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Need to Know: Five free agents the Redskins should pursue

Need to Know: Five free agents the Redskins should pursue

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, March 10, one day before the start of NFL free agency.

Nickel coverage

Here are five free agents the Redskins should sign, at five different areas of need:

S Mike Mitchell, Panthers—He has been the subject of some buzz this weekend with the Redskins being among the teams reportedly interested. Mitchell does have some tackling issues (18 missed last year) but he should come at a price that reflects his flaws.

ILB Arthur Moats, Bills—His role in the Bills’ defense increased last year as he logged 11 starts. Moats hasn’t make many big plays (no career sacks or interceptions) but he should come fairly cheap and he can serve as a good stopgap while Keenan Robinson or perhaps another draft pick can learn the position.

CB Captain Munnerlyn, Panthers—So why not bring another member of secondary of the Panthers’ second-ranked defense. He turned into a big-play guy in 2013 with three sacks and two interceptions, both returned for TD’s.

WR Andre Roberts, Cardinals—At 5-11 he doesn’t fit the Jay Gruden height profile but he’s still a pretty good option. When he started 15 games in 2012 he dealt with Arizona’s awful quartet of QB’s and still caught 64 passes for 759 yards and five touchdowns.

DL Lival Joseph, NYG—He should be the one big-money free agent the Redskins target and even at that he won’t break the bank. A rotation of him, Barry Cofield, Chris Baker and Jarvis Jenkins would be a solid group in the front of the Redskins’ 3-4 defense.

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Timeline

—It’s been 71 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 181 days until they play another one.

—Days until: NFL Free agency starts 1; Offseason workouts start 28; NFL Draft 59

In case you missed it

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Redskins promote CB Phillips from practice squad, waive Bruton Jr. and Clausell

Redskins promote CB Phillips from practice squad, waive Bruton Jr. and Clausell

The Redskins made a couple of roster moves just before departing for Arizona to play the Cardinals.

They signed cornerback Dashaun Phillips from the practice squad and cut offensive tackle Blaine Clausell. The Redskins also waived safety David Bruton Jr. off of injured reserve.

Phillips was the Redskins’ nickel corner for the first three games of the season, and he made four tackles and recovered a fumble. But they moved rookie Kendall Fuller up into the slot corner role in Week 4 and Phillips spent several weeks on the inactive list before being waived on November 12 and added to the practice squad three days later.

The moves became known after Redskins coach Jay Gruden had spoken to the media for the day so we can only speculate as to the reasoning behind them. Actually, the release of Clausell isn’t hard to figure out. He was signed after Trent Williams started his four-game suspension and with Williams set to return on Monday and the other options at backup tackle healthy there was no point in keeping him around.

Phillips is likely going to Arizona as an insurance policy. The Cardinals like to spread the field with a lot of wide receivers. They will want to have five cornerbacks active. They do have Josh Norman, Bashaud Breeland, Fuller, Quinton Dunbar, and Greg Toler. But Breeland is listed as questionable with an ankle injury and they Redskins don’t want to take any chance of being caught short-handed at cornerback if he suffers a setback. That’s especially true when they don’t need to bring an extra tackle along.

Depending on how things shake out injury-wise against the Cardinals there is a good chance that we could see Phillips on the waiver wire once again as a roster spot will be needed for Williams.

Bruton started the first four games of the season at safety before going on injured reserve with a concussion. This past offseason he signed a three-year, $9 million free agent contract with $3.4 million full guaranteed. There will be a deal cap hit of approximately $1.7 million in 2017 to account for the prorated bonus. 

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Redskins-Cardinals injury report: Reed out, seven questionable

Redskins-Cardinals injury report: Reed out, seven questionable

Redskins

Out

TE Jordan Reed (shoulder)—The word heroic is thrown around too often when talking about what athletes do, in light if what, say, first responders do every day. But Reed playing in the second half out of the Dallas game with a third-degree AC joint sprain certainly was remarkable. But Gruden said that Reed won’t have sufficient range of motion in the shoulder or range of motion to be able to go against the Cardinals.

DE Anthony Lanier (leg)—The reserve lineman missed the second half of the Dallas game with a leg contusion. Gruden said he was kicked in the lower leg against the Cowboys and the swelling is still an issue.

Questionable

LS Nick Sundberg (back)—He tweaked his back in the weight room before the Packers game and missed that game and the one against the Cowboys. He was a full go in practice all week and will return against the Cardinals.

G Brandon Scherff (ankle)—He has been limited in practice during the week but it seems certain that he will go against the Cardinals.

T Ty Nsekhe (ankle)—Ditto comment on Scherff above.

CB Bashaud Breeland (ankle)—He suffered the injury in practice this week and he was limited in practice on Thursday.

RB Chris Thompson (illness)—He was limited in practice during the week but he said in the locker room he will have his usual role on Sunday.

Also questionable for the Redskins: ILB Terence Garvin (shoulder) and DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee)

Cardinals

Doubtful

S Tyrann Matthieu (shoulder)—He missed a couple of games with the shoulder injury and he was out of practice on Thursday after being limited on Wednesday. Cardinals coach Brude Arians said that he will be a game time decision.

Questionable

WR John Brown (illness)—He has been battling symptoms of sickle-cell trait and it caused cramping on Wednesday.

Not on injury report

CB Patrick Peterson (knee)—Perhaps the Cardinals’ best player suffered a knee injury last Sunday and he has been limited after missing practice on Wednesday. It looks like he will go but the Redskins will surely test his effectiveness.