The Washington Redskins signed Richard Rodgers to a one-year deal on Tuesday. Here’s what to know about the former Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles tight end.
The Washington Redskins eschewed adding a top-tier talent at tight end in free agency. This was perplexing to fans as the team is sorely lacking at the position in the wake of Jordan Reed‘s release and Vernon Davis‘ retirement. It wasn’t like those two guys were reliable anyway at the end of their respective careers — concussions sidelined both for massive chunks of last season — but still, losing both hurt the team.
Many figured the ‘Skins would target some of the top tight end talent on the open market. After all, the 2020 NFL Draft class is weak at the tight end position. So, they aren’t particularly likely to find a true starter at that position as the few that could be just that may be hard to get.
Instead, the team has elected to build up depth at the position and give themselves some options to test out. They signed Logan Thomas to a deal earlier in the offseason. And on Tuesday night, they added Richard Rodgers to the mix, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
Rodgers’ deal will be a one-year pact. And he should compete with Thomas and Jeremy Sprinkle in the Redskins tight end rotation.
Rodgers (6-foot-4, 257 pounds) was a former third-round pick by the Packers in the 2014 NFL Draft. He played his college ball at California and developed into a solid receiving option at the position for the Packers.
During his four years in Green Bay, Rodgers was a decent pass catcher. His best year came in 2015 when he played in 16 games, started a career-high 12, and caught 58 passes for 510 yards and eight touchdowns. All of those numbers were career-best marks for the tight end.
During that season, Rodgers also famously grabbed a ridiculous Hail Mary from his Packers teammate, Aaron Rodgers (no relation). You can check that out below courtesy of the NFL’s official YouTube channel.
Save for that year, Richard Rodgers has been little more than a solid backup. He has 30 catches or fewer and 271 yards or fewer in five of his six seasons. That includes his two-year stint with the Eagles which was marred by injuries; Rodgers played in only eight of 32 games during his time with the team.
Rodgers still has some upside. He turned 28 in January and if he can stay healthy and get playing time, he may still be a fine receiver. But both he and Thomas feel more like reclamation projects than true starters. They are both good potential adds on the cheap, but the team still lacks a No. 1 option at the position.
That said, it just doesn’t seem like the ‘Skins will have a true No. 1 this year at tight end. So if they’re going to go with a committee option at the position, it makes sense to bring in a guy like Rodgers to see if he has anything left in the tank. If not, they can part ways with him before the season starts.
This is the type of signing that has typified the Redskins offseason, so it shouldn’t be a surprise to watch them make another deal like this. Nor is it a bad one, as Rodgers at least does have a bit of potential even ahead of his seventh NFL season.