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This may only be a tough call for sentimental reasons. However, it's hard to deny what Santana Moss has meant for the franchise.
He's been consistently productive during his nine seasons in D.C. He's topped 1,000 yards receiving in a season three times. Moss has also featured on three of the only four Washington teams to make the playoffs since 1992.
The speedy veteran has also routinely destroyed the archrival Dallas Cowboys. That alone has to merit pause when it comes time to make the cuts.
However, Moss is now 35 and facing major competition at the most crowded position on the roster. His main threat comes from 2014 fifth-round pick Ryan Grant.
The rookie isn't wasting a single opportunity to wow coaches with his savvy and ability to work underneath. Mike Jones of The Washington Post highlighted Grant's most recent efforts:
We’ve talked before about the effectiveness of Grant’s route running. He turned in another consistent and effective performance with four catches for 41 yards and a touchdown. He’s always seeming to find a way to get open, whether it’s by selling the deep route hard and then stopping on a dime and making the catch on the comeback route, or putting a move on a defender at the line to create a three-yard gap as he runs upfield and hauls in a pass. Grant doesn’t have electrifying speed, but he has great instincts and learns quickly.
Grant's form should worry Moss. The veteran knows he's no longer ticketed for a primary role, especially when the team can rely on playmakers such as Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson, as well as the solid and versatile Andre Roberts.
Moss no longer has the speed to successfully stretch defenses vertically. That's bad news considering the team brought back young burner Aldrick Robinson.
It's tough to find an obvious role for a player once lethal in the red zone and a source of big plays. Moss knows he'll have to fight to make this season's roster, per Mark Maske of The Washington Post. It's a fight he could finally lose.
What's in his favor is his presence as a veteran leader. Moss has been a model pro for this team, and his example would be a good one for a rebuilding roster.
Gruden must decide how much he values that intangible over wanting to get young players like Robinson and Grant more involved.
Verdict: Moss stays. This one will go right to the wire, but ultimately, Gruden ought to think of the positive impact Moss will have on the locker room.
It's encouraging that Washington could waive goodbye to every player on this list and still feel good about the depth at each one's respective position. That speaks to the solid work Allen and Gruden have already done beefing up what was a thin roster.