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Need to Know: Examining the Redskins' pre-free agency depth chart

Need to Know: Examining the Redskins' pre-free agency depth chart

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, March 10, the day the Washington Redskins and the rest of the NFL start free agency. It officially gets underway at 4 p.m.

Depth chart pre-free agency

With free agency starting in just a few hours let’s take a look at the Redskins’ depth chart as is stands now. We’ll bookmark this and look back prior when we hit other milestones—the draft, the start of training camp, the start of the season—to compare and examine changes.

Starters in bold

Offense

QB: Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins
This is the spotlight position this year; it’s make or break for both of these players. A third QB will need to be acquired at some point.

RB: Alfred Morris, Darrel Young, Chris Thompson, Silas Redd
Morris and Young are going into the last year of their contracts and Redd and Thompson are very much unproven. If Roy Helu leaves as a free agent we can look for another back to be added in free agency or the draft.

WR: DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garçon, Andre Roberts, Ryan Grant
The team will need a wide receiver. We don’t know for certain how much interest there is in bringing back Santana Moss and/or Leonard Hankerson.

TE: Jordan Reed, Niles Paul, Logan Paulsen
Paul has re-signed. There has been chatter that they might try to replace Paulsen as the blocking tight end but there hasn’t been much movement at this point.

OL: Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Kory Lichtensteiger, Chris Chester, Tom Compton, Spencer Long, Morgan Moses, Josh LeRibeus, Tyler Larsen, Xavier Nixon
There probably won’t be as much change here between now and the start of the season as some would like. But there are likely to be some new faces and some competition for positions, especially on the right side. C Tyler Larsen and T Xavier Nixon are street free agent pickups who will be worth watching.

Defense

DL: Jason Hatcher, Stephen Paea, Chris Baker, Ricky Jean-Francois, Kedric Golston, Frank Kearse
This is just a guess at how they’d line up if the season started today; we will have to see what Joe Barry does with the scheme. They aren’t done here yet if Jarvis Jenkins leaves in free agency. There are a few intriguing prospects like NT Robert Thomas and the massive LaKendrick Ross (6-4, 350) to keep an eye on.

LB: Trent Murphy, Ryan Kerrigan, Perry Riley, Keenan Robinson, Will Compton, Adam Hayward, Jackson Jeffcoat, Steve Beauharnais
There is plenty of talk that the top draft choice will line up at outside linebacker so this could well change substantially. It will be interesting to see if the team tries to bring in veteran linebackers to bolster special teams like they did last year (Hayward, Akeem Jordan, Darryl Sharpton) or if they go with younger players like Jeffcoat.

DB: David Amerson, Bashaud Breeland, Phillip Thomas, Vacant, DeAngelo Hall, Tracy Porter, Akeem Davis, Duke Ihenacho
The Redskins need to find someone to line up at free safety and at least a Plan B in case Thomas can’t get it done at strong. Between free agency and the draft as many as five defensive backs could be added.

Specialists: PK Kai Forbath, P Tress Way, LS Nick Sundberg
Forbath is back on a restricted free agent tender so this is set, although it wouldn’t be surprising if a competitor for Forbath will be brought in. The team also could add a return specialist, an area that has been hurting for a few years.

Timeline

—It’s been 72 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 187 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 41; 2015 NFL Draft 51; Redskins training camp starts 142

If you have any questions about what's going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I'm always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Need to Know: Redskins' Cousins called a 'mercenary' and that's a good thing

Need to Know: Redskins' Cousins called a 'mercenary' and that's a good thing

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, February 24, 13 days before the March 9 start of NFL free agency.  

Timeline

Days until:

—NFL Franchise tag deadline (3/1) 5
—NFL Combine (3/2) 6
—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 52
—NFL Draft (4/27) 62
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 198

Friday quick hitters

What about Baker? I’m not sure what the Redskins’ thinking is regarding Chris Baker. As with all their other free agents the Redskins haven’t been in communication with Baker’s camp, waiting for the chance to scope out the market at the combine next week. I think that Baker’s fate will depend on cost. If they can get in for around $7 million or less, he stays. If the bidding pushes his deal up much higher than that I think he’s gone.

