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Despite some strong signings, 3 things Redskins still need to address this offseason

Despite some strong signings, 3 things Redskins still need to address this offseason

It might seem impossible for an organization to be both highly functional yet at times in various stages of disarray, but the Redskins 2017 offseason has achieved that rare balance.

When the team dismissed Scot McCloughan in early March, expectations for the team plumetted.

A month later, the Redskins have addressed needs throughout the roster via free agency, with a few really strong signings mixed in.

Inking Zach Brown to a one-year deal on Monday likely adds a fifth new starter to the Washington defense, a unit that needed a significant overhaul from 2016.

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT

With Brown on board, combined with Terrelle Pryor at wideout and D.J. Swearinger at safety, the Redskins front office deserves credit for a smart and effective free agency period. That said, plenty remains to be done. Let's take a look:

1. Pay up — Signing Pryor should help offset the loss of DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon on the 'Skins offense, but the huge issue remains that Kirk Cousins is again set to play on a franchise tag. He did it in 2016, and broke his own single-season passing yards record. At some point, Washington must pay up to keep Cousins.

Bruce Allen told CSN at the annual league meetings that the team has options for 2018 with Cousins should a deal not get reached, but those options are outrageously expensive. Get a deal done with Cousins before the July 15th deadline, and this offseason will look like one of the best in recent memory, even with the ugly divorce from McCloughan.

2. Pick your nose — Coming into the 2017 offseason, defensive line needed the most work of any position group on the 'Skins. Even with the signings of Terrell McClain and Stacy McGee, defensive line remains the position group in need of the most work. The team is still yet to address the nose tackle position.

Asked about the position at the league meetings, Jay Gruden said, "Coach [Jim] Tomsula has assured me that he will find a nose guard, [and] he’ll make a nose guard. If you look at his track record, [and] you look at the nose guards [that] he’s had, none of them have been priority first-round draft choices. He’s made nose guards. He coaches that position extremely well, and I have faith that he’ll do that."

That's great in theory, but it's a lot for Washington to rely on. Perhaps the 'Skins can get a solid year from former first-round pick Phil Taylor, but that would be a big leap from his 2016 season, while Ziggy Hood returns for Washington after a solid if unspectacular 2016 season. It seems free agency is largely done after the Brown signing, but Washington still has 10 draft picks, and must continue to build on the defensive line to field both a better team in 2017 and beyond. 

3. Get deep — Unlike the D-line, the Redskins offensive line is arguably the best position group on the team. With two Pro Bowlers in Trent Williams and Brandon Scherff, not to mention Morgan Moses and Spencer Long, four of the 'Skins five O-line spots have strong players. Shawn Lauvao was not a strong player in 2016, and though he battled injuries, the 'Skins could upgrade at left guard. It's likely the team brings back Lauvao, and he has played well in spots with Washington. Still, among the 10 draft picks later this month, Bruce Allen would be wise to continue to fortify the offensive line. At the very least, the team absolutely needs a backup center.

RELATED: LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS

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Report: 'There isn't a real price that will make Kirk Cousins happy' with Redskins

Report: 'There isn't a real price that will make Kirk Cousins happy' with Redskins

Following a slew of reports that cast doubt on the Redskins reaching a long-term deal with Kirk Cousins, ESPN's Dianna Russini tweeted Tuesday that the impass is not about money. 

If the report is true, then Washington has run out of good options for retaining Cousins in the long term.

It's possible the team could use a third-straight franchise tag to keep him next season, but the price tag around $34 million would be astronomical for one season.

The transition tag would be worth in the neighborhood of $28 million. 

Russini doesn't elaborate on the reasons behind her report that Cousins wouldn't be happy in Washington regardless of price. But it's important to note that both teams and players have incentive to create leverage in contract negotiations through the media. 

The Redskins have until July 17 to reach a long-term deal with Cousins. 

MORE REDSKINS: Backup center again a question mark for the Redskins

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Redskins 2017 depth chart preview: Interior offensive line

Redskins 2017 depth chart preview: Interior offensive line

Over the next few weeks, Rich Tandler will take a position-by-position look at the Redskins’ 2017 depth chart as the team enjoys some R&R ahead of training camp. Some positions are easy to handicap. Others have moving parts and, thus, are more complex. So, who’s in? And who’s in trouble?

Up today…

Position: Interior offensive line

On the roster: Guards Shawn Lauvao, Brandon Scherff, Arie Kouandjio, Tyler Catalina, Kyle Kalis, Isaiah Williams; Centers Spencer Long, Chase Roullier, Ronald Patrick

Locks: Lauvao, Scherff, Kouandjio, Long

As noted here this morning, there seemed to be a pretty good chance that Lauvao would be on his way out. But free agency and the draft went by and no serious challenger for him was acquired. It looks like they will let him play out the last year of his free agent contract and then see what they want to do with him next year when he will be a 30-year-old free agent.

RELATED: 3 Redskins who are up, 3 down

The Redskins might like Kouandjio, going into his third season, to emerge as a viable option as Lauvao’s successor. He was not up to the task in a couple of spot starts last year. But, just like Lauvao, he can take some comfort in the fact that the organization did not expend any major resources on bringing in another guard for competition.

Scherff went to the Pro Bowl in his second year in the league. He will be a fixture at right guard for the next decade or so, provided the Redskins can figure out a way to get a third high-priced offensive lineman under the salary cap (in addition to tackles Trent Williams and Morgan Moses).

Long did a solid job in his first year as the starting center. He will anchor the line again this year. He is eligible for a contract extension and it will be interesting to see if talks heat up between now and training camp.

On the bubble: Roullier

In an ideal Redskins world, the rookie sixth-round pick would be able to learn center and both guard spots well enough to be a workable fill-in on game days. In the real world, that may not work. During minicamp, offensive line coach Bill Callahan told me that while he had been impressed with how well Roullier had picked things up so far, the real test will come with the pads on in Richmond.

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins 53-man roster projection, defense

Long shots: Catalina, Kalais, Williams, Patrick

You never know what will happen during the preseason but it seems that the practice squad is the best hope for any of these guys to be around Ashburn in the fall. If injury or issues with Roullier’s development create a hole in the depth chart in the 53-man roster the organization is likely to go outside to find help off the waiver wire. Two or three on this list are likely to be back for another shot in 2018.  

Redskins 2017 depth chart previews: Offensive tackle | Wide receiver

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.