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Need to Know: Will Morris sign a second contract with the Redskins?

Jan 31, 2015, 5:52 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, January 31, 18 days before the Washington Redskins and the rest of the NFL assemble in Indianapolis for the NFL Combine.

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.

Today’s question is from Twitter:

What you have heard about Redd jibes with what I was hearing around Redskins Park towards the end of the season. They like the way he plays and he’s almost certain to find an expanded role available to him in 2015.

But does a bigger role for Redd mean a diminished role for Morris, perhaps to the point where Morris will be allowed to walk without much of a fight when his contract is up after the season? That’s quite a leap. Just because Redd might play more doesn’t mean that Morris will necessarily play less.

Roy Helu, who played 382 snaps and touched the ball 82 times (40 rushing attempts, 42 receptions) in 2014, is an unrestricted free agent who could well end up signing elsewhere. Those snaps and touches seem to be the ones that will be up for grabs for Redd to earn during OTAs and training camp.

Still, there is no guarantee that Morris will sign a second contract with the Redskins. If his production continues to slide as it has since his stellar rookie season, the team might want to move on. Even if he plays well the Redskins might not want to break the bank for a running back, a position that has proven to be fungible. Look at the negotiations between DeMarco Murray and the Cowboys now if you want a glimpse of what that future looks like.

From his end, Morris might want to seek greener pastures elsewhere if he believes he could be more successful, both on the field and financially, playing somewhere else.

The Morris contract situation is likely to stay on hold until after the 2015 season. There doesn’t seem to be any push now to get one done even though he is eligible for a new deal since he has been in the league for three years now. It looks like he will play out the season at his veteran minimum salary of $660,000 and then they will take it from there.

And, who knows? Redd might show that he can be a No. 1 back, greasing the skids for a Morris exit. But for right now I don’t think that Redd supplanting Morris is something that the organization is planning for or hoping will happen.


—It’s been 34 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 225 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL Combine 18; NFL free agency starts 38; 2015 NFL Draft 89

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. bowlregard - Jan 31, 2015 at 7:42 AM

    The decline in Morris’ production has seemingly everything to do with circumstance. In his rookie year he was feeding off the read option when RG was healthy. The fact he continued to be productive with RG banged up or not playing, and with this suspect OL would indicate that an improved line could be exploited by Albert. The league is acting like RBs are a dime a dozen, but there is a danger of under appreciating them.

  2. deepball1 - Jan 31, 2015 at 8:25 AM

    there is no way for me to answer a question like this. I have no access to Gruden. I don’t get to meet with him and ask him questions like you do Rich. I don’t know what he is thinking about an offensive scheme. I don’t know if Griffin or Cousins can develop into a pure passing QB capable of doing what Tom Brady does.

    Maybe Griffin gets good behind a better offensive line. Maybe Scott M drafts the next Jerry Rice. Maybe Morris looks done after this season and the Redskins become pass happy. Man……if I could answer this question I would be frikken Nostradamus.

    • Rich Tandler - Jan 31, 2015 at 9:35 AM

      Gruden has always been very supportive of Morris. Not just through his words but through the fact that Alfred got the vast majority of the carries. But it’s not completely up to Gruden.

      > > >

      • gasngo14 - Jan 31, 2015 at 9:55 AM

        ALF got the vast majority of the carries because he has been our best RB period!

    • ajbus1 - Jan 31, 2015 at 3:45 PM

      No one’s asking you to predict the future. Got an opinion? I think Morris will be the lead back for quite awhile.

  3. Clarence Green - Jan 31, 2015 at 8:55 AM

    Morris is a good back and the skins want to let him get away for a back that have not done anything, but they have Qb that stays hurt had one good season And they are ready to get rid of the best back we have in years.

    • Rich Tandler - Jan 31, 2015 at 9:13 AM

      Nothing here says that the Redskins are planning to get rid of Morris. i was asked to speculate and I did so.

  4. papastace - Jan 31, 2015 at 9:15 AM

    The Skinz should be in rebuild mode focusing on offensive and defensive line domination. One goal should be balance on the offensive side of the ball. I’d like to see Alfred back after the 2015 season believing he still has what it takes to be a top notch RB behind an improved offensive line. This guy shows great character and probably it probably won’t take breaking the bank to sign him after 2015 if he’s productive.

  5. skinsgame - Jan 31, 2015 at 9:26 AM

    I’d love to see Morris be with the team through his whole career. He’s a character guy that I enjoy. Humble, quiet, strong, durable. I don’t think he’s ever been injured enough to miss a game. That’s amazing. It can’t hurt to have players like that in the locker room. But the reality is, he’s a fumbler. And the position he plays calls for a 6 year career, typically. I can see him getting a 4 year deal and playing 2 of those.

