The Washington Redskins cut tight end Jordan Reed on Thursday, parting ways with a talented but oft-injured player.
The move comes as no surprise given Reed’s injury history and that the move saves Washington $8.5 million in cap space. He had been under contract through 2021.
Reed missed all of last season with a concussion, his seventh documented one since he started playing college football. He had remained in the concussion protocol until Wednesday. He has never played a full season because of various other injuries. A source close to Reed said the tight end wants to continue playing.
The Redskins made Reed the focal point of their passing attack under former coach Jay Gruden. He responded with a big season in 2015 when he played a career-high 14 games. That season, Reed caught 87 passes for 952 yards and 11 touchdowns — all personal bests.
After that season, the Redskins signed Reed to a five-year extension worth up to $50 million. But in the next three years, thanks to injuries, he averaged only 49 catches per season with a combined 10 touchdowns.
Reed, who had struggled for two seasons because of ligament damage to his big toes, looked good in training camp this past summer. But in the third preseason game, Reed suffered a concussion after Atlanta Falcons safety Keanu Neal delivered a helmet-to-helmet hit.
Reed nearly returned for a Week 2 game against the Dallas Cowboys, but concussion symptoms returned late in the week. The Redskins placed him on injured reserve on Oct. 14.
Washington selected Reed in the third round out of Florida in the 2013 draft and he provided immediate help, catching 45 passes in nine games as a rookie, before injuries ended his season. Reed proved to be a mismatch for linebackers or safeties in particular, especially when aligned in the slot. The Redskins loved his ability to quickly win versus a defender, making him an ideal target.
Reed caught 329 passes with 24 touchdowns for the Redskins.
Earlier this offseason, Vernon Davis announced his retirement. That leaves the Redskins with a glaring need at the position. Their top tight end as of now would be Jeremy Sprinkle, who is coming off a career-best 26-catch season. The Redskins consider him more of a blocking tight end.
Washington already has released corner Josh Norman and receiver Paul Richardson this offseason. By releasing Reed, they have freed up a total of $23.5 million in cap space and now have approximately $63 million available in cap room this offseason.