The Cooley vs. Davis Debate

 

Chris Cooley and Fred Davis

Photo by WashingtonPost.com

With the Redskins dealing with cap penalties for the next two seasons, we take a look at the pros and cons of two high caliber players at the same position that will take up about 10% of the teams salary cap.

In 2010 the Redskins decided to restructure the monster contracts of Albert Haynesworth and DeAngelo Hall to give them huge portions of their bonuses ($21 and $15 mil respectively) in the uncapped year, instead of over several years.  The NFL considered this abuse of the system, and ended up penalizing the Skins $36 million in cap space over the 2012-2013 seasons.  Complete BS — BECAUSE THE YEAR WAS UNCAPPED — but the penalty stands and the Redskins have to deal with it.  Now faced with about $18 million less in cap space this year, Washington will be grinding hard to find a way to keep their salaries low, while still keeping key pieces around to help out RGIII.

Will Santana Moss stick around if they don’t cut Brandon Banks?  Is Kirk Cousins a practice squad player or does Rex Grossman get another year on the team?  These are interesting debates, but the biggest question mark is at tight end.   Currently there are six tight ends on the roster; Richard Quinn, Logan Paulsen, Niles Paul, Beau Reliford, Chris Cooley, and Fred Davis.  With Quinn and Reliford being extreme long shots to make the squad, this leaves Paulsen, Paul, Cooley and Davis for three spots.

Niles Paul (last year’s 5th round pick) was recently moved from WR to TE in hopes to recreate a Shannon Sharpe type player who played so well under Coach Shanahan.  Paul is also a contributor to special teams and has a small cap number ($510k), so we can assume he makes the team.  Logan Paulsen is a tenured player on the Redskins and is the best at blocking out of the bunch, with his cap number at $490k; we can assume he makes the team.  This brings it down to Cooley and Davis for the last spot.

           Chris Cooley and Fred Davis comparisonsProbably the fans’ favorite player since the retirement of Darrell Green, the two time all-pro Chris Cooley has been plagued with injuries over the past few seasons, essentially giving room for Fred Davis to shine in his absence.  With only 12 games played last year, Davis was able to accrue 796 yards on 59 catches, his best season as a pro thus far.  By comparison, Cooley’s best years were in 2008 and 2010 where he amassed 849 yards on 83 and 77 receptions while starting every game of each season.  Davis is the more explosive threat while Cooley, if healthy, is reliable and has never had a penalty called on him.  While one is an all-pro, the other is one puff away from being suspended for the season.

With the Redskins salary cap around 100 million this year, they are paying these two players almost 10% of the total cap.  Can the higher potential and smaller cap hit keep Fred Davis his job or will his looming drug suspension show him to the door?  Will Washington find a way to keep both Cooley and Davis on the roster, and on the field together?  Will the aging/ailing Cooley restructure his deal and continue to be a leader in the locker room or will his franchise records for tight ends be left as they stand?

Look for both players to compete throughout the preseason.

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