A 33-year-old Santana Moss scored more touchdowns last season than he had since 2005. But with the aging Moss slated to cost the tight-for-cash Washington Redskins $6.1 million against the 2013 salary cap (per the Mike Jones of the Washington Post), his future with the team is up in the air.
Moss turns 34 on June 1, which has Jones and others wondering if he'd be worth keeping around at that price. The reality is that while the 12-year veteran did lead the 'Skins with eight touchdown catches in 2012, he most certainly wouldn't be a smart financial investment in that range.
Moss' snap total has plummeted the last two seasons, taking a serious dive in 2012 after the team added a pair of free-agent wide receivers in Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan. Had Garcon not missed most of the first half of the season, he would have been even less involved.
But you can't argue with the production. No receiver on the team had more the half as many touchdowns as Moss, despite the fact he was only on the field about half the time. He was Robert Griffin III's most reliable target, especially in the red zone and particularly after tight end Fred Davis suffered a season-ending Achilles injury.
So while there might be free-agent options available for less money, it's not easy to replace the clutch gene, and it certainly makes it more difficult that Moss became a more special receiving option in 2012, with over 82 percent of his snaps coming out of the slot.
How much should the Redskins be willing to pay Santana Moss in 2013?
You'd have to assume Moss would be willing to take a pay cut as part of a restructured deal to stay in D.C., where he's played since '05. If he does get stubborn, though, he has leverage for those reasons. The only potential free-agent pickups who could replace Moss in the slot for about half the price are Donnie Avery and Louis Murphy.
If the 'Skins decide to let Moss walk and don't land either of those guys, they'll have to hope like hell that Leonard Hankerson can finally emerge and become a reliable slot option. And that'll especially be the case if Davis doesn't return. He's an impending unrestricted free agent with injury and character concerns.
There should definitely be a spot for Moss on the 2013 roster, but only if he's willing to shave his salary to save the team at least $3 million. If that doesn't happen and Washington has enough confidence in Hankerson and/or re-signs Davis (or brings in someone like Avery or Murphy) then there's a strong chance Moss becomes a summer cap casualty just like Chris Cooley was last year.