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Free Agency: Who's left, linebacker edition

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Free Agency: Who's left, linebacker edition

Now that salary cap-gate is over, what's next for the Redskins 53-man roster. According to Rich Tandler - and without factoring in potential savings by cutting certain veterans - there is around 3.8 million left to play with, some of which goes toward signing the remaining draft picks. So, what should the Shanahan's do with that remaining coin? Considering the free agent options remaining are your rank and file types, there are few must-have players. Regardless, you never know what happens between now and the start of training camp and the regular season. That is why we're compiling this list of the viable and rainy day options among remaining NFL free agents. So far, we focused on the available offensive tackleline, running back, defensive back, wide receiver, tight end and defensive line. We wrap up the series with the linebackers.
As Tandler noted in hisdepth chart analysis, the outside options may already be set with Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan leading the way. I am thinking the same could be said on the inside now that the Redskins drafted Keenan Robinson, moved Lorenzo Alexander over the from outside and signed free agent Jonathan Goff. Add in Bryan Kehl as a reservespecial teamer and you could say the Redskins have already hit the secondary free agent market. Therefore, unlike the offensive line and secondary (maybe receiver and tight end), consider the following names to be emergency options only. E.J. Henderson: Everyone knows the former Maryland star does that tackling thing well, though has done so typically as a middle linebacker during his nine seasons with the Vikings. Started 32 games the past two seasons for Minnesota, racking up 107 tackles in 2011. Will get scooped up sooner or later, though he turns 32 in August.Channing Crowder: The former Dolphin sat out last season, claiming retirement. Now there is talk of a comeback. At just 28, why not. The six-year veteran has 74 career starts, but has not played a full season since 2006. The year off likely helped with the bumps and bruises. Brandon Johnson: Served as a key OLB reserve for the Bengals last season after starting 12 games over the previous three campaigns in Cincinnati. The 29-year-old recently worked out for the Steelers.Others: Ernie Sims, Travis LaBoy, Xavier AdibiAnd yes, Rocky McIntosh is still available, but no way he comes back as long as the Redskins run a 3-4 scheme. As an outside linebacker, he's the best of the rest. Just not a good fit in Ashburn.Ben Standig blogs about the Redskins, Wizards, Hoyas and the D.C.area college basketball scene for CSNwashington. You can reach him by email at bstandig@comcast.net, follow him on Twitter @BenStandig and catch his musings at the D.C. Sportalist.

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Redskins 2017 training camp preview—defense

Redskins 2017 training camp preview—defense

RICHMOND— The Redskins will assemble here tomorrow to get ready to get ready for the 2017 season. There are plenty of position competitions and other storylines. Here is a look at what we at CSN will be paying attention to. The key points on offense were published earlier; here’s a look at the defense.

Rebuilding the line

In a way, the situation on the D-line is similar to the one at wide receiver in that free agency and a release has created some holes. Chris Baker, the team’s best defensive lineman last year, left for Tampa Bay as a free agent and Ricky Jean Francois, arguably the second-best DL last year, was cut.

This is not all bad news. The wide receivers were one of the strengths of the team. The D-line was one of the weak spots so perhaps doing some major renovating there is just what the unit needs.

RELATED: Redskins 53-man roster projection, defense

The big move was one they really hadn’t planned on. Defensive end Jonathan Allen was projected by many to be a top-10 draft pick. But he slipped right into the Redskins’ lap with the 17th pick. He gets to work on Thursday and the sooner he can get up to NFL speed the better. They also signed two free agents in Stacy McGee and Terrell McClain and they re-signed Ziggy Hood. As with Allen, their roles will be determined over the course of the next few weeks of practice and during the preseason games.

Nobody knows who is going to end up playing nose tackle. It could be McGee, Hood, former first-round pick Phil Taylor or one of the 2016 practice squad members, Joey Mbu or A. J. Francis. The fact that there is no obvious candidate is troubling and perhaps a sign that the line will show only marginal improvement this year.

Starters at ILB

The Redskins got an upgrade here late in free agency with the signing of Zach Brown, who was last seen playing in the Pro Bowl for the Bills. How he fits in with incumbent starters Will Compton and Mason Foster remains to be seen. All three are likely to earn substantial playing time and who plays in what situation will be sorted out here in Richmond.

MORE REDSKINS: Ranking the Redskins roster, 11-20

Adjustments at safety

The Redskins could be set at safety for the next several seasons. Or they could be scrambling to make adjustments by midseason. Su’a Cravens moves to strong safety from outside linebacker. He may be a step slower than the ideal for his position and he needs to make up for it by being, as he likes to say, assignment perfect. The Redskins signed D. J. Swearinger, who has been a strong safety for most of his career, to play free safety.

When the dust settles, they could be the best safety tandem the Redskins have had in years. Or they could be showing the effects of trying to put square pegs into round holes.

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.

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Redskins announce PepsiCo is their new beverage and snack partner

Redskins announce PepsiCo is their new beverage and snack partner

Think the Redskins need a little extra luck this season? Well they're gonna get it in the form of Tostitos chips. 

Thats right. The Redskins announced today that they signed a long-term agreement with PepsiCo to be their exclusive beverage and snack partner. 

[Related: Redskins 2017 Training Camp Preview - Offense]

That means in addition to the Redskins now providing Pepsi products at games, Pepsi and Tostitos will have unique Redskins packaging in the DMV area this fall. The Tostitos chips will come in "lucky" bags that were packaged while somebody played the Redskins fight song during their production.

If Washington wins the NFC East this year then you'll surely know who you can attribute that triumph to. 

“PepsiCo is a world-class organization with a deep and unique understanding of the NFL and its fans,” said Redskins Owner Daniel Snyder. “We’re thrilled to bring PepsiCo’s wide array of popular beverage and food brands -- as well as new and engaging experiences -- to our fans.”

More Redskins: 5 forgotten names to remember for training camp