WASHINGTON — In a season best defined by injuries, bitter disappointment, and a few bright spots, Tuesday had a little bit of everything for Washington Redskins fans.
Ignoring Kirk Cousins, Chris Thompson and Terrelle Pryor are two of the biggest storylines of the year for the Redskins, for very different reasons. On Tuesday, however, they met the same end, added as the 14th and 15th players on the team’s injured reserve.
Here’s why the two players are linked and why you can still feel good about that.
How We Got Here
If you were picking teams for a schoolyard game of football, basketball or kickball (or any other sport), you would never take Thompson before Pryor.
And if their final 2017 stat lines are any indication, you would be wrong, at least for football.
Thompson is the diminutive running back with killer speed, who performed in the shadows for the first four years of his NFL career. After a surprise contract extension in September, he took off, leading the team in both rushing and receiving yards.
His average draft position in fantasy football was somewhere around 200th overall and the 60th running back selected.
Pryor has a reclamation story of his own, learning how to be a receiver after starting his NFL career as a quarterback. After turning down a reported multi-year extension with the Cleveland Browns, he signed with the Redskins on a one-year pact, hoping to increase his value. He looked the part in personal offseason workouts (captured on social media) and impressed in training camp.
His average draft position in fantasy football was approximately 38th, and one of the top 15 receivers off the boards.
Pryor was signed to be the secret sauce that Thompson became through the first 10 weeks of the season. Instead, both of their seasons ended in heartbreaking fashion on Tuesday, relegated to injured reserve.
Where We Are
Believe it or not, both players should be examples of hope for Redskins fans who worry about Bruce Allen as head of personnel.
Thompson was a known commodity whose star was on the rise. After proving that he could be productive and stay healthy, the Redskins signed him to a two-year, $7 million deal, a bargain for the production he provided. Even with his season-ending injury, there’s a chance he could come back and do it again next year.
This is the type of deal that fans want to see, especially in an offseason where Kirk Cousins is one of several big names poised to hit free agency. Rather than waiting for a player to price himself out, they locked him up early.
Final stat line: 103 touches, 804 yards, six touchdowns
Pryor was a known risk, with one year of success in a bad offense in Cleveland. The Redskins needed a 1,000-yard receiver and Pryor was a star on the rise. Why wouldn’t he do better in a better offensive scheme with a Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback?
Even with that logic, the Redskins offered him a one-year deal that could have backfired spectacularly if he was the real deal. He wasn’t, and the Redskins are only committed to him through this season.
Final stat line: 20 touches, 240 yards, one touchdown
Looking at the numbers, it’s easy to suppose that Thompson is a star in the making and Pryor is a bum, but that’s just not how the NFL works.
Pryor could leave town and find success (like Carlos Rogers, Lorenzo Alexander or Ryan Clark), or he could fizzle like countless others. Alternately, he could come back on another prove-it deal, like teammate Junior Galette did multiple times.
Thompson deserves another comeback and a chance to shine in the limelight, but that isn’t guaranteed. His injury may delay or prevent his return to form, while the Redskins could go in another direction. After all, it is a business.
Regardless, both players are the faces of a bizarre 2017 season, and both now shift to offseason mode.