- The Washington Times - Monday, February 17, 2020

Six months after taking a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit that ended his season, Washington Redskins tight end Jordan Reed still remains in concussion protocol.

Redskins coach Ron Rivera told The Athletic that Reed, who suffered the seventh documented concussion of his career in the preseason and did not play in 2019, is still dealing with concussion symptoms.

A Redskins source told The Washington Times the league’s concussion protocol even extends to the offseason, because the team’s in-house and independent doctors have yet to clear Reed.

Reed was placed on injured reserve in October after making little progress with the injury. In August, Atlanta Falcons safety Keanu Neal collided with Reed, who was soon diagnosed with a concussion. The Redskins had initially hoped he would be able to play just a few weeks later, but the tight end could not consistently practice.

Reed’s future in the NFL, and with the Redskins, is not publicly known. Washington can cut him this offseason to save $8.5 million.

So how does Reed’s injury affect Washington if it wants to move on? A league source familiar with the league’s collective bargaining agreement said the Redskins can still cut Reed to save $8.5 million, but added that the tight end’s camp could likely file a non-injury grievance to reclaim a portion of the money, if Reed is still injured by the time Washington releases him.

In that event, the best option for the Redskins might be to wait until Reed is fully healthy to cut him. Washington won’t have to start paying his $8.25 million base salary until the start of the regular season, so the Redskins have plenty of time for Reed to be able to pass a physical.

Should Reed not be healthy when he is released, he could become eligible to apply for the CBA’s injury protection benefit, worth $1.2 million. Reed would only qualify for such if he isn’t able to pass a physical, a source said.

If Reed is granted the benefit, the $1.2 million would count toward the Redskins‘ salary cap. Payments would stop if Reed signs with another team.

At the moment, Reed is set to enter the fourth year of the five-year, $46 million extension he signed in May 2016. Back then, Reed was coming off a career season in which he caught 87 catches for 952 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Reed would never reach those heights again, going on to miss 33 of the next 64 games because of injuries.

Now, Reed will have to determine if he wants to keep playing football, granted a decision hasn’t already been made. And if he wants to play, the question becomes whether he even can see the field again.

ESPN reported in September the 29-year-old’s future was in jeopardy because of his multiple concussions.

Reed was rarely seen at Redskins Park after going on injured reserve. He was last spotted by reporters in the team locker room a day after Washington’s season finale, where he politely declined comment.

Tight end is a major need for the Redskins this offseason. Besides Reed, Washington only has Jeremy Sprinkle and Hale Hentges under contract — two players who combined for just 344 yards on 34 catches last year. Tight end Vernon Davis also announced his retirement earlier this month.

The Redskins are interested in free agent Greg Olsen as a potential upgrade at the position. The 34-year-old, who played under Rivera for nine seasons in Carolina, met with Washington last week and is deciding his future.

Olsen also met with the Seattle Seahawks and the Buffalo Bills. He also has an offer to become a broadcaster should he retire.

Rivera told The Athletic he hoped to hear from Olsen soon.

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