McCloughan’s status: It’s not exactly news that Scot McCloughan doesn’t have the full powers that many NFL GMs have. He has always been more of a super scout, in charge of stocking the roster. He is not frozen out when it comes to contracts and financial matters but they never have been his strong suit and they are best left to Bruce Allen and, particularly, Eric Schaffer.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 3.0

Anything new? So, was there much new in Jerry Brewer’s column in the Post yesterday? Given that the power structure has been in place for over two years now, it doesn’t appear that there was. Brewer essentially said it himself: “McCloughan isn’t necessarily losing power as much as he is having his lack of power revealed.” So during this past two years, while the team improved from 4-12 to playoff contention, things have been how they are now. Let me be clear, there were some disturbing insights in Brewer’s article such as the team’s lack of a response to a request for comment on Chris Cooley’s on-air musing about McCloughan’s alcohol consumption. But on how things work on the organizational chart at Redskins Park it’s been the same.

Who wants Kirk? We are at a point where the popular perception among the fans and media is that Allen is the one who will run Kirk Cousins out of town, either this year or next, while McCloughan and Jay Gruden are begging for him to stay. The narrative is that Allen is the bad buy and McCloughan is the good guy because that’s the way fans and some in the media perceive it. But I would pump the brakes on the notion that McCloughan is willing to pay whatever it takes to keep Cousins around. We haven’t heard from him this year but last year he said on multiple occasions that while he was interested in keeping Cousins around for the long haul the team needs to be careful not to give up too much of the salary cap to one player. That doesn’t sound like he’s all in on giving Cousins a blank check.

More Redskins: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice for his own good?

Cousins is right to go for the money: Some fans in my Twitter timeline are calling for Cousins to take less money from the Redskins to help Allen and McCloughan pay other players. That’s not happening, nor should it. Jim Trotter of ESPN referred to Cousins as a “mercenary” and he meant it in a positive way. What he is doing is using the NFL system to maximize his earnings potential. Look around at what has been happening around the NFL over the last few weeks, with players getting dumped when they are no longer of use to their teams—and instances of players getting cut will increase exponentially soon—and you should understand why there’s not anything wrong with a player getting as much money as he can while he can. If you add in the short careers they have and the risk that they might spend the last 40-plus years of your life having trouble getting out of bed every morning or sufferig from worse problems and you still don't get it, I can't help you. Cousins should get as much money as he can and it's the job of the team that voluntarily pays him that to figure out how to make it work around him. 

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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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Bucs QB Jameis Winston wants DeSean Jackson in Tampa

Bucs QB Jameis Winston wants DeSean Jackson in Tampa

Plenty of teams will line up for the services of soon to be free agent DeSean Jackson, but Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston made clear he wants D-Jax with the Bucs. 

"You better believe we want DeSean here," Winston told the the Tampa Bay Times. "I think he would be a great asset to our team. Me growing up an Eagles fan, seeing what he did for the Eagles and back in his Cal days and even with the Redskins, I would love to have DeSean."

Jackson has been clear he looks forward to the free agent process. He's only hit the open market once, and that was under inauspicious terms. The Eagles released Jackson well past the start of free agency in 2014, and the Redskins moved quickly to sign the speedster. 

In three seasons with the 'Skins, Jackson has been a solid teammate and strong player. In 37 starts for the Burgundy and Gold, Jackson has more than 2,700 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns. 

RELATED: DeSean Jackson wants to play for an elite QB

With elite speed and arguably the NFL's best ball tracker, Jackson makes sense for a lot of teams. Tampa, in particular, could use a deep threat to play alongside Mike Evans. Teamed with Winston, who has a strong arm and loves to go deep, the Bucs offense would be formidable. 

That does not mean Tampa is a sure thing.

While ESPN's Josina Anderson reported the Bucs could be a  "possible destination" for Jackson, Philadelphia has long been rumored to want him back. His old coach Andy Reid is in Kansas City. Former 'Skins offensive coordinator Sean McVay is now running the show in LA. For a player like Jackson, just about any potential destination could make sense. 

Like it almost always is in NFL free agency, guaranteed money will be a major factor in DeSean's decision. At 30 year's old and with a game reliant on speed and quickness, this could be the last big contract of Jackson's career. Odds are he will land a big deal, and the team with the biggest bag of cash may prove the most tempting. 

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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