  6. hk2000 - Jan 31, 2015 at 9:39 AM

    “fungible” Thanks, I learned a new word today. It’ll all depend on what the team does with the coach, if he stays, it won’t matter– no RB will ever reach his potential under this coach! No QB either, so Morris may not want to stay, same with RGIII, who I’m sure would love to be somewhere else. I will keep saying it every chance I get, this coach is clueless.

  7. dirtyrottenscoundrels - Jan 31, 2015 at 10:10 AM

    I think Morris and Redd would be a “thunder and lightning” variant for the Skins.

    Morris to grind ’em down and make them work hard to stop him and his never give up attitude and Redd to change the pace and pop some big runs in the second half of games.

    I have never been sold on Helu since a large portion of his runs are one hit and he goes down. Redd has better speed, though his receiving ability might be in question – which we can work on in the offseason. Morris is a better receiver than people think too.

    Power running requires speed to squirt through holes quickly in the line and make moves to juke LBs and DBs OR it requires someone like Morris who can make one cut and get to the second level and make LBs and DBs wish they hadn’t met him as he continues to push through them for YAC.

    Could be quite the effective team in the backfield.

    • skinsgame - Jan 31, 2015 at 11:29 AM

      Morris routinely drops short passes. He’s not a good receiver at all.

      • dirtyrottenscoundrels - Jan 31, 2015 at 12:51 PM

        Funny – he catches them in the pro bowl. I seem to remember him making a few catches last year in space.

        17 catches, 155 yds and 9.1 yd avg – couldn’t spot how many targets.

        • dirtyrottenscoundrels - Jan 31, 2015 at 12:53 PM

          oh – he was targeted 26 times.

          Seems he caught better than the 50% rate Moss did in 2013.

          Practice makes perfect.

        • goskins44 - Jan 31, 2015 at 3:01 PM

          It’s interesting how perception and reality can be different. Here are the actual drops for WR in 2014:

          AM – 6 of 25 targets 17 rec
          Santana Moss – 1 drop in 15 targets 10 rec – where did 50% drop rate come from? Even if you assume all targets not caught were drops it’s only 33%.
          Silas Redd 0 drops in 10 targets 8 rec – someone said he has trouble catching the ball? Seems he just needs more targets.
          Pierre Garcon – 0 drops in 105 targets – 68 recs.

          Here is the link for the data:

          The one reality is AM does have a drop problem with passes. But I think can be coached. This idea if him and Redd being together is great. I think the thing AM needs to work on more than catching passes is understanding his blocking assignments. You could really mix up the downs he and Redd play. Ds know what we plan to do based on personnel most of the time. That has to stop.

          I would be surprised if they let him go. He will not look for a huge blockbuster deal. He likes the team and the area from what I hear. I think he will be Redskin for a long time.

  8. John Gayle - Jan 31, 2015 at 10:28 AM

    With the way the Nationals stuctured the contract of Max Scherzer keeping them under the “luxury tax” threshold while also allowing them the flexibility financially to sign players, do you see the Redskins or other NFL teams to follow suit if it is legal under NFL rules?

    • Rich Tandler - Jan 31, 2015 at 10:31 AM

      No cap in baseball makes a huge difference. Sure could spread out 7 years worth of salary over 14 years. But would take massive cap hit if player retires or is cut after seven years. That’s not a worry in baseball.

    • murphsman - Jan 31, 2015 at 12:22 PM

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but I would imagine baseball careers are longer anyways, right? Never been a big baseball fan, so I don’t know

  9. mr.moneylover - Jan 31, 2015 at 11:20 AM

    The disappointing part that jay gruden dont like is that alfred morris dont know how to pick up blitz and struggle in pass protection and thats when he will put in chris Thompson or silas redd in the game…I think they should trade him before they let him walk for free and get nothing for him….its alot of teams looking for a running back…one thing chris Thompson does well is pick up blitz and he laid out a linebacker in pass protection but his injury history doesnt do him good…alot of players going to be gone this year some might surprise us but its only to better the team

    • bangkokben - Jan 31, 2015 at 11:53 AM

      Neither back you mentioned were better in pass protection. If they were, they’d have more snaps. Even after Redd’s “breakout” in garbage time against Jacksonville, he rarely saw the field after that.

  10. Raymond Martinez - Jan 31, 2015 at 11:21 AM

    Grudens lack of a running game will cost him his job.good riddance. I hope hope morris is still here after.

