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Need to Know: Should the Redskins trade WR Pierre Garçon?

Jan 27, 2015, 5:06 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, January 27, 42 days before NFL free agency starts for the Washington Redskins and the rest of the NFL.

Question of the day

We’re changing up the format of Need to Know for the offseason. Every day I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question submitted by a fan on my Twitter feed, via the Real Redskins Facebook page, or in the comments section here. On Twitter address the questions to me at @Rich_TandlerCSN with the #NTK hashtag. There will be a comment thread set up on the Facebook page and if you’re asking your question here, put “for NTK” at the start of the comment.

This morning’s question is from the Real Redskins Facebook page:


We ran the numbers on Pierre Garçon’s contract a week ago. He has a $9.7 million cap number this year, his age 29 season. If the Redskins trade him, they would save $5.3 million against the cap after a $4.4 million dead cap charge. Should they keep him they would be looking at a 2016 cap charge of $10.2 million in the final year of his deal.

His numbers dropped considerably from his record-setting 2013 season (113 receptions/1,346 yards/5 TD) to 2014 (68/752/3). It’s probably safe to say that the dropoff was due more to the game of musical chairs played by three different Redskins quarterbacks this year and the addition of DeSean Jackson than it was to Garçon doing things differently than he did them in 2013.

What would the on-field effect of Garçon being gone be? Jackson would move up to be the clear No. 1 receiver (if he wasn’t already), Andre Roberts would move out of the slot and become the No. 2 receiver. Perhaps they would go with Ryan Grant as the third receiver, splitting him out wide and putting Roberts in the slot. Or maybe the No. 3 would be a free agent they signed with some of the money saved with Garçon gone or a player drafted with the pick acquired in a Garçon trade. I’d guess that would be about a third-round pick. The player himself might be worth more than that but teams don’t just trade for a player, they also trade for the contract. And with those cap numbers, a team will only give up so much.

I think there are good cases to be made both for keeping Garçon and trading him. The Redskins aren’t going to be competing for Super Bowls or even division titles over the next two years. The $15 million in cap space they would save by trading Garçon could carry over and go towards resigning the likes of Ryan Kerrigan and Trent Williams. Why not deal Garçon to a team that believes it is close to contending for a Super Bowl and get money and a draft pick to build your future?

On the other hand, the Redskins also will need a quarterback if they are going to make annual playoff runs. It just might be worth the investment to keep Garçon on board to help with the development of Robert Griffin III (or whoever is taking snaps) and to perhaps make the team more watchable while the rebuilding is going on.

If forced to choose, I’d go with keeping Garçon but I’d find it hard to rip the team if they get reasonable return in a trade for him.


—It’s been 30 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 229 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL Combine 23; NFL free agency starts 42; 2015 NFL Draft 93

If you have any questions about what’s going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I’m always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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In case you missed it

  1. elfstone8402 - Jan 27, 2015 at 5:32 AM

    Sure. Play one of the few warriors on the team…..Keep Twitter-man RG3 who has devolved into a chicken. And trade Garcon. Need to dump RG3, McVay, and probably one Jay Gruden, who hires only his former teammates…what a relief for the Bengals that he’s gone…..

  2. royosborne66 - Jan 27, 2015 at 6:46 AM

    Although he has contributed alot to the skins, its time we have to go with others. We need the salary hit to upgrade elsewhere

  3. mr.moneylover19 - Jan 27, 2015 at 6:49 AM

    P.garcon NO andre roberts YES THEY SHOULD

  4. sidepull - Jan 27, 2015 at 7:03 AM

    Garcon has heart and he fights for every yard. He is a great player or the Redskins. I think they need to send other WR packing before Garcon. He was a great addition when we got him and when Desean gets hurt he can still carry the load a number one is expected to. Sure his numbers are down and that is a concern but I think that is due to poor QB play and not all on him.

    • James Bridges - Jan 27, 2015 at 9:20 PM

      I totally agree with you because Roberts hasn’t shown us anything at all, and God forbid if Djax gets hurt are we looking to put our trust in the hands of Roberts and a rookie. I say we keep Garcon.

  5. MC12 - Jan 27, 2015 at 7:44 AM

    It would really depend on what you get in return. You have a physical receiver who keeps his nose clean of the field and works hard. For a second rounder, I would do the trade and maybe for a third rounder. Anything less would be a no go for me.

  6. babyteal1 - Jan 27, 2015 at 7:47 AM

    Keep Garcon and sign him to a new deal…Andre Roberts is no # 2…put Ryan Grant in the slot.

    • Rich Tandler - Jan 27, 2015 at 7:50 AM

      But why would Garçon agree to a new deal that pays him less money?

      > > >

      • Joe Greene - Jan 27, 2015 at 5:58 PM

        Longer term with more guaranteed money, but a lower cap hit, is the obvious move.

