The Redskins would be a contender to sign Olsen if he remains on the field. Rivera, hired by Washington in January after being fired by the Panthers in December, has shown an affinity for former colleagues in Carolina while assembling his coaching staff and reconfiguring his front office in Washington. He also was given broad authority over the Redskins’ football operations by owner Daniel Snyder, meaning the decision on whether to sign Olsen would be his.
Olsen thanked Rivera in a statement posted to social media Thursday in conjunction with the Panthers’ announcement that they and Olsen had mutually decided to part ways. Olsen wrote in the statement that he had not made a decision about his future.
“At this time I have not closed the door on any potential career options,” Olsen said. “I still have the love of football in my heart and will explore all opportunities presented to me.”
Olsen had one season remaining on his contract with the Panthers. Having been released, he does not have to wait until the opening of free agency in March to sign with another team.
He remained relatively productive this season for Carolina, posting 52 catches for 597 yards and two touchdowns in 14 games. In all, he played nine seasons for the Panthers. He had three 1,000-yard receiving seasons and was a three-time Pro Bowl selection. He was a key member of the 2015 Panthers team that went 15-1 and reached the Super Bowl.
Olsen spent four seasons with the Chicago Bears before his long run with Carolina. In his 13 NFL seasons, he has 718 catches for 8,444 yards and 59 touchdowns. He ranks fifth on the NFL’s career lists for catches and receiving yards by a tight end.
The Redskins have a significant need at the position after Jordan Reed did not play at all during the 2019 regular season after he suffered a concussion in the third preseason game.
Olsen’s presence could aid the development of young quarterback Dwayne Haskins. But if Olsen wants to play for a Super Bowl contender, that might disqualify the Redskins.
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