Unrestricted free agent tight end and special teams stalwart Niles Paul, one of the Redskins’ longest-tenured players, may not be in the team’s plans for next season.
“Stayed down, played my role, & always put the team before myself,” Paul tweeted on Wednesday as part of a message that would seem to suggest, at the very least, that the Redskins aren’t fully committed to re-signing him. “S— wild, but I don’t even know why I’m acting surprised.”
Pierre Garcon and Chris Baker, two fan favorites the Redskins let go in free agency last offseason, were among those who responded to Paul’s tweet. Garcon, now with the 49ers, didn’t waste any time recruiting his former teammate of five years should he become a free agent when the new league year begins next Wednesday.
“Let me check my palm pilot, we might have a spot for you in the Bay,” Garcon tweeted.
The Redskins selected Paul out of Nebraska in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL draft. After playing wide receiver in college, he transitioned to tight end during his second season in Washington and became a vital contributor on special teams. Paul caught a career-high 39 passes for 507 yards in 2014 and ended the 2015 and 2016 seasons on injured reserve. Paul made eight starts last season and missed two games after suffering a concussion while playing fullback against the Cowboys in October. After the season, Paul, 28, expressed interest in remaining with Washington.
“This is home for me,” Paul said in January. “I’ve seen the progression of Redskins Park. I was here when we didn’t have a bubble. I was here when we didn’t even have a good cafeteria or a nice locker room. I feel like I’ve grown with this building.”
The Redskins’ special teams captain finished third among Redskins tight ends with 13 catches last season. Washington used a fifth-round draft pick on Arkansas tight end Jeremy Sprinkle last year.
“I’m not Jordan Reed with the stats,” Paul said. “Or Vernon Davis. I’m the third-string tight end who plays special teams. I’m kind of like the grinder. I stay in the shadows, in a sense. But everybody who turns on the film and watches me play knows the type of player I am.”
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