Five seasons after he joined the Redskins, veteran wide receiver Pierre Garcon is an unrestricted free agent and poised for a big payday once again. After leading the Redskins with 79 catches for 1,041 yards in 2016, the 30-year-old would like two things this offseason: to remain in Washington, and for fans — and perhaps future employers — to stop labeling him as something he says he’s not.
“I definitely want to be in Washington,” Garcon told 106.7 The Fan’s Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier on Friday. “I’m already living there. And I definitely want people to stop thinking that I’m a possession receiver because they gave me a job to do. That doesn’t mean I can’t go deep and I can’t run fast, because I ran fast and went deep this year more than I probably ever did. Every year is different from the play-calling, but I want people to stop thinking that I’m a slow guy, and I’m not slowing down any time soon. I think I’ve gotten better this year than I have in the previous years.”
Garcon’s 79 catches, 52 of which went for first downs, were his most since he led the NFL with 113 catches in 2013. With fellow free agent DeSean Jackson serving as the Redskins’ primary deep threat for the past three seasons, Garcon wasn’t asked to go deep as often as he was earlier in his career. Still, his 13.2 yards per reception in 2016 was his highest average in five years.
“I’m a football player, not a categorized football player,” Garcon continued. “I’m not one thing. I’m not a one-trick pony. I do it all, so it’s not, ‘Hey, you’re a possession receiver.’ I can go deep, I can go short, I can break tackles, I can block, I can make plays — big plays, short plays, crucial plays. It’s what I do on the field, not what box they try to put me in, especially when I was coming out of college, saying, ‘Hey, you’re a D-III player.’ Especially when I was coming from Indy, saying, ‘Hey, you’ve never been a number one receiver.’ Especially when I led the league in catches and they’re like, ‘Hey, you just got lucky because you were on a bad team.’ ”
Garcon seemed to want to make it clear that he wasn’t unhappy with his role with the Redskins and that he’s willing to adapt to any offense, no matter where he’s playing in 2017.
“I’m not against anything that the team asks me, I just don’t want them to put me in a box and say, ‘He can only do this,’ because that’s never been my play,” Garcon said. “I can do whatever a team wants me to do. . . . In Indy, I was going deep all the time. I come to D.C., it was like, ‘Hey, we need you to catch the ball, get these yards, 10 yards.’ It’s like all right, cool. Whatever you ask me to do, I’m gonna do. It’s not who I am. I’m a football player, not a possession receiver, not a speed receiver. I’m going to do whatever it takes to get the job done.”
Garcon described Kirk Cousins, who praised Garcon’s versatility last month, as a “great player.”
“He definitely wants to be in D.C.,” Garcon said Friday. “He’s definitely grown over the few years that he’s been leading the team. He’s only going to continue to get better with the experience and with the guys that he’s built that camaraderie around. Hopefully, they keep him. Hopefully, he continues to get better. It’s good to have stability at the quarterback [position] instead of shuffling guys through every year, every so often.”
That stability is why Garcon is confident the Redskins’ offense will continue to chug along despite offensive coordinator Sean McVay leaving to take the Rams’ head coaching job.
“We have a lot of great guys on staff that can take over the offense and get us in the right position, because the quarterback has been around for the longest,” said Garcon, who added that he was happy for McVay. “That’s the easier part, where you’re not re-teaching it all over to a different quarterback, so that’s definitely one of those things where it’s easier for someone to transition into because those guys have been around for a long time.”