The Washington Redskins have re-signed free-agent tight end Fred Davis. The move keeps a valuable weapon of quarterback Robert Griffin III's passing attack in place.
ProFootballTalk.com reported that Davis will sign a one-year deal. It's a smart, short-term deal from the Redskins, given some of Davis's injury and disciplinary concerns.
However, when he's on the field, Davis is one of the best young players at his position in the NFL. He is a true playmaker head coach Mike Shanahan's passing schemes need.
What makes Davis an effective weapon are the hybrid skills he offers. He possesses wide receiver-like speed in a tight end's frame. Davis is in the mold of the modern 'joker' tight ends, capable of creating matchup problems all over the field.
Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is particularly adept at scheming ways to free Davis on deep crossing patterns. He is a natural target for Griffin's excellent play-action passes.
Griffin will need the outlet Davis offers, during his second season. He is currently recovering from the serious knee injury suffered in the NFC Wildcard playoffs against the Seattle Seahawks.
The Redskins may look to cut down how often the mobile Griffin takes off on the run next season. That will put more pressure on honing his skills as a pocket-passer.
Davis can play a key role in that process. His ability to stretch the seams and split zone coverage will provide Griffin with an underneath option, if his vertical receivers are covered.
The Redskins run a lot of deep patterns, but their underneath passing game still needs work. Davis can overpower safeties and slot corners and outpace linebackers on intermediate routes.
Before his injury, Davis had caught 24 of Griffin's passes for 325 yards, averaging 13.5 yards per reception. Without him, backups Logan Paulsen and Niles Paul combined for only 33 receptions for 460 yards and two scores. Neither offers the downfield dynamism Davis possesses.
Re-signing him to a low-risk deal is a smart move and maintains the strength of a Redskins offense that ranked fourth in scoring in 2012.