After a quick fling with the Washington Redskins, Eddie Royal married the San Diego Chargers for a three-year, $13 million contract with $6 million guaranteed.
Royal was at Redskins Park when free agency opened and Mike Shanahan nearly got him in the fold with a reported two-year, $12 million contract.
We can’t say that Washington lost Royal. We never really had him. But, Royal, Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan are clues to Shanahan’s thinking about the passing game. He’s looking for 25 to 27 year-olds on the verge of a breakout. No receiver on the Redskins’ 2011 roster fall in that age bracket.
Royal may not be in that class. His best season was his rookie year (2008) when he caught 91 passes for 980 yards and five scores as opposing defenses focused on stopping Brandon Marshall. Absent Shanahan and Marshall in Denver, Royal’s numbers were rather pedestrian.
The Josh McDaniels years were not kind to Royal. McDaniels’ offense shocked the world by featuring Brandon Lloyd.
After losing Vincent Jackson, the Chargers had to do something to save Norv Turner’s job. They turned to ex-Saints receiver Robert Meachem and Royal. I’m not sure they turned the trick. Between them, Meachem and Royal (mostly Meachem) combined for 59 receptions, 775 yards and 7 touchdowns in 2011. That’s acceptable performance for one No. 2 receiver. Turner and QB Phillip Rivers have good cause to worry.
Royal profiled as an Antwaan Randle El-type player. That is not meant as a slam. ARE was versatile and multi-dimansional while in Washington. He wa a good lockerroom influence. Someone else must fill that role now.
The best news from this story? That the Redskins assigned a value to Royal and didn’t budge much from their offer. That suggests a strategy and a disciplined approach are in place — refreshing after so many years of the Snyderratoism.
Teams do better when they are loyal to their strategy and have players who want to be here for the team and not just the money.
We aren’t going to miss Eddie Royal.