Santana Moss is back with the Redskins and it’s safe to say that he didn’t come back for the money.
OK, it’s not like he’ll work for free. His one-year salary of the veteran minimum of $955,000 and his signing bonus of $65,000 constitute a pretty nice chunk of change to most of the world. But Moss has cashed much, much bigger paychecks and bonus checks through the years and it’s likely that he would get along just fine if he didn’t collect his 2014 salary.
And he might not. That salary and small bonus mean that he is not a lock to make the roster. The Redskins could release him prior to the first game and they would only be on the hook for the $65,000 bonus. After nine years of being a lock to be at or near the top of the depth chart, Moss’ 2014 role is very much in doubt.
If the season started today, Moss would line up in the slot, just as he has the last two years. No. 1 receiver Pierre Garçon and free agent signee Andre Roberts would be on the outside and Aldrick Robinson would work into the rotation.
But the season doesn’t start today and it’s a good bet that Moss will get some competition for his role. About half of the 46 receivers that Rotowold ranked as the best available free agents are still unsigned. It would not at all be surprising for the Redskins to sign anther veteran or two. And in a draft that is extraordinarily deep at the wide receiver position, the smart money says that the Redskins grab at least one in the draft, maybe with one of their top two picks.
And let’s not forget Leonard Hankerson. There is reasonable hope that he will be ready for training camp, which will start eight months after he suffered a torn ACL. If he can resume his role as a starter he will push Roberts into the slot. Roberts will also move inside if a draft pick or veteran free agent earns a starting job on the outside.
So depending on what else the Redskins do, Moss could get pushed down the chart, perhaps to the point where he ends up on the wrong side of the bubble when it comes to making the 53-man roster.
Since we don’t know what the rest of the receiver corps looks like it’s difficult to assess Moss’ chances of making the roster. No matter what happens, it will be safe to say that his road will be going uphill. It’s just a question of how steep it will be. However, it would be a mistake to count Moss out completely even though he will be in the fight of his life when workouts start on April 7.