Redskins release New London's Jordan Reed
The Washington Redskins announced the release of tight end Jordan Reed on Thursday, ending his injury-plagued seven-year stint with the team that drafted him with a third-round pick in 2013.
Reed, the former New London High School star, dealt with injuries throughout his career, and suffered his seventh documented concussion in the third preseason game last season, causing him to miss the entire year. The release is the latest for a Redskins team making significant personnel changes under new Coach Ron Rivera after cornerback Josh Norman and wide receiver Paul Richardson were let go last week.
The 29-year-old Reed only played 19 games over the last three seasons due to a litany of injuries - including foot, toe and hamstring issues - but the concussions have put his career in danger. Reed was on the receiving end of a brutal helmet-to-helmet hit by Atlanta Falcons safety Keanu Neal in the third preseason game last August, and Rivera said last week that he remained in the concussion protocol nearly six months later. The team did not comment Thursday as to whether Reed had cleared the protocol.
The Redskins will save $8.5 million against the salary cap following the move, as Reed had two years left on a five-year, $46.75 million deal, according to the salary website Over The Cap. The team now has $61.3 million in cap space.
Reed's most productive season came in 2015, when he recorded 87 receptions for 952 yards and 11 touchdowns while playing in a career-high 14 games. He made the Pro Bowl in 2016 after posting 66 receptions for 686 yards and six touchdowns in 12 games.
The seven-year veteran seemed poised to have a successful 2019 season, as he looked healthy and active during training camp and the preseason. He spoke of feeling stronger than in years past, having had the benefit of training in the offseason instead of rehabbing injuries.
"I feel a lot different, man," Reed said during training camp. "I was able to train this whole three months leading up to camp. Before, I was trying to walk again and just getting out of the boot and things like that. I feel a lot better not dealing with as much pain, and I feel stronger."
Then came Washington's third preseason contest, when Reed saw his first game action of the year. According to Jay Gruden, who was then the team's head coach, Gruden had wanted Reed to have one pass thrown to him in a preseason game before shutting him down until the regular season. After Reed dropped the first ball thrown to him by quarterback Case Keenum, Gruden planned to remove him from the game, but Reed asked Gruden to let him catch one pass first. On the next attempt, Reed was hit by Neal, causing the concussion that would end his season and his time with the Redskins.The team will now need to address the tight end position.
In addition to Reed's departure, veteran Vernon Davis retired this offseason. Washington had shown interest in Rivera's longtime tight end with the Carolina Panthers, Greg Olsen, but Olsen ultimately signed with the Seahawks. The Redskins could look a sign a tight end in free agency, which begins March 18. Veteran tight ends who could be available include Austin Hooper (Falcons), Eric Ebron (Colts), Hunter Henry (Chargers) and Tyler Eifert (Bengals).
Rivera and the organization began reshaping the roster last week with the releases of Norman and Richardson. Both were major free-agent signings by the previous regime that weren't able to produce in line with their hefty paychecks. Veteran outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan is another possible cap casualty.
The Redskins drafted Reed with a third-round pick in 2013 and he caught 45 passes, ranking second on the team, for 499 yards in nine games as a rookie.
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