Here is what you need to know on this Monday, February 1, 23 days before the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.
Five things the Redskins need to do before free agency starts
January is a fairly slow time for NFL teams after they are eliminated from the playoffs. Most of the Redskins’ coaching staff took some vacation time after working for about a week immediately after their playoff loss to the Packers. Things get cranking in February. Here are some things the organization has to get done.
Evaluate the current roster—It all starts here, assessing the players they have under contract and their players who are slated to be free agents. Scot McCloughan will consult with Jay Gruden, the coordinators and the position coaches to see who is worth hanging on to and who should be allowed to walk
Go to the NFL Combine—McCloughan started the draft scouting process by attending East-West Shrine game and Senior Bowl in January. The coaches get involved in Indianapolis at the combine. This group places much more of a premium on interviews and is less likely than some teams to be impressed by a fast time in the forty-yard dash.
Conclude negotiations with Kirk Cousins—They have a month until they have to put the franchise tag on Cousins so March 1 is a deadline that could drive a deal. It’s a soft deadline because if they to apply the tag they would still have until July 15 to come to a long-term deal with Cousins before he has to play out the year on the tag. But that would put things on the back burner for a while and it would be best for both sides if they can come to contract agreement prior to the tag being used.
Start negotiations with their free agents—In addition to Cousins, the Redskins need to get with the agents of their own free agents they want to retain and start getting some firm offers in place. Ideally, they would like to lock them up prior to the start of free agency. They also need to get the wheels turning on any contracts they want to restructure or renegotiate in order to create more cap room.
Watch the waiver wire—There will be players who are on the streets before the start of free agency, cap casualties given their freedom early as teams set up their budgets for the new league year. The Redskins need to be ready to do an evaluation, decide if they are interested in pursuing the player and what a contract might look like. They need to be ready to move fast as there could be competition for the player’s services.
—The Redskins last played a game 22 days ago. It will be about 223 days until they play another one.
—Days until: NFL Combine 24; NFL free agency starts 38; 2016 NFL draft 88
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