        • Rich Tandler - Jan 27, 2015 at 6:07 PM

          You’re really going to guarantee more money in a contract extension of a deal two years to go with a receiver who will be going into his age 31 season when the new deal kicks in? That’s a sure path to cap hell.

          Either keep him and let him play out his deal or trade him. The immediate cap hit is not the big problem. It’s the expenditure of top WR money on a good but not great player. You can stretch it out but when the salary is paid it’s paid.

  7. nomaan78 - Jan 27, 2015 at 7:49 AM

    Sure if you could sign Demaryius Thomas, or Dez Bryant this offseason. SMH. SAVE MONEY ELSEWHERE!!! Keep Garcon and DeSean. Once RG3 has some protection atleast he will have some capable weapons. Bruce Allen will make it work financially.

  8. mac7163 - Jan 27, 2015 at 8:48 AM

    Ask him to renegotiate him contract if possible . Please don’t hurt the best unit we have on the team . They are a solid Corp and with better qb play they would be dangerous.

    • mac7163 - Jan 27, 2015 at 8:55 AM

      His contract.

  9. VK - Jan 27, 2015 at 8:57 AM

    Same old Skins… lets take a position of clear strength and weaken it? Huh? Send a sure player for a draft pick where you “might” get a good player? No…just No. You build a team with performers and solid lines. Fix the line and sevondary w FA and Draft.

    • Rich Tandler - Jan 27, 2015 at 9:05 AM

      Not saying that you’re wrong but the point here is that by freeing up ~$15 million in cap space over two years and getting a mid-round draft pick in return you would improve the assets you would have to improve the lines. By the time the lines are up to snuff, Garçon will be long gone anyway.

      > > >

      • rlundy1123 - Jan 27, 2015 at 9:29 AM

        Rich, I get your point, and if they get an offer they can’t refuse, then it would make good sense to pull the trigger. That said, if they really want RG3 to become anything close to a pocket passer, then they really need to surround him with some good WR’s now to help develop that, even if the O-line is not what it should be.

  10. vtsquirm - Jan 27, 2015 at 9:09 AM

    The only way they should consider trading Garcon is if its for a #1 or high #2 pick. He’s too valuable on the field and in the locker room. Why trade a high character, highly productive player for loose change and a bag of corn nuts? Keep him!

    • redskinsinrichmondva - Jan 27, 2015 at 10:59 AM

      Because that loose change and bag of corn nuts can go towards acquiring talent at more valubale positions than WR (offensive line, defensive line). WR is also a position that is relatively easy to fill with talent from the draft.

      There’s also the issue that Garcon is being paid like one of the better receivers in the league, even though his production doesn’t match (he’s near the bottom of the league in Football Outsiders DVOA/DVAR metrocs for WR). With D-Jax being the primary target on the offense, Garcon’s talents are being wasted on this roster.

  11. bowlregard - Jan 27, 2015 at 9:28 AM

    I want to keep him because I like watching him play.

  12. goback2rfk - Jan 27, 2015 at 11:27 AM

    I want to get one of those tall receivers like a K. Benjamin or a Evans. They will be able to catch those over thrown balls from Rg3 better

  13. Ken - Jan 27, 2015 at 11:40 AM

    I’m surprised you said the Skins won’t be able to compete for the division for a couple of years. Add a legitimate FS , put Gregory opposite Kerrigan and get the O line to at least a mediocre level and get RG on the right track you have a contender. I’d rather save $ by cutting dead weight like Porter, Chester and Lavuaro.

    • Joe Greene - Jan 27, 2015 at 5:59 PM

      Bob on the right track? That’s going to take a decade at least.

  14. kenlinkins - Jan 27, 2015 at 11:44 AM

    Garcon (WR) and Williams (OT) have the two highest Cap numbers for 2015 but Williams is only 26 while Garcon is 29 and on his second contract. Trying to rework a deal for Garcon that would include the $4.4 million that he gets no matter what PLUS the $15 million if he makes the team would cause BIG Cap concerns later. If you are going to trade Garcon, this is the year to do it as he still has value to other teams (Like Cleveland who just lost their #1 WR for all of 2015) and he is not priced so high or so long that another team would have to lower their offer to account for the money. Cleveland has Two number 1 picks, Two 4th round and Two 6th round picks, so they could package a deal if the Redskins are willing (but I am sure that Cleveland would not give up a first or second round pick for 29 year old Garcon). I could see the Browns offering 3rd round pick at best. So the question is: Would you trade Garcon for a 3rd round pick and saving $5.3 million in 2015, and $10.2 million that could be used to keep T. Williams and Morris for years to come? Well, after seeing the results of the last few 3rd round picks (Long, Moses, LiRibues, Redd, Harkerson and Barnes) I would say keep Garcon!

