Santana Moss' production, conditioning in 2012 prompted Redskins to keep him

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PHOENIX | The Redskins could have saved $4.5 million in salary cap space by releasing veteran receiver Santana Moss last week. Moss instead agreed to a paycut that saved the Redskins $2 million, according to two reports.

So why didn’t the Redskins save the full amount by releasing the 33-year-old slot receiver? His team-leading eight touchdown catches last season and good conditioning were factors.

Moss, who ranks fourth on the franchise’s all-time receiving yards list, responded last season to coaches’ challenge to report to training camp in better shape. His 573 receiving yards in 2012 ranked second on the club.

“I liked the way Santana played last year,” coach Mike Shanahan said Wednesday at the owner’s meetings. “He came in in excellent shape. I think he was a big part of our offense. There’s a big upside to Santana next year because he’s very familiar with our offense. He did a great job in our third-down package. I expect him to come in in the same type of shape and make the same plays he did last year.”

Shanahan did not consider Moss’s 34th birthday is in June.

“I don’t look at somebody’s age,” he said. “I look at what they did for us. I had Jerry Rice at the end of his career. I knew what Jerry did. I know what some older players do when it comes to offseason conditioning, how they handle themselves. I thought it was Santana’s best year out of the three years. He made a commitment to being in great shape and doing the little things you have to do to give your football team a chance to have some big plays.”

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