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Need to Know: Five free agent cornerback possibilities for the Redskins

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Need to Know: Five free agent cornerback possibilities for the Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, January 28, 100 days before the NFL Draft.

Nickel coverage

With three of their top four cornerbacks set to become free agents the Redskins will almost certainly be in the market for a free agent corner. Here are five that may fit the Redskins’ needs and budget.

1. Alterraun Verner, TEN—The Redskins could go one of two routes at cornerback. They might sign an older corner for a year or two as a stopgap until a draft pick can play there or they could sign a younger player for the long term. Verner fits into the latter category. The Pro Bowler is 25 and won’t turn 26 until late this season and he’s gotten better every year.

2. Captain Munnerlyn, CAR—He’s would be another one in the younger, long-term category (turns 26 in April). The former seventh-round pick has worked his way into the Panthers’ starting lineup and, like Verner, he has improved every year. Last year he had two interception returns for touchdowns and three sacks.

3. Antoine Cason, ARIZ—We’re starting to get into the older, stopgap category here although Cason turns just 28 before training camp. The Chargers let their former first-round pick walk in free agency a year ago and there was plenty of talk of the Redskins picking him up. Instead he signed a one-year deal with the Cardinals so he’s back on the market again.

4. Mike Jenkins, OAK—The Cowboys’ former first-round pick is pretty good when he’s on the field. That wasn’t an issue last year when he played all 16 games after signing with the Raiders. But he missed games his last two seasons in Dallas with back, knee, and hamstring injuries. Jenkins turns 29 in March.

5. Richard Marshall, SD—He will turn 30 late in the season and if he doesn’t sign back with the Chargers he could be with his fifth team in five years. Marshall has stayed healthy for the most part, playing in 16 games in seven of his eight NFL seasons. Certainly he would be a stopgap but if the Redskins need a nickel back and a part-time starter Marshall could fill the bill.

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Timeline

—It’s been 30 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 222 days until they play another one.

—Days until: NFL Combine 22; NFL Free agency starts 42; Offseason workouts start 69; NFL Draft 100

In case you missed it

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Redskins Draft Room Revealed: Who works the phones, and who makes the call

Redskins Draft Room Revealed: Who works the phones, and who makes the call

Since the dismissal of former general manager Scot McCloughan, there's been little question who was in charge at Redskins Park. Unofficially anyway. 

Bruce Allen is back running the show, if he ever stopped, and will be at the center of the Redskins draft room and decision making process.

For weeks, Allen and Jay Gruden made clear that the entire Redskins front office - from scouts to the top brass - have input on draft grades. Those grades will determine what players the 'Skins take, and the team is unlikely to deviate from their draft board. 

On Monday, however, Washington director of college scouting Scott Campbell addressed the media and explained that when a decision needs to be made, it will be Allen's call. 

From Campbell:

The way we have the room when the draft is ongoing is we have Eric Schaffer and Alex Santos are constantly calling teams above us. They’re taking the phone calls from the other teams – also behind [us]. A lot of times per Bruce’s instructions, he’ll say, ‘Hey, you take these five teams. You take the next five teams. Start making calls.’ And then we’re receiving calls too at the same time. Once they get that information, they’ll tell the table in the front and say, ‘Hey, we can trade back for this, we can trade up for that.’ It would be me and Bruce and Jay saying ‘No, no, we’ve got enough guys there’ or say ‘I like these guys,’ or like, “Hey, there’s guys there.’ So it’s kind of a discussion amongst the people, and most times it’s Bruce saying, ‘Just tell them we’re not interested,’ or he says, ‘Get the league on the phone. We’re going to make that trade.’”

Campbell's comments reveal quite a lot. To start, it's interesting to know the roles of Schaffer and Santos during the draft. Both men carry a lot of impact in the team's personnel selection. Also, and it was fairly obvious since McCloughan's firing, but Jay Gruden's role continues to increase.

The biggest tell, however, is that ultimately Bruce Allen makes the decisions. It's not a surprise, but it is important to know. Officially.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Redskins won't say if Joe Mixon is on their board but say character does count

Redskins won't say if Joe Mixon is on their board but say character does count

The Redskins may or may not have one of the most polarizing members of the 2017 draft class on their draft board. But they do believe that character counts.

Scott Campbell, the Redskins’ director of college scouting, would not say if  Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon, who is seen on video striking a woman and knocking her to the floor in an incident that occurred in July of 2014, is on the team’s board.

“We don't announce who's on and off the board for strategic reasons,” said Campbell on Monday at the team’s pre-draft news conference, saying that it’s the team’s policy.

He added that incidents like the one that Mixon was a part of do come into consideration.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 10.0

“Character is very important to me, it's very important to the Redskins,” said Campbell.

He explained that early in the scouting process, character issues are not taken into account.

“What I always told the scouts and how I was trained 30 years ago when I started is when you start to evaluate guys in the beginning, you don't factor in the character, you don't grade character, you grade talent,” said Campbell, who has been with the Redskins organization for 16 years. “You don't throw away somebody early who may have some redeeming quality or a part of the story you didn't know about.”

It’s later on that the scouts gather information on such incidents as problems with the law, failed drug tests, and other quarters of character.

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins mock 2.0 goes offense early, defense often 

“Our scouts do a great job getting a lot of information,” said Campbell. “Some of the incidents you brought up happened after the season, at the combine, and just a few days ago. All those things are factored into an evaluation as they are gathered.”

With that information at hand, they start the process of elimination, deciding who fits and who doesn’t.

“When it comes close to the draft, you start weeding out all that, getting more information, deciding, OK, that guy's not our kind of guy, that guy's not a Redskin, this guy could be drafted but good luck to them,” said Campbell.

It seems like much more of a gut feel type of process than anything rigid. There is not much of a clue there as to whether or not the team will consider bringing Mixon aboard, who is inarguably one of the most talented running backs in the draft. The upside is that Mixon could provide a jolt to the team’s offense. The downside would be an immediate public relations hit. The team also must consider what will happen if Mixon were to run afoul of the NFL’s domestic abuse policy in the future, which calls for a six-game suspension for a first offense with penalties getting progressively worse if problems persist.

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.