Here is what you need to know on this Monday, March 7, two days before the start of NFL free agency.
Five thoughts on the Redskins as free agency gets underway
—There is some buzz about a possible contract extension for Pierre Garçon. He has a cap figure of just over $10 million. A simple restructure is not possible since he is in the last year of his deal. If the Redskins think he can be productive for another 2-3 years, which would carry him into his age 32 or 33 season, they could guarantee him some money, cut his 2016 cap hit down to around $6 million, and keep him around through at least 2017.
—The reason why they need to hold on to both Garçon and DeSean Jackson is that the free agent wide receivers who are capable of stepping in and starting right away as a No. 1 or No. 2 option are going to get expensive. After two years of bumper crops of receivers being available in the draft the group of pass catchers is of low quality this year. Teams in need will be bidding for the available free agent talent and it looks like demand will exceed supply. That will lead to good paydays for some receivers who haven’t done much, guys like Mohamed Sanu and Rueben Randle. The Redskins would be well advised to stay away from the free agent market and grab a receiver in the first few rounds of the draft.
—We’re still looking to see if S Duke Ihenacho and OT/TE Tom Compton are going to get offered restricted free agent tenders. I think the Redskins would like to have both of them back, at least to compete for roster spots. But I don’t think that they want to pay either player the $1.5 million or so needed to tender them and get the right to match any offer that they may get. If they aren’t tendered by 4 p.m. on Wednesday they will become unrestricted free agents.
—There is likely to be a waiting game at backup quarterback. It looks like Colt McCoy is going to at least explore his options before he considers an offer from the Redskins. Nobody is going to snatch up the other veteran backups either. The Redskins may go until close to the start of offseason workouts on April 18 with Cousins as the only QB on the roster.
—As free agency gets going remember that you can’t judge the acquisition of a player without considering the price. Even if the player is pretty good, if the contract is bad, it’s a bad deal. And even if the player is just OK, if he has a contract to match you can live with that. For example, although Jeron Johnson didn't do much last year, his contract was only for two years, $2.5 million with $350,000 guaranteed. That wasn't a bad signing. And Jason Hatcher has played better than his sack numbers indicate but the team has already spent over $13.5 million for him for two years and even if he takes a pay cut for 2017 he will cost a few million dollars more. That was a bad signing.
—The Redskins last played a game 57 days ago. It will be about 188 days until they play another one.
—Days until: NFL free agency starts 3; Redskins offseason workouts start 43; 2016 NFL draft 53
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