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Free Agency: Who's left, tight end edition

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Free Agency: Who's left, tight end edition

Now that salary cap-gate 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 and wide receiver options. Now, the tight ends.
We all know the deal here - though that doesn't mean you should not read Tandler's depth chartassessment. Barring a failed drug test, Fred Davis is the tight end on the Redskins and a top 10 league-wide option. Depending on his health or the team's salary cap scenario, Chris Cooley is option 1A or a financial casualty. Logan Paulsen is the top blocker, but offers limited upside while the promising Niles Paul tries to change position on the fly. However, shouldthere be a change at the top of the depth chart orthe coaching staff decidemore bodies are needed, here are some of the names the Redskins could be calling on.In order, these candidates could be considered specific replacements for Davis, Cooley, Paulsen or should they want an H-Back option to pair with FB Darrel Young.Jeremy Shockey: I know, I know, adding thebrash former Giants and Saints starmighthave some burgundy and gold supporters feeling rather queasy, fair enough. And yes, the 31-year-old no longer has linebackers and defensive backs shaking in their cleats. Last season while sharing the tight end role with the Panthers, Shockey finished with a career-low 37 receptions, but his 12.3 ypc average ranked as the second best of his career and his four touchdowns were his most since 2006. Going down this path would mean Davis suffered an injury or chose unwisely at thefork in the road.Visanthe Shiancoe: No longer needed in Minnesota with the emergence of Kyle Rudolph (and subsequent signing of John Carlson), the Vikings cut ties with their 31-year-old veteran this offseason. Shiancoe's 2011 stats (36-409)represented his lowest numbers over the past four seasons, but the 6-foot-4, 250 pounder remains a steady option which is why the Cowboys and Jets are rumored to sniffing around as the search for backup options.John Gilmore:The 32-year-old blocker played for the Saints last season, but was with the Bucs under Raheem Morris and current tight end coach Sean McVay.Kris Wilson: The eight-year veteran did theH-Back and special teamer thing for the Ravens last season.Others: Bo Scaife, Reggie Kelly, Donald Lee

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Need to Know: Redskins OT Ty Nsekhe unlikely to go anywhere

Need to Know: Redskins OT Ty Nsekhe unlikely to go anywhere

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, February 20, 17 days before the March 9 start of NFL free agency.  

Timeline

Days until:

—NFL Franchise tag deadline (3/1) 9
—NFL Combine (3/2) 10
—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 56
—NFL Draft (4/27) 66
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 202

More free agency quick hitters

Ty Nsekhe not going anywhere There seems to be some confusion as to Ty Nsekhe’s free agent status. Some websites have him as a restricted free agent. But from what I can tell he will be an exclusive rights free agent. You need to have three accrued seasons to be a RFA. Nsekhe has two seasons from the last two years here but he came to the Redskins without any. He did appear in two games for the Rams in 2012 but he wasn’t on the roster long enough to accrue a season. This means that the Redskins will bring him back, probably on a one-year, minimum salary contract.

More Redskins: NFL Mock Draft 3.0

Thompson, Compton restricted The Redskins third-down back and Mike linebacker are restricted free agents as they each have three accrued seasons in Washington. The Redskins can tender them one-year contracts and then they can go out and solicit offer sheets that Washington would have an opportunity to match. RFA’s rarely end up changing teams so they both likely will be back.

Duke Ihenacho back? He played in 15 games at safety last year, starting 10. His play was competent in may respects but had the most missed tackles in the team, 15, despite being 10th on the team in snaps played. The coaches were reluctant to use him sometimes because he tended to freelance. Ihenacho will be an unrestricted free agent and I haven’t heard much talk about his status. That’s kind of unusual for a guy who started 10 games. If I had to guess I’d say he’s not going to return but that’s just a hunch.

Cousins to tag and sign? Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports said that he believes that Kirk Cousins will get the franchise tag by March 1 and then “I suspect Cousins has a long-term deal with Washington agreed to.” I’m not sure what will happen between March 1 and July 15 that would get the Redskins to make a better offer or that would get the Cousins camp to lower their demands. But July 15 deals do happen so we’ll see. I’ll stick with my belief that if a long-term deal is not done by March 1 it won’t get done at all.

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In case you missed it

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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Offseason questions: Can the Redskins trust Dustin Hopkins at kicker?

Offseason questions: Can the Redskins trust Dustin Hopkins at kicker?

The good news for the 2016 Redskins was that they didn’t collapse after winning the division the previous season as has been their pattern in the past. The bad news was that they didn’t take the next step and improve from a franchise that can compete to make the playoffs into one that is playing multiple postseason games year in and year out.

That work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players. In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will examine the biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.

RELATED: #RedskinsTalk podcast: It's tag day

Can the Redskins trust Dustin Hopkins at kicker?

Finlay: Nick Novak. Graham Gano. Shaun Suisham. That's just a recent list of kickers the Redskins gave up on too early. 

Dustin Hopkins missed a couple of important kicks in 2016, especially after a very strong start to the year, but with a powerful leg and a sharp mindset he should absolutely be the 'Skins kicker in 2017. In two seasons with Washington, Hopkins has made 84 percent of his field goals and 95 percent of his extra points. Don't forget he routinely puts kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks too.

Yes, Hopkins missed a game winner against the Bengals and other important kicks later in the year. That happened. Missed kicks are a part of life in the NFL. Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski missed an extra point in the Super Bowl. 

At 6-foot-2 and just 26 years old, Hopkins is young and athletic. Of 70 career field goal attempts, Hopkins has missed 11 times. Of the misses, six of them came from 50+ yards. In 31 games, Jay Gruden has proven he trusts Hopkins to attempt long kicks. The 'Skins would be well served to stick with the young kicker.

Tandler: 

Finding a quarterback may be the most difficult, least scientific task that NFL organizations must undertake. Deciding when to let go of a struggling kicker is second.

There are plenty of strong legs out there spending hours every day kicking on high school fields in hopes of getting an NFL tryout. But being successful as a kicker is as much about what is above the shoulders as it is what’s below the waist. It appears Hopkins had a mental slump last year but he came back to finish strong.

Hopkins started the year making 14 of his first 15 field goal attempts, with the miss coming in the wind in Baltimore. But then in the dome in Detroit he just missed a 45-yard try and that set off a slump where he missed five of 15 field goal tries. He pulled it back together and missed just two of his final nine kicks, one of them a “why not” 57-yard try at the end of the first half against the Giants.

So, it was more of a slump than a bad year for Hopkins. He continued to pound the ball into the end zone, finishing tied for fourth in touchback percentage. I would understand if they brought in some competition for him during training camp but it will be a major upset if he is not the Week 1 kicker.

More offseason questions: 

What are reasonable expectations for Josh Doctson?

— Will there be a surprise salary cap cut?

— Should the Redskins defense switch to the 4-3?

— Is Spencer Long the answer at center?

— How many D-linemen do the Redskins need?

— Should the Redskins draft another QB? 

— With Sean McVay gone, will the Redskins run the ball more?

— Can Cravens handle the transition to safety? 

— Will the Redskins re-sign Pierre Garçon? 

Will Rob Kelley be the lead running back in 2017?

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!