When the Redskins re-worked Santana Moss’ contract last week, the team saved a reported $2 million in 2013 salary cap space.
But Washington could have freed up even more cap space by releasing Moss, something head coach Mike Shanahan and his staff decided not to do because they viewed the 33-year-old slot receiver as too valuable.
“I like the way Santana played last year,” Shanahan said at Wednesday’s NFL owners meetings. “He was a big part of our offense. There’s a big upside to Santana next year becuase he’s very familliar with our offense. He did a great job in our third down package.”
Despite playing a reduced role, solely in three-receiver sets and no longer as an outside target in two-receiver formations, Moss’ productivity spiked in 2012. He caught 41 passes and amassed 573 yards while catching eight touchdowns, his highest scoring total since a nine-touchdown inaugural season in DC back in 2005.
The speedy pass-catcher also averaged 14 yards a reception for the first time since 2006 in a ‘turn-the-clocks-back’ campaign that saw him score his longest touchdown in seven years.
“I expect him to show up in the same type of shape and make the same plays that he did last year,” Shanahan said about Moss, who rededicated himself during an offseason that saw him lose 15 pounds prior to his renaissance in 2012.
Moss, entering his 13th season, turns 34 in June.
“I don’t look at somebody’s age,” Shanahan said. “I look at what they did for us. I thought [last season] was Santana’s best year of the three years. He made a commitment to be in great shape and those are the little things that you have to do to give your football team a chance to have some big plays.”