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And just like that, the Nate Washington Era is over. It started innocently enough a few years ago when Bill Cowher signed the undrafted free agent to a contract as a project; four seasons, 12 touchdowns and two Super Bowls later, #85 is moving on to the Tennessee Titans for the bargain price of $27 million over six years, with $9 million guaranteed. He's the first member of the SB43 Steelers to officially defect to another team, with Bryant McFadden following closely behind.

Washington was always a bit of an enigma; he was certainly an overachiever, as he was the only Tiffin product to ever reach the NFL. On the other hand, his somewhat inconsistent hands always kept us wondering what could be.

In 2008, Washington posted career-highs in catches (40) and yards (631) while delivering a number of game-breaking plays. But he's not worth the money he'll be making, and they already have a replacement lined up that could probably produce similar numbers given the opportunity. Consider that Washington has zero 100-yard receiving games in his career and add in the point that his playoff career highs are three catches and 30 yards. Is that worth $27 million? I didn't think so.

So now Washington becomes a Titan, where he'll catch passes from Kerry Collins and maybe even Vince Young if he's lucky. The Titans haven't exactly cranked out high-end wide receivers in past years, and their current situation is no different. Justin Gage led the team with a Washington-esque 651 yards in 2008, and tight end Bo Scaife topped all Titans with 58 catches. To say Tennessee needed to upgrade the position is an understatement, which means Washington should get ample opportunities to strut his stuff. Whether he can carry an increased responsibility in the passing game, however, is a question that might not have an easy answer.

Favorite Nate Washington stories/moments while in Pittsburgh? Well, you've got to start with his catch in the 2005-6 AFC Championship game in Denver, which opened my eyes simply by the fact that he was on the field in such a big game. There was that TD in the Ben-less Thursday night 2006 opener, a 2 TD game in a 2007 Monday night stomping of Baltimore, and that three-game stretch in 2008 that includes catches of 50, 50, and 65. And we also had the bar appearance at Wolfie's and supremely pimped ride to liven things up.

So congratulations to Nate for taking full advantage of his market and becoming the Ryan Malone of the NFL. And Pittsburghers, get ready, because it's officially Limas Time.

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1 comment:

SantoGold said...

Good for Nate. He ain't worth as much as they gave him, but still, good for him.