The Facts: The Redskins would like to keep Crowder. But the question they’ll have to answer in the next month is whether or not they can afford him. The Redskins’ slot receiver, who becomes a free agent in March, plays a position that has become an important -- and expensive -- one in the NFL in the past several seasons. “It’s a great time to be a slot receiver,” Crowder said.
Diehards Line:In August, Minnesota signed Stefon Diggs to a five-year deal worth up to $72 million with $40 million guaranteed. Last offseason, Jarvis Landry received a five-year deal worth up to $75 million with $47 million guaranteed. But both players do damage from other receiver spots as well. Crowder has not played to their level, in terms of overall production or big plays. But he has been a solid performer for Washington. In his first three seasons, Crowder caught a combined 192 passes and missed only one game. The coaches have long liked his ability to win out of the slot; quarterback Alex Smith said he appreciates how well Crowder handles option routes, adding that he trusts Crowder's decision-making. The problem for Crowder this season was overcoming a sprained ankle that sidelined him for seven games. But when he returned, Crowder again showed an ability to create separation out of the slot. He’s not a burner, but his footwork enables him to gain extra space to run after the catch. “He's got great quickness in intermediate routes, can separate, has good hands, he's tough, he's physical in the running game,” HC coach Jay Gruden said. “There is really not anything that Jamison can't do. You look at his size and say he's little, but he plays big, so we have to try and get him back for sure." Crowder and linebacker Preston Smith are the team's two biggest pending free agents.