WASHINGTON — Wednesday has already been a much busier morning for the Redskins as the NFL’s legal tampering window remains open.
Wide receiver Pierre Garcon has agreed to contract terms with the San Francisco 49ers, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen. He can officially sign with that club at 4 p.m. on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the Redskins have tendered contracts to inside linebacker Will Compton and running back Chris Thompson, who were both restricted free agents.
Garcon’s loss was not a surprise. The club maintained little contact with Garcon or his representatives throughout the offseason and only reached out on Monday. That didn’t sit well with a player who had been here since 2012 and was a consistent presence throughout. He missed just six games in fives seasons – all in 2012 with a foot injury. Garcon caught 113 passes in 2013 to set a franchise record and lead the NFL and between 68 and 79 his last three seasons in Washington.
But it was also clear that Garcon at times could be combative. He was unhappy with how the coaching staff used him early in the season and requested a trade. But when the Redskins didn’t do that, Garcon still produced. He never caught fewer than four passes in a game after the Week 9 bye and six times totaled at least 78 yards receiving.
Garcon left the door open to a return to Washington. He likes the area and started his Spinfire pizza business here, among other ventures. But with little contact from the team he was ready to move on. Garcon apparently will reunite with former Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, who was hired as the 49ers new head coach last month. Shanahan was calling the plays in 2013 when Garcon had his record year.
That leaves a whole at wide receiver, where the Redskins are also prepared to lose DeSean Jackson. They are willing to move slot receiver Jamison Crowder to the outside and hope Josh Doctson is back to 100 percent by the end of the month after he missed most of last year with Achilles tendon pain. They also like Maurice Harris, an undrafted free agent who earned some snaps late last season, and Ryan Grant. But that group could clearly use a veteran wide receiver who has a proven track record.
Thompson and Compton have decisions to make. As restricted free agents they can negotiate with other teams. The tender they received indicates the desire of the team to keep them. Thompson was hit with a second-round tender. That means any team signing him to an offer sheet would have to give up a second-round pick as compensation. That’s tough to see in a market loaded with running backs and a draft class that experts like.
But Thompson, 26, had a nice 2016 and has become a key part of Washington’s offense. He had 68 carries for 356 rushing yards and 49 catches for 349 yards with five total touchdowns. More important – Thompson has played in 29 of the Redskins’ last 32 games. His health was always a concern early in his career. Thompson is a weapon out of the backfield with 84 catches over two seasons. Washington has protected itself in case another team comes calling. If Thompson signs his tender offer it is worth $2.746 million.
Compton is in a different situation. He was an undrafted college free agent and so the Redskins receive no compensation if he signs an offer sheet elsewhere. They do maintain right-of-first-refusal and can match an offer. Compton, 27, can sign his tender for $1.797 million. He has been a starting inside linebacker for two seasons now after working his way up from the practice squad. He had 61 tackles last season and teamed well with fellow inside linebacker Mason Foster.
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