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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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Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

As Jay Gruden stepped to the podium to read the injury report, he warned, “This will be a while.”

He was right, as he rattled off one the longest injury reports of the season.

Out were G Spencer Long (concussion), S Will Blackmon (concussion), DE Chris Baker (ankle), DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Anthony Lanier (lower leg), G Shawn Lauvao (groin), OT Ty Nsekhe (ankle), and S Donte Whitner (illness).

Of that group, all but Jean Francois, Lanier, and Nsekhe are starters. Between them and the limited players listed below it was difficult for the Redskin to conduct a normal practice.

“It was a challenge,” said Gruden of getting through it. “Practice was modified quite a bit today. We did more walkthrough today than we ever have on a Wednesday.”

“Sometimes you have to taper back just a hair to make it through practice, try to get the mental reps in with walkthrough and then hopefully the physical part will come maybe tomorrow. Friday we can open them up a bit.”

Limited in practice were TE Jordan Reed (shoulder), OLB Preston Smith (groin), ILB Will Compton (hip), G Brandon Scherff (ankle), and TE Derek Carrier (knee).

Reed returned to practice for the first time since suffering a Grade 3 sprain to the AC joint in his left shoulder in the game against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. He missed the game in Arizona. While his limited participation was a good sign for his return it’ is way too early in the week to say with any degree of certainty that he will be playing against the Eagles.

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Robert Griffin III set to start Sunday for Browns vs. Bengals

Robert Griffin III set to start Sunday for Browns vs. Bengals

RGIII is finally getting another chance to play.

Plagued by injury after injury — most recently breaking a bone in his left shoulder in the Brown’s 29-10 loss to the Eagles in their season opener — the former Redskin is set to start for Cleveland against the Bengals on Sunday, ESPN’s Dan Graziano reports.

Griffin was cleared for contact last week after missing the majority of the Browns’ 0-12 season, and the team is coming off a bye week after its last loss to the Giants over Thanksgiving weekend.

In 2015, Kirk Cousins replaced Griffin as starting quarterback, and the Redskins released him at the end of the season. He signed a two-year, $15 million contract with Cleveland in March.  

In Griffin’s absence, the Browns have relied on Cody Kessler and Josh McCown, who boast a 65.5 and 54.5 completion percentage, respectively. The two combine for just 12 touchdowns this season.

Will Griffin be the key to ending the Browns’ winless season? We’ll find out Sunday.

MORE NFL: Trent Williams is back but shed little light on suspension