The Washington Redskins hoped Su’a Cravens would be part of their defense for a long time. Turns out it might have been for only one year. He was the most popular player asked about in the mailbag, so naturally it’s time to discuss his future in Washington:
#JKmailbag what are the odds of trading Sua Cravens and getting anything worthwhile in return?— Adam (@HailToOldDC) January 19, 2018
John Keim: It’s hard to see Cravens returning to the Redskins. Here’s why:
Montae Nicholson: The Redskins really like him -- and they should. But they also know he has to stay healthy and prove he can be a 16-game starter (or stay relatively healthy). He’s big and covers a lot of ground and impacts others around him. For example, slot corner Kendall Fuller could play his man differently knowing Nicholson was behind him; it allowed Fuller to play more aggressively. With Nicholson, D.J. Swearinger could play more in the box where he’s most effective.
I talked to one NFL assistant recently about Nicholson. He did not like him coming out of college; felt he was too stiff. But after watching him a few games this season (while preparing for games), he changed his mind. This coach didn’t want to say he was wrong because Nicholson didn’t play enough, but he did like him.
Trust: Whatever Cravens’ feelings toward the Redskins might be, I do think it will be hard for the team to get past what happened. They want to know they can count on someone. They’re well aware of what Cravens was dealing with outside of football. But the way he informed teammates (a group text to the other defensive backs) didn’t sit well. I know at least a couple players at season’s end who felt it would be hard to have him back.
But that was a small sampling, so I’m not drawing grand conclusions. However, I always sensed among coaches a reluctance to bring him back. That hasn’t changed.
It goes back to the word trust. As a rookie, Cravens disappeared for a day or so late in the season. In his second year, he retired. At USC, Cravens went missing. He’s a passionate player and fun to watch. He might be an excellent player who goes on to have a long career. The feeling is that getting treated for a concussion during his hiatus this season helped him. It could be that his rookie year concussion lingered a lot more than anyone realized.
So what happens next? That’s hard to say. My guess is that Cravens’ agent will meet with the Redskins at some point this offseason (combine?) to see what can be done. The two options, barring a change in thinking, would be to cut or trade him.
Cravens definitely wants to play again. It’s a shame it didn’t work out for him here; he clearly could have been a fan favorite for a while. The truth is, though, we have no clue what he would have done as an NFL safety.
But if Nicholson develops and stays healthy, the Redskins will be more than fine.