of the best tight ends in the game. Last season, he averaged 2.45 yards per route run which was good enough to top all tight ends according to Pro Football Focus.
Most of Reed’s health issues center around concussions, so there is always a concern the next one could be his last. However, he is coming off of a career-best season and did play in 14 games. For the Redskins, though, the future doesn’t matter as much as the present. The Redskins made the playoffs for the first time since 2012 and just the fourth time since 2000 in 2015. They are entering 2016 as a contender, and they need Reed to be a big part of their NFC East title defense.
If Reed can stay healthy in 2016, the Redskins’ offense might be one of the best in football. They still feature Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson, Jamison Crowder and added rookie wide receiver Josh Doctson in the draft. Cousins should continue to exploit the mismatches Reed creates and keep the chains moving.