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Need to Know: The top five Redskins free agents

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Need to Know: The top five Redskins free agents

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, December 6, two days before the Washington Redskins host the Kansas City Chiefs.

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With the meaningful part of the 2013 season over, it’s time to take a look ahead. Here are the five Redskins who are will be free agents that the team should want to bring back.

1. Brian Orakpo—If the organization is convinced that he can remain healthy, the Redskins will make a strong bid to give their 2009 top draft pick a contract that will keep him with the team for the rest of his career. But pass rushers are valuable commodities and he could get too pricey.

2. Perry Riley—The Redskins have been grooming Riley to replace London Fletcher as the defensive signal caller in the middle. He hasn’t had a great year but he’s certainly worth keeping and the relatively low price tag the inside linebacker spot commands should make it affordable.

3. DeAngelo Hall—He took a $6 million pay cut in order to return and he has been the rock and playmaker of the defensive backfield. Hall might give something of a hometown discount but he will want to recoup some of the cash he lost in 2013.

4. Rob Jackson—Whether Orakpo is back or not, Jackson is a good player to have around. His strength is in pass coverage and the team should bring him back and continue to try to find ways to utilize his skills.

5. Brandon Meriweather—He would definitely have to be on a one-year deal for the right price and he might need to be signed with the hope that he will be beaten out of his job by Phillip Thomas or Bacarri Rambo before the year is out. But for right now he is the one player who can strike any degree of fear into the hearts of receivers gong over the middle.

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Stat of the day

—The Redskins have not beaten the Chiefs since September 18, 1983. That was 11,038 days ago.

Timeline

—Days until: Chiefs @ Redskins 2; Redskins @ Falcons 9; Cowboys @ Redskins 16

—Today’s schedule: Practice 11:50; Mike Shanahan news conference and player availability after practice (approx. 1:30)

In case you missed it

Tandler and Tarik talk free agents

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Cousins believes "a lot rides" on the coming Redskins season

Cousins believes "a lot rides" on the coming Redskins season

RICHMOND—While Kirk Cousins has had a lot of success in his first two seasons as the Redskins’ starting quarterback, he and the team didn’t finish last season the way they wanted to. They lost four of their last six games to finish out of a playoff spot. With the game on the line in the season finale against the Giants, Cousins threw an interception as the team was driving for a late score to win or tie the game. The loss was the final blow to their playoff hopes.

As with any disappointing situation, Cousins and the team must walk a line between learning from the mistakes that were made—and there were many beyond the Cousins interception—and dwelling on the past. Cousins said today that the failure to make the playoffs will help drive the team this year.

RELATED: Reed one of four to start camp on PUP

“I think what it does is it gives us an edge, because we stay humble and hungry because we left the season realizing we do have a long ways to go,” Cousins said of the late-season woes. “We do need to improve if we want to go in the direction that we all believe we can. In that sense we’ll take the silver lining that nobody is content, nobody is entitled, nobody feels like we can rest on what we’ve done in the past.”

While they can focus on the silver lining for now, Cousins says that they realize that coming close to the playoffs but missing out year after year won’t cut it. That’s what gets coaches fired and leads to players losing their jobs.

MORE REDSKINS: Ranking the Redskins roster, the final update

“We do feel like a lot rides on this season up ahead,” he said. “Hopefully, that gives us a sense of urgency all through training camp to be really focused, and as a result gets the best out of every one of us so that our team can play as well as we possibly can.”

Cousins is playing on the one-year franchise tag. He has been quick to point out that many of his teammates are either on one-year deals or in the final season of a multi-year deal. Cousins is one of over a dozen starters or key contributors who will become free agents in 2018. If they are going to stay around they can’t go 2-4 down the stretch like they did last year.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Redskins' Cousins says he bets on the system, not on himself

Redskins' Cousins says he bets on the system, not on himself

RICHMOND—As Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins goes into playing under the franchise tag for the second straight season, the phrase commonly used about him is that he is betting on himself, eschewing the long-term security of a multiyear deal in favor hoping to improve his leverage by playing on the tags.

However, Cousins said that is a misconception.

“I don’t know that I ever bet on myself, I bet on the system, he said. “It has nothing to do with myself. I’m just going out and playing and there’s never been anything but positive feelings. I’m excited to get to work here. As I’ve said, my wife and I love it here and we’re in a good place.”

RELATED: Reed one of four to start camp on PUP

Ever since the deadline for him to sign a long-term contract this year came and went without a new deal, Cousins has been trying to debunk the notion that he has a desire to leave the Redskins as soon as he can. Appearing on 106.7 The Fan last week, Cousins said that the Redskins are his “first choice” to be his team going forward. He talked positively about his future in Washington again today after the Redskins first training camp walkthrough.

Although there was talk that the contract negotiations took a sour turn at the end after team president Bruce Allen revealed some of the details of the team’s final offer to Cousins, Cousins indicated today that everything is fine.

“W e’ve done a good job communicating between me and the team,” he said. “We’re on the same page and we’ve done everything we can possibly do to get that settled and move forward. I think we’re all in a good place right now and we’ve got enough to worry about getting our offense playing at the level we need to have a great season so I can be back in future years.”

MORE REDSKINS: Ranking the Redskins roster, the final update

What it really comes down to, what Cousins believes will make things good in the future for him and the Redskins, is success on the field.

“If you win football games, everything else takes care of itself,” he said.

“In the offseason, the ball’s in the team’s court. But from Week 1 to Week 17, the ball’s in my court and I’ve got to go play football well. That’s where my focus is.”

There likely will be more talk of Cousins future beyond the 2017 seas in the coming weeks and months. It appears that for right now that is the furthest thing from Cousins’ mind.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.