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Big-name RBs set for free agency, but will the Redskins pursue Adrian Peterson or Jamaal Charles?

Big-name RBs set for free agency, but will the Redskins pursue Adrian Peterson or Jamaal Charles?

Fantasy football players from five years ago would be shocked, though in 2017, the pending release of running backs Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles should bring with it little surprise. Both players hit incredible highs during their careers, but some time has passed since for both guys, and it makes business sense for their teams to move on. 

Peterson will be 32 when Week 1 comes around this fall, and has basically missed two of the last three seasons for the Vikings. In 2016, he suffered another knee injury, and while he has proven his ability to come back from surgeries, the years are adding up. 

Charles will be 30 for Week 1, and has started just five games over the last two seasons while he dealt with injuries.

At one point, the case could be made for either player as the best running back in football, but that ship has likely sailed.

In Washington,  Robert Kelley emerged as the No. 1 RB last fall, and rushed for more than 700 yards in just nine starts. Jay Gruden said that Kelley will remain the top runner in the 'Skins offense in 2017, and players like Matt Jones, Mack Brown remain on the roster while Chris Thompson is expected back from restricted free agency. 

Still, the Redskins have no dominant running back. Could they make a run for Peterson or Charles?

It seems unlikely. Scot McCloughan has made clear he prefers to add players via the draft instead of free agency. And the GM is known not to like to spend money on players 30 and older. 

Both players have signed large contracts in their careers, so it would seem like they will set their sights on a team with Super Bowl aspirations. Sure, the Redskins could make a deep playoff run, there are always surprises in the NFL, but that would be unexpected, even with Kirk Cousins back at quarterback.

Then there is the offensive system. Peterson is a volume back that's not a great pass blocker. That just doesn't sound like a fit in the Washington system. Charles excelled in the pass game, and would make more sense for the Redskins, but still seems like a long shot.

This offseason is crucial for the Burgundy and Gold. Cementing their quarterback position remains the highest priority. The organization put the exclusive tag on Kirk Cousins, perhaps meaning a long-term deal will get worked out. The team also must really work to rebuild their defense. Spending on a big-name, veteran running back just doesn't seem like it fits the team's list of needs. 

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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How playing at Alabama may have actually hurt Jonathan Allen's draft stock

How playing at Alabama may have actually hurt Jonathan Allen's draft stock

For the past few seasons, Jonathan Allen was a stud at the heart of Alabama's defense. He was far from the only stud, however, and that might be another factor in why he slipped to the Redskins at pick No. 17 on Thursday night.

The chief concern about Allen is the health of his shoulders, but there's also the question of how he'll do when he's no longer with Nick Saban's star-laden unit. It's easy to succeed when you're a part of a loaded ensemble cast, the thinking might've gone when it came to Allen, but how will you do on your solo project?

In addition to Allen, the Crimson Tide featured Marlon Humphrey (who went 16th to the Ravens), Reuben Foster (who went 31st to the 49ers) and others, like Tim Williams, Dalvin Tomlinson and Ryan Anderson, all of whom could go in Friday's second and third rounds. Together, that's a tremendous defense, but in the NFL, they'll be striking out on their own.

MORE REDSKINS: NORMAN, COUSINS, OTHERS WELCOME ALLEN TO D.C.

That's another possible explanation for why the Redskins were able to nab what was almost a consensus top-five prospect so late in the event.

"He's a really talented pass rusher but he's always been surrounded by enough talent that it's been hard for offenses to game plan their protection for him," one NFC director of player personnel told NFL.com.

Now, it's not like Allen is joining a bunch of nobodies in Washington. Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith and Zach Brown will also be lining up with him in Greg Manusky's front-seven. Oh, and Allen is no slouch either — the list of his strengths in this particular scouting report contains words like "superior," "proficient," "consistent" and "excellent."

But it is probably fair to say that, comparatively speaking, the rookie won't be amongst as many skilled guys as he was in college. By rushing to the podium to snag him, however, the Redskins clearly expect him to handle the NFL transition just fine.

RELATED: REDSKINS REPORTEDLY LOOKING TO TRADE ONE OF THEIR OWN    

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Dalvin Cook, Joe Mixon could be out of reach for Redskins per oddsmakers

Dalvin Cook, Joe Mixon could be out of reach for Redskins per oddsmakers

Florida State running back Dalvin Cook visited Redskins Park earlier this month. The Redskins did their homework on Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon in advance of the draft.

All of that pre-draft work might not matter though as Cook and Mixon will be off the board before the Redskins pick in the second round. At least according to oddsmakers.

Bovada.lv set over/under scenarios for both players. Cook lands at 38.5 and Mixon landed at 42.5.

[Related: Top end talent still available for Redskins in second round, but red flags remain]

Certainly both guys can go past the numbers established by the oddsmakers, but there's a reason drinks are free in Las Vegas. Oddsmakers tend to be very, very close when they set lines.

Considering that, if Washington wants either player, the team would likely have to trade up.

Much speculation has Cook the first player off the board to the Packers with the 33rd pick. It seems like a good fit.

[Related: Casserly says that Jonathan Allen is a more talented player than Solomon Thomas]

Mixon is more interesting. His loathsome action a few years back that was caught on video will continue to haunt him, but he will get drafted in the second round. He has the talent.

Bruce Allen has the capital to make a move. The team has nine more picks in the next six rounds. There's also the report that the team is shopping third-year pro Matt Jones.

Could a package of Jones and a late round pick entice a trade? It could.

Much like Thursday night, there will be plenty to watch Friday night.

More Redskins: Need to know: Five possible second and third round picks for the Redskins