Here is what you need to know on this Monday, March 14, 45 days before the NFL Draft.
Are the Redskins done in free agency?
—Will the Redskins sign any more free agents this week? Or do they intend to go into the draft with what they have? I don’t think that they are done. In fact, I heard that there may be a signing this week, although I can’t confirm. But I see Scot McCloughan and the Redskins doing a near imitation of Ted Thompson and the Packers and staying away from free agent activity for the most part.
—Yes, there are still some needs. I can’t see them starting the season with DeAngelo Hall, Duke Ihenacho, and Kyshoen Jarrett at safety. If the whole draft is a crap shoot then landing a quality safety who can contribute right away is a Mega Millions kind of shot. They cashed that ticket with Jarrett last year and they can’t count on getting another one. They could benefit from upgrade at center. Another defensive line pickup is a possibility.
—McCloughan may wait a couple of months if he wants to do some free agent bargain hunting. Starting in mid May, players signed as free agents do not count against the compensatory picks the team can acquire in 2017. It doesn’t look like they are in line for a treasure trove of picks anyway as none of the free agents the Redskins lose will command a high draft pick. But if they lose a few and can massage it so that they can maybe pick up a fifth and a seventh, hey, those are a couple of picks that McCloughan can find players with.
—If you think that May is too late for the Redskins to find a quality free agent, just think back to last year. Two of their best free agent signings last year didn’t come until September. The defense was shaky as it was but it would have been worse without Will Blackmon and Mason Foster. They helped the Redskins survive the rash of injuries that hit at linebacker and cornerback. Foster will be back and while there apparently is competition for Blackmon’s services the chances of him returning look pretty good.
—I am going to expand on this in an article sometime in the next couple of weeks but I think that the Redskins defensive is not going to be a whole lot better this year than it was last year. They are going to have to win games with Cousins throwing the Jackson, Garçon, and Reed and, they hope, with a better rushing attack. They will draft a couple of defensive linemen and a couple of defensive backs and go through some growing pains. The unit will be competitive and improve as the year goes on but there will be plenty of growing pains.
—The Redskins last played a game 64 days ago. It will be about 181 days until they play another one.
—Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 35; 2016 NFL draft 45; Redskins training camp starts 136
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