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Need to Know: Which of their free agents should the Redskins keep?

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Need to Know: Which of their free agents should the Redskins keep?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, January 25, 44 days before NFL free agency starts for the Washington Redskins and the rest of the NFL.

Question of the day

We’re changing up the format of Need to Know for the offseason. Every day 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:

Scot McCloughan has just started to scratch the surface of evaluating the players who took the field for the Redskins in 2014. He did say last week that he has watched the tape of each of the team’s games last season and will start roster evaluations in earnest soon.

He’ll pay particular attention to the 12 players who will be unrestricted free agents—OLB Brian Orakpo, DE Jarvis Jenkins, WR Santana Moss, S Ryan Clark, OT Tyler Polumbus, S Brandon Meriweather, CB E. J. Biggers, QB Colt McCoy, WR Leonard Hankerson, RB Roy Helu, TE Niles Paul, and NT Chris Neild.

McCloughan is unlikely to pick up the phone and ask me who I would keep, here are what my recommendations would be.

On defense, I would try to hold on to Jenkins and maybe Neild. Although Jenkins hasn’t lived up to the billing he had as a second-round pick in 2011, he still is a solid rotational player who plays hard. We’ll probably never see him generate much pass pressure but if you use him in the right situations he can help the team. Neild has seen two seasons end with torn ACLs but I’d give him a shot on a minimum salary contract.

Although I wouldn’t be strongly opposed to bringing back Orakpo with an incentive-laden deal with little guaranteed money, I think that he might benefit from getting a fresh start in another city. It should be an organizational priority to find replacements for the two veteran safeties and a draft pick should be able to take Biggers’ role.

On offense, I would let Moss, McCoy, Polumbus, and Hankerson walk. The only debatable player there is McCoy, who did a nice job as a backup quarterback. But I think that will cause his salary to increase to a point where the Redskins would be better off with a mid-round backup QB.

I’d make an effort to bring back Helu and Paul. Helu has done well as the third-down back and Paul was productive (39 receptions, 5th on the team) in a limited role when Jordan Reed was sidelined with injuries and on special teams. However, both could get lured away by bigger contracts and prospects for more playing time elsewhere. The Redskins should not break the bank to try to keep them.

Timeline

—It’s been 28 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 231 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL Combine 25; NFL free agency starts 44; 2015 NFL Draft 95

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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A possible trade destination for Redskins RB Matt Jones?

A possible trade destination for Redskins RB Matt Jones?

RICHMOND—The Redskins reportedly have been looking to trade running back Matt Jones since just before the draft. They may be able to find a partner just up I-95.

The Baltimore Ravens are in need of a running back after Kenneth Dixon suffered a season-ending knee injury earlier this week. Terrance West, who gained 774 yards on the ground last year, is healthy and returning but the Ravens want more depth at the position.

That is where Jones could come into play. The 2015 third-round pick of the Redskins was the unquestioned starter going into last season. But fumbling and other issues prompted Jay Gruden to make him inactive the last nine games of the season. Jones further fell out of favor by skipping OTAs this year, a move he made on the advice of his now-former agent.

RELATED: Is Cousins overrated?

Ravens coach Jim Harbaugh said last year that he liked Jones “a lot” in the 2015 draft and he could well still be intrigued by his size and speed. ESPN Ravens reporter Jamison Hensley said that Jones could be a good fit for the Ravens in their current situation.

It should be noted that Hensley seems to be engaging in informed speculation and not relaying anything he heard from the team’s decision makers. He also speaks of the possibility of Baltimore picking up Jones after the Redskins release him.

But there could be some incentive for the Ravens to talk trade with the Redskins rather than waiting for Jones to hit the waiver wire. For one thing, getting their new back in sooner rather than later would benefit the Ravens, allowing the player to get acclimated to his new quarterback and offensive line. While the Redskins are inevitably going to cut Jones, they have no incentive to do so before the final cuts just before the start of the season. Perhaps the Ravens will want to give up some minor compensation, something like a swap of sixth- and seventh-round picks, to get Jones in for the start of training camp.

MORE REDSKINS: Ranking the Redskins roster, the final update

Hensley also mentions the possibility that the Ravens will look at former Redskin Alfred Morris for depth at running back. He currently is buried on the Cowboys’ depth chart behind All-Pro Ezekiel Elliott and Darren McFadden. However, there is the possibility of a domestic-violence suspension on the horizon for Elliott. While the suspension is likely to be brief the Cowboys probably don’t want to depart with any running back depth until the matter has been settled.

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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Ranking the 2017 Redskins roster, the final update: 1-10

Ranking the 2017 Redskins roster, the final update: 1-10

At CSNmidatlantic.com we projected the Redskins’ 53-man roster (offense, defense) right after minicamp. Now we are taking it one step further and ranking the 53 players we think will make the team.

The rankings are determined by who we think will have the most impact on the 2017 Redskins. No consideration was given for past performance or for what a particular player might do down the road. We’ll be revealing the rankings over the next few weeks.

Today we’re updating the list with the players we ranked from 1-10. Here are some of the players in our latest update:

—A 2016 free agent who needs to make more big plays.

—A rookie expected to bolster one of the weakest units on the team.   

—Each of the five highest-paid players on the team.

—What you won’t find: Any players who will be over the age of 29 in Week 1.     

Go here to see our ranking of the 2017 Redskins, players 1-53.

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.