    • manchild157 - Jan 27, 2015 at 12:55 PM

      Our new GM’s strength comes from finding late round talent Ken. So I would trade for a 3rd round.

    • Joe Greene - Jan 27, 2015 at 6:00 PM

      Garcon is healthy while Williams is banged up more and more every year, is committing more penalties every year, and is paid like an elite LT while he’s really only a good one.

  15. mrperry757 - Jan 27, 2015 at 11:53 AM

    I say yes free that Money up we got Andre Roberts and Jackson under contracts we have young receiver in Ryan Grant we can resign Lenard Hankerson for cheap and have money to address other glaring needs

  16. abanig - Jan 27, 2015 at 12:00 PM

    I’d restructure and extend Garcon, same with Cofield. Lowering their cap numbers for this year and next year. Garçon and Cofield can still play at a high level. Garçon just needs consistent Qb play and although I don’t think Cofield can still be a starting NT anymore, he Cofield can be a valuable reserve who can play DE & NT as the 4th or 5th lineman.

    I’d also extend Trent Williams and Ryan Kerrigan. If they can extend all four players, they’re looking at possibly as much as $10 million in savings.

    Add on to that the cuts of Bowen, Chester, Golston, Paulsen and Porter and that’s another $15 million in savings.

    That gets the Redskins 15 + 10 + 15 = 40 million in cap space or around it for be 2015 offseason.

    McCloughan could work some magic with that, signing a few young free agents coming off their first contract for the offense and a few for the defense.

    I’m thinking one OL, one TE, two DL, one CB and one FS. The OL will replace Compete with Compton, and Moses at RT. The TE will be our #2 and blocking TE behind Reed. The DL will replace Bowen and Golston. The CB will replace Porter/Biggers and the FS will replace Clark.

    Re-sign Ihenacho to compete with Akeem Davis and Phillip Thomas at FS. Re-sign Polumbus to compete for a back up spot as the utility OL – remember, Polumbus can play OG as well as paying OT. Then, re-sign Roy Helu, Jarvis Jenkins, Niles Paul and Leonard Hankerson to compete for spots on the roster.

    Helu was good as a receiver out of the backfield but needs to work really hard on improving as a blocker. Jenkins can be a back up OL like Cofield as the 4th or 5th DL who can play DE and NT. Hankerson can be our 4th or 5th WR but really, he’ll be brought back as competion for one of the last spots, doesn’t mean he’s going to get it. I do like Grant better than him, and Grant plays special teams as well. Niles Paul can be our 3rd TE and play some WR as well but primarily be a special teams guy.

    • Rich Tandler - Jan 27, 2015 at 12:26 PM

      Extending high-priced players who will be in their 30’s when the added years kick is just horrible cap management. Their current high cap $ will have to go somewhere and they will get pushed into later years, making for an ugly cap hit when it’s time for them to go. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t see McCloughan operating out of the Vinny Cerrato-Jerry Jones school of cap management.

      > > >

  17. YOKi - Jan 27, 2015 at 12:00 PM

    i would not trade Garcon… the chemistry and veteran role would be missed… if teams focused solely on DJ, i am not sure he can handle that. futhermore, i am not sure Andre Roberts has shown he can handle a supporting role as i feel he doean’t quit make the a reasonable amount of catches.

    even if we know our franchise is not SB grade, we shouldn’t be taking away from what is working and guess at what benefits we can reap… because guessing is not really our strong point.

    time and time again, we talk about producing and keeping talent… to trade Garcon away would show how cold we are and how easy we would flip on a player that has proven himself in the past.

    garcon’s numbers did not drop because he was less productive… and we know this.

    • Rich Tandler - Jan 27, 2015 at 12:29 PM

      The draft pick obtained as compensation would be a guess. The $15 million in cap room saved by letting Garçon go would be a cold, hard fact.

      > > >

    • redskinsinrichmondva - Jan 27, 2015 at 1:08 PM

      “time and time again, we talk about producing and keeping talent… to trade Garcon away would show how cold we are and how easy we would flip on a player that has proven himself in the past.”

      I agree with this in general. But in this case, the issue is that Garcon is being paid like an upper-tierish WR and his talent is not being utilized properly. Adding D-Jax to the team can do that.

      It’s similar to how teams are assembled basketball. You can’t simply add talent to a team; the talent also has to fit.

    • samhuff96 - Jan 28, 2015 at 11:35 AM

      Football is a brutal game off and on the field, but mostly off. Not getting rid of a player when it’s time for him to go is a disservice to the people who make the team (Not to mention the player who would take the spot.) and to the fans.

  18. deshackle - Jan 27, 2015 at 12:32 PM

    Garcon is under utilized, and goes beast mode every time he gets his hands on the ball. I think he could play safety from a physicality standpoint.

    Use Garcon in the Joe Gibbs hybrid H-Back role.

  19. murphsman - Jan 27, 2015 at 1:09 PM

    Our best option is restructure. Like you Rich, I would not be opposed either way if we’re smart about replacing him, which I think Scot M. will be. DJax is the same age as Garcon, so he can help RG3’s development. That was an interesting point about Cleveland needing help after losing Gordon again. He’s turning into Fred Davis 2.0 lol

    • Rich Tandler - Jan 27, 2015 at 1:30 PM

      Restructure is not an option, no matter what sense of it you’re talking about. He’s not going to take a pay cut; I’d tell the Redskins to go out ahead and cut me and then rake in a new three-year deal as a free agent. And restructuring to lower his cap hit this year would make it explode in 2016.

      They either have to keep him on his current deal or let him go via trade or release.

      > > >

      • murphsman - Jan 27, 2015 at 5:40 PM

        I didn’t realize restructuring wasn’t an option. If that’s the case, then let him go and spend the money elsewhere to build for the future. DJax is a good enough replacement.

  20. manchild157 - Jan 27, 2015 at 1:09 PM

    McCloughan’s whole strategy is based on drafting and training them to be Redskins. I think we are going to be shocked and some relieved when he starts releasing older players to pick up late round players. We need draft picks so best thing we can do is watch as the plan unfurls.

  21. murphsman - Jan 27, 2015 at 1:19 PM

    I see about not being SB contenders Rich, but you don’t think we’re gonna compete for the division title in the next two years Rich? You really the other teams in the division are that superior to us? Foles is about as good as RG3-great rookie year, so-so second year that ended in injury. Sanchez is average. Romo and Eli are pretty good, but older with unproven backups. I’d say the division is as up for grabs as always. Not because Washington is gonna be that much better this year, but because the whole division is mediocre at best.

    • Rich Tandler - Jan 27, 2015 at 1:26 PM

      I could concede that they might be able to compete to struggle to the top of a decidedly mediocre division during the term of Garçon’s contract. But even if they did they would be one and done and then competing for the cellar in the division the next season.

      You have to make some hard choices to get from where the Redskins are to where they want to be. Figuring out whether you should keep an expensive, productive player who is likely to be gone when you get good is one of those tough decisions that may hurt in the short term but help in the long term.

      > > >

  22. oaklandred - Jan 27, 2015 at 1:19 PM

    Pierre Garçon is a core Redskin, given the spirit and ability he always shows, and I would not trade a core Redskin in his prime in all likelihood. If that is how you build a team, you will get players who have the same attitude toward playing here. Roberts is someone who should probably be released, and is not even a third receiver on this team next year I would think. The team cannot go forward with Griffin at QB, he doesn’t have it and the passing game will not function adequately with him in there.

  23. bangkokben - Jan 27, 2015 at 2:19 PM

    One of main argument for those who advocate trading Garcon, appears to be the “reality” that the Redskins are two years away from competing. Especially considering the obvious shift in philosophy of building the team through the draft which takes time. This belief that the ‘skins can’t improve quickly does not consider the fluidity of the NFL and although the roster is important, one of most influential factors on a team’s record is its schedule.

    Since, the addition of the 32nd team, each division has a rotational schedule playing each NFC division every three years and every AFC division every four years. This greatly affects the playoffs some years. Look at this past year when the AFC North ended with both AFC wild cards. Three teams with double digit wins. Then look at who they played and you see the field was slanted in the AFC North’s favor. They played the AFC South and the NFC South – arguably the two worst divisions in football. More often then not divisions don’t get the double whammy of playing two tough division or two sorry divisions. Our division has been less than stellar for years and suddenly, we have two team with double digit wins? Not surprisingly the NFC East also played the AFC South where we won two of our games.

    Our ‘skins also made a two game improvement in the division; 2013 0-6 to 2-4 in 2014. So considering our 2015 schedule – only six games against teams with winning records – with improvement from the quarterback position and another two game improvement against the division, we could be competing next season despite being in a rebuild.

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  24. scott - Jan 27, 2015 at 6:18 PM

    Just a ridiculous idea …DO NOT Trade garcon..

  25. ajbus1 - Jan 27, 2015 at 6:34 PM

    As much as I love Garcon and as great of a guy as he seems to be, I’m all for acquiring more assets. We are in the beginning of a rebuild. Cap space and draft picks are extremely valuable to us. Besides, if things workout for McCloughan, Garcon will be past his prime by the time this team shapes up.

  26. Rick - Jan 27, 2015 at 9:57 PM

    Con: you lose Garçon.

  27. curtgowdy22 - Jan 28, 2015 at 11:33 AM

    No they should keep him an tana. Spread the field . These guys compliment each other. Jackson is burner,garcon intermediate and t ana in the slot.roberts on the other side to stretch the field with tight end sitting down in the middle Archives

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