A day after their offense looked sluggish in a home-opening loss to Indianapolis, the Washington Redskins took big gambles on wide receivers Monday, signing former first-round picks Michael Floyd and Breshad Perriman.
Both players were among a group of free agent receivers who worked out for the team earlier in the day in what appears to be an attempt by the Redskins to bring life to a passing attack that hasn’t had a play longer than 25 yards in the season’s first two games. They can also help an offense that may lose running back Rob Kelley for a month-and-a-half if a toe injury, suffered Sunday, requires surgery.
If healthy, Floyd and Perriman could add depth to a receiving group that has been thinned with injuries and hasn’t shown an ability to stretch defenses.
Floyd’s skill has never been in question. Taken 13th overall in the 2012 draft that brought quarterbacks Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins to Washington, Floyd was a star early in his career, catching 242 passes for 3,739 yards and 25 touchdowns over five years for the Arizona Cardinals. But he struggled in his last year with the Cardinals and was cut in December 2016 following a DUI arrest in Arizona. He signed with New England but did not make a significant impact. He played last season in Minnesota but only caught 10 passes in 11 games.
He signed with New Orleans last month but was cut Sept. 1.
Perriman, who was the No. 26 overall pick by the Ravens in 2015, was supposed to be a tall deep threat for Baltimore, but his rookie season was lost to a knee injury that was slow to heal. A second knee injury slowed him in his second season. He only started four games over the past two seasons, catching 43 passes for 576 yards and three touchdowns. Like Floyd, he was cut a week before the start of this season.
The Redskins appear to need immediate help at wide receiver. After trading for quarterback Alex Smith in the offseason and signing running back Adrian Peterson last month, Washington hoped to have an effective and efficient offense. The Redskins used runs and short passes to Peterson and fellow running back Chris Thompson to beat Arizona in Week 1, but their ability to run that day masked problems with their passing game. Those issues were exposed Sunday when the Colts shut down Peterson and Washington was unable to respond with a significant passing attack.
Redskins Coach Jay Gruden said Monday he called a few longer pass plays in Sunday’s loss, but the situations demanded that Smith check down to shorter targets.
“There’s a fine line there,” Gruden said. “Taking completions aren’t the end of the world, but towards the end of the game we probably should have pushed the envelope a little bit, get the ball downfield.”
Former first-round quarterback Paxton Lynch also worked out for the Redskins on Monday, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. Lynch played two seasons with the Denver Broncos and was cut before this season.
Wide receiver Jehu Chesson was cut Monday to make room for at least one of the new signings. No other roster move was announced.
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