Fred Davis was supposed to be one of the top free agent tight ends on the market. A season-ending Achillies injury altered those plans, but Davis may be ready to return sooner rather than later. Davis is ahead of schedule in his recovery from the ruptured left Achillies tendon, according to a report from Mike Jones of the Washington Post.
The 27-year-old Davis suffered the injury in Week 7 against the New York Giants. After a breakout season in 2011, many expected Davis to develop into one of the elite tight ends last season. Washington thought highly enough of Davis to use the franchise tag on him last offseason. The Redskins aren't likely to do the same this season as they are taking a wait-and-see approach.
The Redskins are reportedly interested in retaining Davis, but are hesitant to sign him to a long-term deal coming off such a serious injury. As Kevin Ewoldt of Hogs Haven wrote, Davis' free agency is a bit abnormal. The Redskins will want to wait to see how the recovery process continues, but doing so could put them at risk of losing Davis.
The 2013 crop of free agent tight ends is one of the deeper groups in recent history. That fact could diminish the market for Davis, which would likely help the Redskins effort to re-sign him. If Davis is unable to land a long-term contract on the open market, he could return to Washington on a one-year "prove it" contract. A long-term deal can't be ruled out completely, although, it may be an incentive-based package.
Regardless of where he plays next season, Davis' recovery has him on track to make an impact next season.