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Need to Know: Looking ahead--Who are the Redskins' priority 2016 free agents?

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Need to Know: Looking ahead--Who are the Redskins' priority 2016 free agents?

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, May 20, six days before the Redskins start OTAs.

Question of the day

A few days a week I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question submitted by a fan on my Twitter feed, via the Real Redskins Facebook page, or in the comments section here. On Twitter address the questions to me at @Rich_TandlerCSN with the #NTK hashtag. There will be a comment thread set up on the Facebook page and if you’re asking your question here, put “for NTK” at the start of the comment.

Today's question is from Twitter:

We have a breather for a few days between rookie camp and the start of OTAs next Tuesday so let’s squeeze in a question that looks forward to 2016. Obviously Trent Williams and Ryan Kerrigan are the top two pending free agents. The Redskins are trying to get both of them locked up before the start of this season.

But they are not the only players who will be in need of new deals if they are going to be Redskins in 2016. Counting Williams and Kerrigan they have 17 players set to be unrestricted free agents and many of them are either starters or play key roles.

Let’s look at who along with Williams and Kerrigan are high priorities to sign, who would be a medium priority and then those who are either low priority or unlikely to be resigned. This is based on the way the team and the depth chart look right now without any projections on how things might play out in 2015.

High priority: OT Williams, OLB Kerrigan, ILB Keenan Robinson, RB Alfred Morris

Williams is the cornerstone of the offensive line and Kerrigan is the team’s top pass rusher. Robinson did a solid job taking over for London Fletcher at the Mike linebacker spot; he should become a fixture there. Morris is the league’s second-leading rusher since 2012, the year he came into the league.

Moderate priority: QB Kirk Cousins, FB Darrel Young, TE Logan Paulsen, PK Kai Forbath, NT Terrance Knighton

We really need the crystal ball to figure out if Cousins will be a big priority or not. For now, we’ll leave him in the middle. Knighton could be a higher priority if he has the kind of season the team thinks he can. Young is versatile and valuable on special teams. Paulsen and Forbath are both replaceable but until a replacement is in house they need to be on the list of players who should be re-signed.

Low priority: DL Travian Robinson, DL Frank Kearse, S Trenton Robinson, OL Josh LeRibeus, DL Kedric Golston, QB Colt McCoy, CB Tracy Porter, OL Chris Chester

As noted, this is just my best guess right now; McCoy could help win a few games and become a higher priority. But the rest are likely to be replaced by younger/better/cheaper players.

Timeline

—It’s been 142 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be 117 days until they play the Dolphins at FedEx Field.

Days until: Redskins minicamp starts 28; Redskins training camp starts 72; Thursday night Redskins @ Giants 128

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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In case you missed it

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Terrelle Pryor reportedly working out with special glasses based on Antonio Brown's advice

Terrelle Pryor reportedly working out with special glasses based on Antonio Brown's advice

New Redskins receiver Terrelle Pryor has been working out with Steelers All-Pro Antonio Brown this offseason. 

The pair documented their receiving drills, ladder drills and even yoga on social media. But what you didn't see, according to ESPN's John Keim, is Pryor practicing with special glasses that Brown recommended. 

Based on Brown’s advice, Pryor has also worn special sunglasses during offseason workouts, designed to prevent him from seeing an object – in this case the ball – until it is almost upon him. Sometimes he takes his gloves off, just to get a feel for the ball with his hands.

The glasses Keim describes sound more like blinders, or even tunnel vision, but the idea is to help Pryor get an instinctive feel for running routes. 

Despite putting up 1,007 receiving yards with the Browns last year, Pryor has only played the position since 2015. His first four seasons in the NFL were spent trying to make a roster playing quarterback. 

Now penciled into a starting receiver role for the Redskins, he knows he has a lot of catching up to do. 

"The good ones, they ask questions and never think they’ve got it. They always want to learn," Pryor said, "I’m not calling myself a great one, but I think I can get there."

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins Playbook: Some good news for Kirk Cousins

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Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

The Redskins offense performed at a high level in 2016, moving the ball well though the unit struggled in the red zone. Much of the success comes from Kirk Cousins' ability to quickly advance through his progressions and release the football before he takes too many hits.

Expect more of that in 2017, especially early in the season.

The Redskins don't face their first Top 5 sack defense until Week 9 when they travel to Seattle. From there, Cousins will face another Top 5 sack team when the Vikings visit FedEx Field in Week 10. 

After that, Washington's schedule doesn't feature a Top 5 sack defense until nearly Christmas. Unfortunately for Cousins, those two teams will come back to back in December when the Redskins host the Cardinals and the Broncos.

Sacks should not drive too much worry for Redskins fans. The Washington offensive line only allowed 23 sacks last season, two less than the Cowboys vaunted offensive line gave up on Dak Prescott. Cousins quick release and mastery of Jay Gruden's offense helps too. 

The Redskins have plenty to worry about in 2017, though facing fierce sack opponents shouldn't be too high on the list. 

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