I’ll make the argument that the cutting of Chris Cooley by the Redskins yesterday was a good thing. It is always tough to have a long time player on a franchise leave, especially when they are liked by the fans and in the locker room (Alexander Semin please take note). However, the cutting of Chris Cooley shows the evolution of the Redskins from a yearly also ran to something more.
In the first five years of Chris’ career he didn’t miss a game, appearing in 80 straight games. He was an ironman. In the last three years he has missed 20 games and played in 28 games. A 30 year old player whose career started without missing the game has been reduced to two injury reduced seasons in the last three. Can he still be productive? Possibly. His one healthy season in the last three years resulted in 77 catches, 849 yards and 3 touchdowns. But, the Redskins are finally developing depth under Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan. A few years ago there would be no doubt that Cooley would still be on the roster under these circumstances, because who had the team developed to fill that spot.
Fred Davis has finally shown glimpses of being a go to tight end, as long as he can stay clean. Logan Paulsen is the teams best blocking tight end and has shown the ability to catch when called upon. Lastly, Niles Paul is making the transition to the tight end position, but is still just a young guy in the NFL. An NFL team can’t carry four tight ends and who would you cut to give Cooley the roster spot? Maybe on a one year isolated view you could saw Cooley over Paul, but that isn’t how it works. A developing youngster is going to get the opportunity over an aging veteran who has had injury problems recently.
While I may be sad to see Cooley gone, it shows the further development of the Redskins roster depth and the maturity of the front office. Letting a popular player go a year to early, rather than a year to late, which is what the team had become famous for. Oh, and the $6 million in cap space doesn’t hurt either.