Point-Counterpoint: Will Cooley survive?

Point-Counterpoint: Will Cooley survive?
April 24, 2012, 10:43 am
Share This Post

By Rich Tandler and Ben Standig
CSNwashington.comWhen a team is in the midst of a youth movement and pushed up against the salary cap, a tight end who will be 30 soon, is unlikely to start and carries a high cap number is an endangered species. When you find out they are moving another, younger player to your position, your chances for survival take another hit.And if youre Chris Cooley and you have all of that going on plus the fact that you missed a good chunk of two of the past three seasons with injuries, well, you should perhaps think about the next stage of your football career.Or should he?Is Cooley, the longest-tenured player on the team, done in Washington? Or does he have enough left in the tank to contribute? Rich Tandler and Ben Standig debate Cooleys future with the Redskins in this weeks edition of Point-Counterpoint.Rich Tandler: So Cooley will be 30 this year. What, did 30 become the new 38 or something? He has a few more productive years left in him. In 2010, he tied a career high for receiving yards with 849 and actually had a better year than the did in 2008, when he made the Pro Bowl. Im a big Fred Davis fan but hes one bad decision away from a year off. Its not as though Cooley would be riding the pine to see if anything happens with Davis; two-TE sets are all the rage in todays NFL and with some improved quarterbacking this year maybe we can see the potential to give defenses fits.Ben Standig: Nice job defending your boys roster spot but there are compelling factors that suggest the fan favorite and pottery enthusiast might need to pack up his kiln sooner than expected. Unless the NFL reverses its harsh salary cap penalty, the Redskins are working with a fewer dollars then they hoped for this off-season. His 2012 salary of 3.8 million is a number a contending team could live with in a perfect world, but a touch steep in this financial scenario for a backup, especially one that missed 20 games with injuries over the past three season. Davis starts, sign a veteran backup on the cheap, draft a tight end to develop in the middle round. Then use those remaining salary cap resources to fill holes elsewhere.Tandler: I do think that Cooley would be a little more secure if the Redskins should get back all or part of the cap space the Redskins lost in John Maras revenge. Still, pairing a rookie quarterback -- potentially a great one in RG3 but a rookie nonetheless -- with a veteran backup on the cheap doesnt exactly inspire confidence. Just because the Redskins arent likely to be going to New Orleans, the site of the Super Bowl, anytime after their season opener there doesnt mean that they should give up quality depth if they want to develop Griffin. Cooley would be a pricey insurance policy but well worth it to give Griffin a veteran security blanket who knows the offense.Standig: It's also nice if a team can keep a rookie quarterback upright. We know RG3 has wheels, just prefer heShanahan decides when to run and not because some defender with bad intentions is bearing down on him time after time. It's also nice if a team's secondary can keep the opposing passing game in check so the rookie does not find himself in constant shootouts or playing catch-up repeatedly. Those areas need starting help, legitimate depth at a minimum. Maybe the Redskins can address those areas without cutting payroll, i.e. Cooley, maybe not. Veteran Visanthe Shiancoe is a free agent. Same with John Gilmore, who played for the Bucs when current tight end coach Sean McVay was on Tampa Bay's coaching staff. They wouldn't replace Cooley's presence in town and maybe just a percentage of 47's production. Of course, that last point might apply to Cooley as well.