Why Jordan Reed can be best receiving TE behind Gronk if he stays healthy

Washington signed Jordan Reed to a $50 million extension on Thursday. Here's why he is worth the money as the team's top pass-catcher.

| 1 year ago
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Why Jordan Reed can be best receiving TE behind Gronk if he stays healthy

On Thursday Jordan Reed signed a five-year, $50 million extension to remain Washington’s starting tight end for the foreseeable. So long as he can stay healthy, Reed has the potential to be the second-best young receiving tight end in the NFL behind only Rob Gronkowski over the next several years.

Reed was a third-round pick in 2013 and was impressive each of his first two years, but struggled to stay on the field. As a rookie he had the third-most yards per route run average at 2.19 behind only Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham, and followed that up with a fourth ranking of 1.89 in his sophomore season. The only problem is he played in just 20 of a possible 32 games, and when he was healthy enough to play he was only on the field half the time. This led to back-to-back years with fewer than 400 snaps.

Reed followed this up with a breakout performance in 2015, when he was our third-highest-graded tight end in receiving at 94.3. His 2.45 yards per route run was not only the best for all tight ends in 2015, but the third-best for a tight end in our nine years of grading. Part of this was because he had 16 players miss tackles on him, which was tied for the most this year. His 11 touchdowns were tied for second-most. 2015 was also the season he stayed healthiest, only missing two games. His playing time also increased to over 80 percent of snaps in the majority of games.

While Reed can still play a traditional tight end role, he has been most dangerous when Washington moves him around to an outside or slot receiver. Nine of his 11 touchdowns came when Reed lined up in a receiver position. While he was dangerous on a lot of routes, he was most impressive on post routes, where he caught all eight passes thrown his way for 185 yards and two touchdowns.

From a pure production standpoint, Reed is worth the money he is earning. You would expect him to continue to improve and remain one of the best tight ends throughout the rest of his contract. However, there is a real injury risk associated with Reed, who has yet to play a full 16-game season. He’s had several concussions throughout his career. He’s on the path of a player who could retire early.

For the short term, it means Washington’s best receiver should be happy entering a season in which the team hopes to remain division champions. They were already four-deep at receiver heading into the offseason, with DeSean Jackson (80.1), Pierre Garcon (79.5) and Jamison Crowder (76.9), and then added TCU’s Josh Doctson in the first round of the draft. Washington’s offense will remain one of the more exciting in the league both in 2016, and potentially for years to come.

| Director of Analytics

Nathan has been with Pro Football Focus since 2010. He is the Director of Analytics, an NFL analyst, and a fantasy writer.

  • 24AHAD

    Travis Kelce at his best isn’t better than Jordan Reed at his best? Hmmm. If you say so pff.

    • Kyle

      I’m sure the guy with the Jamal Charles profile pic is totally unbiased. Fortunately, stats are stats. They hold no bias.

      • 24AHAD

        Read what I said, they are projecting not comparing stats. I said Travis Kelce at his best vs vs Jordan Reed at his best. They didn’t show Kelces stats, moron. Do you know them? Because I’m pretty sure all you know is Jordan Reeds yards per route run and that he had some tds in a small sample. I think Jordan Reed is awesome. I asked a question, not made some fanboy bias comment. So please tell me which stats you’re referencing? Or did you even read the article?

      • 24AHAD

        “Receiving” tight end they said. I said something bias? I said “at their best”.

  • Tim Edell

    Washington’s offense will remain one of the more exciting in the league???

  • Simone

    Travis Kelce since 2013..

    Receptions: 139

    Receiving yards: 1,737

    Receiving touchdowns: 10

    Jordan Reed since 2013

    Receptions: 182

    Receiving yards: 1,916

    Receiving TDs: 14

    Not to mention he didn’t play full 16 games in 2013 or 2014

    If healthy better then Kelce

    • Trent

      Travis Kelce didn’t play his rookie year…

      • 24AHAD

        Lol ^

      • matt

        Kelce has started in 27 games and has played in 33. Reed has started 15 games and played in 34. Kelce didn’t play his rookie year but he gets a pass even though they’ve both basically played in the same amount of games? 12 less starts and a better stat line but you still think Kelce is better? What?