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Just The Sports: So This Is Why He Wanted To Be Traded

Just The Sports

Thursday, October 05, 2006

So This Is Why He Wanted To Be Traded

Just two years into a seven-year contract worth $35 million, Laveranues Coles demanded a trade away from the Washington Redskins, who obliged Coles by sending him back to the team that had drafted him in exchange for Santana Moss. Coles had signed the free-agent deal after a breakout 2002 season, which coincided nicely with Chad Pennington's first season of significant starting time, where he had 89 receptions for 1,264 yards and 5 touchdowns. Coles reproduced a similar 2003 campaign: 82 receptions, 1,204 yards, and 6 touchdowns; however, in 2004 when Joe Gibbs's first year as a coach, Coles caught 90 balls, but averaged only 10.6 yards per catch, the lowest such total of his career. Whether this was the result of Gibbs's offense or a lingering toe injury did not matter as Coles simply wanted out.

In the first season after the trade, the request by Coles looked a little foolish. Chad Pennington, who has never started a full 16 games, only appeared in three games and Coles had to deal with being thrown balls by an extremely washed-up Vinny Testaverde and a quarterback who wasn't even impressing during his University of Wisconsin tenure in Brooks Bollinger. Understandably, playing with mediocre signal-callers resulted in a large drop off in Coles's production. He did manage 5 touchdowns, but he only had 845 receiving yards and ranked 43rd among 89 NFL receivers in defense-adjusted points above replacement (cumulative value) and and 57th in defense-adjusted value over average (value per play).

On the other side of the trade coin, Moss was having the best season of his career and flourishing under Joe Gibbs. At season's end, Moss had accumulated 1,483 receiving yards with 9 touchdowns for good measure. More importantly, Moss had the third-highest cumulative value and the fifth-highest value per play among his wide receiver brethren, making it seem as if he had gotten the better end of the deal in being traded.

Now, in the second season of the trade, Coles is reunited with a healthy Chad Pennington and is currently tied for 1st in receptions and is 2nd in receiving yards. Overall, he is 9th out of 70 wide receivers in cumulative value and 22nd in value per play.

It does need to be said that Santana Moss is 4th and 1st in those categories, but at least now Coles agreeing to go back to the Jets is starting to make sense.


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