  11. mr.moneylover - Jan 31, 2015 at 11:27 AM

    The read option made alfred Morris and rg3 without that they aint nothing and we seen that last year…jay gruden offense has no read option they might use it sometimes but rg3 is to slow to run that now…he said he came back to early on his ankle injury but I dont think he realize hes not fast nomore like he was to hit that conner and run up field

  12. Cfnielsen - Jan 31, 2015 at 11:38 AM

    Letting Alfred go or replacing him with Redd will be the last straw for this fan. Alfred is a special player who will find a place in this league and he is currently my favorite Redskin. Has the power to carry this team despite it’s qb troubles if Gruden would just allow him more carries before games got out of hand. Gruden doesn’t know how to use him because he doesn’t like running the ball with consistency. HTTR

  13. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Jan 31, 2015 at 11:49 AM

    Did Morris decline last season, or were lousy O.L. and QB play the problem?

    • bangkokben - Jan 31, 2015 at 11:54 AM

      You forgot to mention lack of commitment to the run.

      • dirtyrottenscoundrels - Jan 31, 2015 at 12:55 PM

        You also forget that the commitment was based on the fact we got in the hole score wise way too quickly, thus leading to having to pass more.

        I bet Gruden wasn’t that high compared to other teams and was in the top 10-11 running on first down.

        “Lack of commitment”…. LOL

        • bangkokben - Jan 31, 2015 at 1:21 PM

          There were a number of times when we lost yards on first down in the run game and then there were times when the running game was clicking and we came out throwing – three and out. How many times did we run on 2nd down or 3rd down when it wasn’t 3rd and forever?. At the end of the year, we were totally predictable (having no trust in the QB) that it was guaranteed that we would run on 1st down. That is not the same as when having leads at Philly and Minnesota and coming out throwing. And since when has a team being down by seven or ten in the 1st half does it require you to throw?

        • Joe Greene - Feb 2, 2015 at 8:29 AM

          You also forget that we completely abandoned the run in games that were within 10 points in the first half. Gruden has an Arena League mentality towards throwing on every down and in every score situation.

  14. bangkokben - Jan 31, 2015 at 12:06 PM

    To each of you who are hating on the coach and wishing for his failure: Child please!

    How do you call yourselves ‘skins fans? His success would be success for our team and would stop the cycle of rebuilding for the next regime. Like him or not, if you want to see our team sustain success and arise out of the ashes of failure and mediocrity you better hope that despite your b!tching and complaining he gets the job done.

    I hope he gets at least four years like the predecessor who despite his resume led our team to three last place seasons. I for one do not want to see the carousel of rebuilding/drafting for the next coach’s system.

    He had his first year and I want to see improvement in his play calling, game management and offensive development and if those things don’t improve and we are 6-10 or worse; it may be time for a change. However if those do improve and the problem is the talent on the field, he stays.

    • Stephfan - Jan 31, 2015 at 8:22 PM

      I agree with everything you are saying

  15. murphsman - Jan 31, 2015 at 12:17 PM

    What does fungible mean?

    • hk2000 - Jan 31, 2015 at 1:53 PM

      Interchangeable, flexible.

    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Jan 31, 2015 at 7:26 PM

      It’s like when you have some morels but you really want chanterelles.

      You can go to the fungus exchange and swap them at the going rate.

      They’re fungible.

  16. goback2rfk - Jan 31, 2015 at 4:09 PM

    Running backs are a dime a dozen. For the most part they are the shortest lived and most changing positions in the NFL. I like explosive fast backs that are capable of busting a big one every now and the. That is not A. Mo’s style and for that I am going to say not to resign Morris.. I think Morris will do even better all around in a place like NY Jets or Bucs. Even though he has been spectacular for the skins, i think he could be top 5 in the league under a different scheme like s Seahawks style offense…

    Get out while you still have the chance A. Mo… The Skins arent going anywhere fast

  17. sidepull - Jan 31, 2015 at 4:59 PM

    Don’t get rid of Morris. High character guy that can stay healthy, something RG3 has failed to do. They both have had to deal with the poor O line play and watch the linemen get pushed back or block he wrong defender. Morris doesn’t miss games. He needs to stay in DC. He is one of our best players. The coach did get away from the run too early a few times tis year. That was one of the knocks on him when he was with the Bengals, pass happy to a fault.

  18. polofourme - Jan 31, 2015 at 6:18 PM

    Great RBs are not a dime a dozen…they have run Morris into the ground and yet this guy has not missed one single snap in his years here. He has given up his body for this team and now they might dump him. They owe Morris big time and now just when he is eligible to make some money they let him walk. They underpaid him for years….he was not only great on the field but a great Redskins off the field. Just makes me sick. So this is the Redskins way, I am really getting fed up with team. They pay a bum like Hatcher, $10M and pay Morris less than $700K,,,,,you tell me, who earned their pay and who didn’t. This team better take care of Morris…he has earned every penny of it..more than most of the guys on this team.

    • goback2rfk - Jan 31, 2015 at 7:38 PM

      I totally agree with you that the skins owe Morris and he did a lot for the Skins over the years but this is still a business. He signed a contract back then for limited money and that is life. I think he deserves a big pay day but maybe not from the Skins. He would be a perfect fit for a lot other of teams and he can sign big year deals with someone else.

