The Jacksonville Jaguars were, not surprisingly, incredibly quiet during the first day of NFL Free Agency. The most exciting part of March 12 was when the Seattle Seahawks released halfback and return man Leon Washington. Almost immediately there was an outcry of support and desire from the fan base. “Bring Leon Home!” seemed to be the popular sentiment.
So, does Washington fit?
That question, more than anything else, is what needs to be answered. Ultimately, the answer is yes.
Washington is not a very good halfback. He only saw the field for 73 snaps in 2012 and only attempted 23 rushes, resulting in 83 yards. The 3.6 yard per carry average is by no means horrendous, but it pales in comparison to his major strength: kick returns.
Kick returns are a major deficiency for the Jaguars. They had a number of players, frequently signed and then dumped, returning kicks in 2012. Unfortunately, none of them really showed the flash that they were worth keeping around. Washington, however, would blow them all away. In Seattle, Washington averaged 28.9 yards per return on 30 returns in 2012. His long of 98 yards was his lone kickoff return for a touchdown…something the Jaguars haven’t done in almost a decade. He also averaged 8.9 yards per return on 45 punt returns.
It doesn’t appear that he is just a system man from Seattle, either. He is currently tied with Josh Cribbs for most career touchdown kick returns in NFL history, with eight. He is also tied with nine other players with most kick returns for touchdowns in one game in NFL history with two. He is also a special teams franchise record holder for both the New York Jets and Seahawks. He could do the same for Jacksonville.
Washington could be a special teams fit for the Jaguars. The Percy Harvin trade made him expendable and it could be to the Jaguars’ benefit. It very well could be time to “bring Leon home.” And no, it’s not just because he went to Florida State and from Jacksonville. That’s all just an added benefit.
– Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims