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Jordan Reed's ascension helped Redskins TEs overcome injuries

Continuing a look at each position for the Washington Redskins -- how they fared in 2015 and taking a look ahead. Today: tight ends.

Under contract: Jordan Reed, Niles Paul, Derek Carrier, Marcel Jensen.

Free agents: Logan Paulsen, Alex Smith.

What went right: Jordan Reed became a stud, leading the Redskins with 87 receptions and 11 touchdowns. Yes, he should have been in the Pro Bowl -- whether voted in or as one of the first alternates. Reed’s talent was known in his first two seasons, but durability issues plagued him. However, he changed his eating habits, started stretching more and stayed healthy this season, missing just one game because of a concussion. The Redskins ran their passing game through Reed and he consistently delivered. His ability to shake defenders in man coverage was fantastic: Even when defenders had help a certain way, they’d still fall for a fake by Reed, opening him up away from the help. Though Kirk Cousins was their MVP (unofficially of course) -- Reed was the best offensive player. He was dynamic. His blocking remained a work in progress, but at least he's willing. Carrier helped in a receiving role when healthy after arriving in a preseason trade.

What went wrong: A lot, mainly the injuries. Paul was hurt in the first preseason game and Paulsen was lost for the year in August as well. Paul would have been a starting tight end (but Reed would have played about the same as he did this year) and bulked up to better handle the blocking. Paulsen was a fringe player, though opinions are somewhat split on him in the organization. Without those two the blocking was too inconsistent at this position, hurting the run game in particular.

Offseason question: The Redskins obviously want Reed around a long time, but will they sign him to an extension before next season? Tough to say at this point, though there have yet to be any talks, according to one source. They do not need to rush into any sort of decision now, not with Reed on a friendly cap hit of $833,166 in 2016. The Redskins don’t need to add any money to their current cap, not before free agency. Last year, they waited until summer to extend both Trent Williams and Ryan Kerrigan. Also, with Reed, his durability issues make an extension before the end of his deal a tricky proposition.

Telling stat: The Redskins posted the third highest passer rating in the NFL when throwing to the tight end at 121.7, trailing only Arizona and Cincinnati.

Stat that needs improving: The Redskins only averaged 4.20 yards per carry on runs outside the tackle -- 29th in the NFL. Not all of that is on the tight ends, but the inconsistent blocking at this position contributed to the lower number.

Look ahead: Reed, as long as he stays healthy, should only get better -- if he stays at the same level he’s rather good already. Paulsen is a free agent and it’s uncertain if he’ll return. It makes sense to sign him and at least bring him to camp. Carrier’s suffered two torn ligaments (ACL and MCL) in his knee in December and it’s hard to imagine him contributing next season. Paul needs to bulk up again – while rehabbing, he lost most of the 20 pounds he added last offseason -- but he’ll help if healthy. The Redskins like Jensen. The team does need to add more players here -- it was a goal before camp last summer and needs to be more of a priority this offseason.