      If we are going with RG3 we are going to need a RB that can catch passes out of the back field and become more dynamic in the offense. Downhill running and read option running strictly makes the offense one dimensional. We need what the NFL calls a “all purpose back” to get in there and make the defense guess a little bit instead of always teeing up on Morris on the early downs.

      • bangkokben - Jan 31, 2015 at 7:57 PM

        I thought I read on Keim’s ESPN blog before the Pro Bowl that Morris earned a raise by being drafted where he was and playing in a significant percentage of the plays – the details escape me but it made his 2015 salary between $1.5-$1.6M. The days of running backs getting paid for their production is over – unfortunately for them.

        • ajbus1 - Feb 1, 2015 at 1:59 AM

          Yes, he earned a raise based on playing time. He deserves a new contract as well.

    • timwillhidetimwillhide - Jan 31, 2015 at 9:44 PM

      Morris was Drafted in the later rounds and is still on his rookie contract. That is how the CBA is set up so Veterans get paid on their second contract if they deserve it and not get over paid coming into the leauge before they do anything

    • ajbus1 - Feb 1, 2015 at 1:59 AM

      You’ve never been more right polo.

    • redskinsinrichmondva - Feb 1, 2015 at 2:07 AM

      “He has given up his body for this team and now they might dump him. They owe Morris big time and now just when he is eligible to make some money they let him walk.”

      Funny…one could write the exact same thing about Griffin. After all, how many division titles did the team win in the decade or so before he was drafted?

      Hey, I think Morris should be resigned, too. But if you and some others flip on Griffin so easily — despite the success that he brought to the team when it stunk — why should Morris be any more exempt from being released from the roster? His production is less valuable, and, like Griffin, his production has dropped off from the 2012 season. From Football Outsiders:

      Year DVAR RB rank DYOA RB rank
      2012 5th 8th
      2013 13th 21st
      2014 17th 23rd

      Morris’s run success rate has also dropped off: he was in the mid-20s (out of 40 qualifying RBs) in 2012 and 2013, but in 2014 he was 35th. In 2014, he also had the 4th-worst run success rate among RBs with at least 100 carries. If he’s a great RB, he hasn’t produced like one in 2013 or 2014. Now, like Griffin, I think that the team around Morris (both roster and coaching-wise) hasn’t helped. But you can’t post about Morris as if his production doesn’t have question marks.

      • fever865 - Feb 1, 2015 at 12:03 PM

        what was his yards per carry each year

        • redskinsinrichmondva - Feb 1, 2015 at 3:17 PM

          YPC doesn’t capture RB performance as well as situational-type stats (like the ones featured at Football Outsiders).

      • murphsman - Feb 1, 2015 at 9:06 PM

        Who can’t read? Like Rich said, he’s not going anywhere right now, no one’s letting anyone walk, Rich was speculating. They’re gonna let him finish out his rookie contract.

  19. timwillhidetimwillhide - Jan 31, 2015 at 10:21 PM

    This year’s Draft is loaded at RB that being said Morris has ran for over 1,000 yards every year he’s a keeper

  20. hk2000 - Feb 1, 2015 at 12:36 AM

    Definitely, extend him. We’re fine at the skill positions- maybe not TE though, but we have so many holes in other areas that we should not give ourselves more issues to worry about . Leave WR and RB intact,and focus on OL and DL, and a new coach of course!!!!!!!

  21. VK - Feb 1, 2015 at 2:30 AM

    Morris and Redd are “Thunder and thunder”… getting rid of “lightning” Lache Seastrunk was another misstep by this team. Lache is like Sproles…at any time he can score and has to be accounted for…

    • skinsgame - Feb 1, 2015 at 4:44 AM

      Apparently, absolutely no team in the NFL got your memo on Seastrunk.

  22. tonywhitehead67 - Feb 1, 2015 at 7:23 AM

    I’ve seen Morris get yards with no blocking. I haven’t seen enough of Redd in meaningful regular season game situations to endorse him.

    Why would the Redskins front office break something that doesn’t need fixing when you have many other things that have to be fixed? You resign Al Morris to a contract flexible enough to have minimal impact if his productivity declines. This is a low risk decision. Turning to Silas Redd is not a low risk decision.

  23. scott - Feb 2, 2015 at 7:45 AM

    If Morris stays in Washington he will be the best RB the redskins ever had!!!

  24. Mathias - Feb 3, 2015 at 9:51 AM

    Come on rich….. Alfred Morris is making $1.6 million this year because of goals he hit in his contract. Negotiations won’t be as rough as murrays due to the fact that he hasn’t had a huge year in awhile. The way I see it is if he still drives his “bentley” then he’s humble enough to take a respectful dwal Archives

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