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Need to Know: Assessing the Redskins' pending free agents

Need to Know: Assessing the Redskins' pending free agents

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, March 6, three days before the March 9 start of NFL free agency.  

Timeline

Days until:

—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 42
—NFL Draft (4/27) 52
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 131
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 188

Assessing the Redskins' free agents

The Redskins have 12 unrestricted free agents on their roster. With free agency coming this week, let’s take a look and separate them in to three categories.

Looking at big bucks

In this group are WR DeSean Jackson, WR Pierre Garçon, and defensive tackle Chris Baker. They will have plenty of options including the Redskins and they are likely to be signed sometime in the first few days of free agency. Baker seems to be the most likely to stay at about 50-50. I’ll go with about a 25 percent chance on Garçon sticking around with Jackson holding about a 10 percent chance, maybe less.

The second tier

These are guys who likely will wait for the first flurry of signings to pass before the phone starts ringing for them. Some think that the Redskins could wrap up TE Vernon Davis fairly early but he didn’t sign with them last year until March 31. He could take his time and look around for a better deal.

The Redskins may want C John Sullivan to stay around as a backup to Spencer Long but he will be looking for a starting job. He will turn 32 during training camp and perhaps other teams in need of starters might want to go to a bit younger so there’s a chance who will be back.

S Duke Ihenacho managed to stay healthy for the first time in his three seasons with the team and he started 10 games. The Redskins will try to add safety help in both the draft and in free agency. He might not be back in Washington but he should find work somewhere.

ILB Terence Garvin played in 16 games but only got 58 snaps on defense. He was a good special tams contributor but the team might want someone who can at least contribute a regular role on defense.

It’s possible that CB Greg Toler will get a contract but his roster spot would be far from guaranteed.

Likely on the way out

DL Kedric Golston is the longest-tenured Redskin but it’s hard to see the soon to be 34-year-old, who missed most of last year with a torn hamstring, getting a contract. Last year Golston’s absence led to elevated playing time for DL’s Ziggy Hood and Cullen Jenkins. Hood, who just turned 30, has a better chance of returning than Jenkins, who is 36. But it wouldn’t be surprising if neither returns.

Injuries and other players’ ineffectiveness led to S Donte Whitner starting nine games after coming off the street in Week 5. It seems unlikely that he will be back but if the Redskins can’t solve their perpetual safety problems you never know.

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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Redskins Playbook: 3 under-the-radar players who could make big impact

Redskins Playbook: 3 under-the-radar players who could make big impact

Much of the Redskins offseason has been focused on players like Josh Norman and Kirk Cousins, or the addition of guys like Terrelle Pryor and Zach Brown. Further down the roster, however, is where games are won. Here's a look at three players that will have the opportunity to make a big impact in 2017.

  1. Kendall Fuller - Let's be honest: the second-year Hokie had a tough rookie year. He started the season injured, and probably wasn't all the way up to speed when he began playing Week 4. Early on he produced at a good level for a rookie, but quickly, the league saw how to beat him. In a November game against the Vikings, Fuller repeatedly got beat on the inside by Vikings wideout Stefon Diggs. After that, the Redskins coaching staff looked elsewhere for a slot corner. 2017 is a new season, and Fuller will be a full year removed from his knee injury. He still has good vision and hips, an NFL pedigree, and should have the first crack at the slot corner role. If he can produce like many expected from him in 2015 - when he was an assumed first-round pick - Fuller could make a big difference for the Washington defense. Third round draft pick Fabian Moreau might also push for snaps at corner, once he gets healthy. 
  2. Stacy McGee - A new addition to the defense, McGee might be the answer Redskins fans want at nose tackle. Last season was by the far the best of McGee's career, and he emerged as a strong run stopper in Oakland. With his frame, and Jim Tomsula's coaching, McGee might play a big role this fall. His biggest hurdle? Staying healthy. In four seasons in the NFL, McGee has only played 16 games one season. Last year, he was limited to just nine games.
  3. Spencer Long - A free agent at the end of the season, Long comes in to 2017 looking to prove he can be a top tier center in the NFL. He excelled in pass blocking and calling the assignments on the Redskins line, but his run blocking could improve this fall. The literal centerpiece of a strong, young 'Skins line, 2017 will be a big opportunity for Long. Don't forget Washington moved up to draft Chase Roullier from Wyoming in the 6th round, and he played center and guard in college. Life in the NFL always has pressure, and Long will be facing some.

Always something on social: Enjoy the weekend folks.

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Who will surprise, who will play NT

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Who will surprise, who will play NT

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, May 27, 17 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp on June 13.

Timeline

It’s been 146 days since the Redskins played a game. Their season opener against the Eagles at FedEx Field is in 106 days.

Days until:

—Redskins minicamp (6/13) 17
—Training camp starts (7/27) 61
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 75

The Redskins week that was

Here are some of the most popular post from the last week on www.CSNmidatlantic.com and on www.RealRedskins.com

How well will the Redskins' defense adjust to six new starters? The Redskins unquestionably got an infusion of defensive talent but as we have seen in the past that does not guarantee better results. Throw a new defensive coordinator into the mix and it could take some time for this unit to reach its full potential. I think that there will be struggles early in the season and a better (but not dominant) unit by the time November rolls around.

Which Redskins will surprise in 2017? Every player carries expectations into the season. Some will be better than we believe right now (think of what many thought Vernon Davis would do last year) and some will play worse (Josh Doctson). I take out the crystal ball to figure out who will exceed expectations and who will fall below them.

Don't count out 3rd straight franchise tag for Cousins—Yes, Bruce Allen said that he is willing to franchise tag Kirk Cousins for a third time next year, a move that would cost $34 million for one season. But I think that’s a total bluff; the Redskins’ salary cap situation for 2018 would make such a move very difficult for them to pull off. The best hope for Cousins being a Redskin in 2018 is getting him signed to a long-term contract by July 15 of this year. The tone of the conversation regarding a new deal has been positive lately but the team must come up with a serious offer for a deal to happen.

For Redskins, finding a nose tackle needs to be a priority—Well, it’s up to Jim Tomsula to “make” a nose tackle. Phil Taylor is a true NT and he will get a shot. But he hasn’t played a snap since 2014. Undrafted free agent Ondre Pipkins also has nose tackle size at 6-3, 325. But he is a long shot, as are the Redskins’ chances of being significantly better against the run if they don’t find someone, anyone to be an adequate solution as the nose tackle.

Did Vernon Davis make the NFL change celebration rules? Although I prefer the John Riggins way of celebrating a touchdown—hand the ball to the referee because you’ve been in the end zone before and you expect to be back again soon—elaborate celebrations don’t bother me. After a TD in a game I’m covering I’m focused on writing about the scoring drive. When I’m watching at home, my attention goes to Twitter or to the refrigerator. I do think that it was dumb for the Redskins to lose 15 yards of field position because Vernon Davis put a jump shot over the crossbar so that’s why I’m glad that the NFL changed the celebration rules.

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.