The month of July ended just as many others have recently for Redskins fans, with the heated topic of what to do with fan favorite Chris Cooley. This time it was noted Redskin historian and Washington Examiner columnist Rick Snider arguing for Chris Cooley to remain on the roster.
I think Snider has it wrong. First of all, his opening shot that Cooley is just too valuable to trade. It’s quite the opposite in fact. He’s not valuable enough to trade. That ship sailed probably last off-season. Right now the best options are keep him on the roster and risk impeding the progress of guys like Niles Paul and even Darrel Young, or cut him and move on.
I say rip that Band-Aid off, and rip it off fast. And really that’s all Cooley is now, a Band-Aid; if we’re being honest with each other, that’s probably all he ever was.
Let’s go back in time 8 years shall we, and think of what made us fall in love with Captain Chaos. He was “one of us” he wasn’t a super athlete, he wasn’ the big name arrogant “soldier” that Kellen Winslow was. He was the TE no one was talking about in the draft. But he was the perfect Redskin…He was a classic Gibbs’ guy. A bring your lunch bucket to work kind of player with heart, character, and talent. What a coup it was for us to land Sean Taylor AND Chris Cooley. What a steal. (is now a good time to remind people that we had to trade a 2nd round pick to secure the rights to Cooley?).
And Cooley found his groove toward the tail end of 2004, becoming the safety valve for the always timid Patrick Ramsey; on a team that had Taylor Jacobs as the #3 WR. Well of course, you’re going to put up strong numbers in that situation.
For the next few years, Cooley was the rock of Gibbs’ offense, an offense that repeatedly struggled to make it into the top 20. In other words, Cooley was among the best of a pretty bleak situation. Again, because he was “one of us” we put him on a pedestal maybe he never should have been on.
Like any Redskins fans who grew up in the 80s, I love Gibbs. Owe my fanhood in large part to him. But he’s gone and one of the poster children of his 2nd tenure has to go too.
Snider argues that two of the biggest reasons (if not the biggest) reasons for keeping Cooley are for PR purposes and because he steadies the team. This is what losing organizations do. Hold on to players for fear of the unknown.
You know what the best public relations for the Redskins would be? Winning. I love Cooley, love what he’s done for the team and for the community. But he’s as good as he’ll ever be now and it’s just not good enough to lead us to that next step. And the most dangerous thing we can do is hold on to him for one year too long at the expense of the progress of those who can lead us there.