A quiet offseason in Washington became a little more interesting for the Redskins this week, with the team adding two experienced and speedy weapons to the offensive arsenal in an attempt to bolster an already-solid unit before throwing gimpy franchise quarterback Robert Griffin III back into the lion's den.
Experience and speed. That's what both moves are all about. You can never have too much of either, which is why the 'Skins signed two of the oldest and fastest players lingering on a near-stale free-agent market. They didn't have the money to chase big shots earlier this offseason, but Donté Stallworth and Devery Henderson have both been able to get the job done in the past.
In fact, both were able to do so in familiar situations. Not only was Stallworth a Redskin two years ago, but he and Henderson were both drafted in New Orleans by former Saints head coach and current 'Skins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett.
The Redskins receiving corps wasn't weak. But it also wasn't the best. And when you're striving to build on a breakout campaign, anything helps. Now, this team has five receivers who have over 100 career catches, 2,000 career yards and 10 career touchdowns.
Last week, that number was three.
Henderson has twice led the league in yards per catch (23.2 in 2006 and 24.8 in 2008). And now he and Stallworth are the team's leaders in career yards per catch. Considering that Washington already led the league with 6.2 yards per offensive play last year, that's significant.
This is the right way to buy low. Two veterans coming off unproductive seasons.
On paper, 2012 was the worst year of Stallworth's career. He was released by the New England Patriots prior to the season and couldn't find work until the Pats picked him back up in December. But he was injured on his only reception of the year—a 63-yard touchdown grab.
Stallworth, of course, also comes with a little baggage. He was badly injured in a hot-air balloon incident earlier this year and he lost his entire 2009 season due to a suspension after serving 24 days behind bars for DUI manslaughter.
On paper, it was Henderson's worst season since he was inactive for virtually all of his rookie campaign in 2004. It appeared he simply fell out of favor in New Orleans.
Mike and Kyle Shanahan indicated this week, according to the Washington Post, that they wanted to bring Stallworth back last year, too. That didn't come to fruition, but the 32-year-old certainly is familiar with the Washington offense and could have a chance to find a niche role in D.C.
Who will make the 53-man roster?
Neither he nor Henderson can do much harm. The potential for big plays exists with both, and the two have dropped only 24 combined passes on 403 targets since 2008. There's a chance one or both fail to make the final roster anyway, but these are the kind of safe, calculated gambles that often pay off in this league.
Most importantly, the Redskins made these additions while also maintaining the status quo elsewhere on offense throughout the 2012 offseason. As the centerpiece of the offense recovers from reconstructive knee surgery, continuity is key. Kory Lichtensteiger is back and an above-average offensive line remains intact. The backs and tight ends continue to look like reliable groups. And now they have a bevy of experienced receivers to choose from this summer.
They didn't need to move any more mountains for RG3. They just needed to make some attempts to improve while preserving that base. That's why these moves make a lot of sense.
The Redskins offense ranked fourth in the league in points last year and fifth in yards, but the biggest mistake you can make in this league is to be satisfied.
Anything to help your young franchise quarterback, man. Especially when it involves adding experience and speed.