Quick Links

Need to Know: Redskins top five 2015 free agents

Need to Know: Redskins top five 2015 free agents

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, March 7, four days before the start of NFL free agency.

Nickel coverage

Yes, it’s only 2014 but the way the NFL salary cap works you have to look into the future when deciding who to sign and how much to pay them. You also acquire players one year with an eye on who might be leaving the next year. Here are the Redskins’ top five free agents for 2015:

LB Brian Orakpo—After his one-year franchise tag he will be looking for a long-term contract. But the Redskins will have the option of tagging him again so they hold the upper hand (although the tag salary will be over $13 million).

LB Ryan Kerrigan—This is only a technicality, really. His rookie contract will be up but since he was a first-round draft pick the Redskins will have an option year they can exercise. It is almost certain that Kerrigan will be back for a salary of about $4-$5 million.

DE Jarvis Jenkins—Injury and a suspension have plagued Jenkins’ career. The 2011 second-round pick has not been anything special. If he plays like he has he’s probably someone the Redskins would like to have back but not a must-sign by any means.

WR Leonard Hankerson—His career has been somewhat similar to Jenkins’ although he hasn’t been suspended and his high moments have been a little bit higher. Still, he has yet to produce with any consistency and barring a major breakout he won’t be a priority signing a year from now.

RB Roy Helu Jr.—We will see how Helu fits into Jay Gruden’s offense. If he can find a role, he is the kind of guy the team would like to have back on a fairly inexpensive contract.

Like Real Redskins on Facebook!

Timeline

—It’s been 68 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 184 days until they play another one.

—Days until: NFL Free agency starts 4; Offseason workouts start 31; NFL Draft 62

In case you missed it

Quick Links

How playing at Alabama may have actually hurt Jonathan Allen's draft stock

How playing at Alabama may have actually hurt Jonathan Allen's draft stock

For the past few seasons, Jonathan Allen was a stud at the heart of Alabama's defense. He was far from the only stud, however, and that might be another factor in why he slipped to the Redskins at pick No. 17 on Thursday night.

The chief concern about Allen is the health of his shoulders, but there's also the question of how he'll do when he's no longer with Nick Saban's star-laden unit. It's easy to succeed when you're a part of a loaded ensemble cast, the thinking might've gone when it came to Allen, but how will you do on your solo project?

In addition to Allen, the Crimson Tide featured Marlon Humphrey (who went 16th to the Ravens), Reuben Foster (who went 31st to the 49ers) and others, like Tim Williams, Dalvin Tomlinson and Ryan Anderson, all of whom could go in Friday's second and third rounds. Together, that's a tremendous defense, but in the NFL, they'll be striking out on their own.

MORE REDSKINS: NORMAN, COUSINS, OTHERS WELCOME ALLEN TO D.C.

That's another possible explanation for why the Redskins were able to nab what was almost a consensus top-five prospect so late in the event.

"He's a really talented pass rusher but he's always been surrounded by enough talent that it's been hard for offenses to game plan their protection for him," one NFC director of player personnel told NFL.com.

Now, it's not like Allen is joining a bunch of nobodies in Washington. Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith and Zach Brown will also be lining up with him in Greg Manusky's front-seven. Oh, and Allen is no slouch either — the list of his strengths in this particular scouting report contains words like "superior," "proficient," "consistent" and "excellent."

But it is probably fair to say that, comparatively speaking, the rookie won't be amongst as many skilled guys as he was in college. By rushing to the podium to snag him, however, the Redskins clearly expect him to handle the NFL transition just fine.

RELATED: REDSKINS REPORTEDLY LOOKING TO TRADE ONE OF THEIR OWN    

Quick Links

Dalvin Cook, Joe Mixon could be out of reach for Redskins per oddsmakers

Dalvin Cook, Joe Mixon could be out of reach for Redskins per oddsmakers

Florida State running back Dalvin Cook visited Redskins Park earlier this month. The Redskins did their homework on Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon in advance of the draft.

All of that pre-draft work might not matter though as Cook and Mixon will be off the board before the Redskins pick in the second round. At least according to oddsmakers.

Bovada.lv set over/under scenarios for both players. Cook lands at 38.5 and Mixon landed at 42.5.

[Related: Top end talent still available for Redskins in second round, but red flags remain]

Certainly both guys can go past the numbers established by the oddsmakers, but there's a reason drinks are free in Las Vegas. Oddsmakers tend to be very, very close when they set lines.

Considering that, if Washington wants either player, the team would likely have to trade up.

Much speculation has Cook the first player off the board to the Packers with the 33rd pick. It seems like a good fit.

[Related: Casserly says that Jonathan Allen is a more talented player than Solomon Thomas]

Mixon is more interesting. His loathsome action a few years back that was caught on video will continue to haunt him, but he will get drafted in the second round. He has the talent.

Bruce Allen has the capital to make a move. The team has nine more picks in the next six rounds. There's also the report that the team is shopping third-year pro Matt Jones.

Could a package of Jones and a late round pick entice a trade? It could.

Much like Thursday night, there will be plenty to watch Friday night.

More Redskins: Need to know: Five possible second and third round picks for the Redskins