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Need to Know: Who are the top 2017 Redskins free agents?

Need to Know: Who are the top 2017 Redskins free agents?

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, February 22, two days before the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

Top five 2017 free agents

As the Redskins prepare to put the current draft class under the microscope at the NFL Combine and continue to make preparations for free agency it helps to be reminded that Scot McCloughan and company are playing three-dimensional chess. They much be mindful of the players who have contracts expiring a year from now. Here are the top five Redskins who will be free agents in 2017.

TE Jordan Reed—If the guy throwing him the ball wasn’t the team’s offensive MVP then Reed was. There has been plenty of talk about a contract extension for Reed at some point before the season starts. But that has been mostly fan and media chatter. It makes sense to lock him up now but we will see how the Redskins’ honchos proceed.

WR Pierre Garçon—If you take Garçon and Reed out of the lineup you’re missing the recipients of 42 percent of Kirk Cousins’ 2015 completions. Garçon will be 30, an age where his production will start to slide but he probably won’t be inclined to offer a discount of either the hometown or senior citizen variety.

WR DeSean Jackson—He was the prime receiver in 2014 and important cog when healthy last year. It will be interesting to see if he sets aside the reality TV series and becomes more serious about working to stay in shape and attending OTAs. Assuming he stays around this season—which seems likely but is not a given—his chances of being on the field in Washington in 2017 may well depend on what he does off the field this year. (Note: On paper Jackson is signed through 2017 but the last year of the deal will void after the season and he will be a free agent.)

DE Chris Baker—He was perhaps the team’s best defensive player last year, posting six sacks and being a consistently disruptive force. Although it seems likely that he would be amenable to returning, he will be going into his age 30 season and a big 2016 will mean he will be looking at his last chance at a big payday.

LS Nick Sundburg—He has been as reliable as they come since joining the Redskins in 2010. He seems to have cured the injury bug that cost him a combined 19 games in 2012-2013. In 2017 Sundberg will be entering his age 30 seasons and looking at it right now it seems likely that he will return.

Also slated to be unrestricted free agents in 2017: ILB Perry Riley, S Jeron Johnson, ILB Adam Hayward

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 43 days ago. It will be about 202 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL Combine 2; NFL free agency starts 16; 2016 NFL draft 66

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Need to Know: The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Need to Know: The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, June 25, 32 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 175 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 77 days.

Days until:

—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/17) 22
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 46
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 69

The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Here are the five running backs on the Redskins’ schedule who gained the most yards in 2017. We looked at the top QBs last week.

Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys, 1,631 yards in 2016—The NFL’s leading rusher didn’t pop for a big day against the Redskins as a rookie last year. He still did plenty of damage in two games with a combined 180 yards and three touchdowns. We’ll find out in Week 8 just how much the Redskins’ rushing defense has improved.

David Johnson, Cardinals, 1,239 yards—Yeah, him again. He chewed up the Redskins in Arizona last year, picking up 84 yards rushing and another 91 yards receiving. I think I might pick Johnson over Elliott in a draft simply due to Johnson’s versatility.

LeGarrette Blount, Eagles, 1,161 yards—Blount picked up those yards with the Patriots last year and rushed for 18 touchdowns for good measure. He averaged 3.9 yards per carry, 27th among qualifying running backs. It should be noted that the Eagles probably have a better offensive line than the Patriots do. It’s safe to say Blount is one dimensional; none of the top 50 in rushing yards had fewer than his seven receptions.

Mark Ingram, Saints, 1,043 yards—While Ingram had a good year, the Saints apparently weren’t overly impressed. They signed Adrian Peterson as a free agent and they drafted RB Alvin Kamara in the third round. We’ll have to see who is healthy and on the field in Week 11

Melvin Gordon, Chargers, 997 yards—The 2015 first-round pick missed the last three games and most of another one with an injury. When healthy, he was very effective. His stats projected over 16 games come to over 1,300 yards.

Best of the rest: Carlos Hyde of the 49ers just missed the top five with 988 rushing yards last year Besides Kamara, the only running backs drafted in the first three rounds the Redskins will face are Dalvin Cook (Vikings) and Kareem Hunt (Chiefs). It will be interesting to see if new Rams coach Sean McVay can revive Todd Gurley, who followed a 1,100-yard rookie season with a 4.8 per carry average by gaining 885 yards with a paltry 3.2 average in 2016. Marshawn Lynch comes to town with the Raiders after spending a year in retirement; with the Seahawks, he picked up 111, 72, and 132 on the ground against the Redskins. 

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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Kirk Cousins shows off competitive spirit, soft touch - at Jenga (VIDEO)

Kirk Cousins shows off competitive spirit, soft touch - at Jenga (VIDEO)

After NFL minicamps end in mid-June, and before the grind of training camps start in late July, players are free to have a little bit of fun and try to relax. For Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins that evidently means a game of Jenga.

Fun at Kirk's 10 year high school reunion!!!

A post shared by Julie Cousins (@juliehcousins) on

The video comes from Cousins' wife Julie, and the caption explains that the couple were attending the quarterback's 10-year high school reunion. Looks like a fun scene, and the Michigan waterfront looks even better.

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

For anybody that has watched Cousins on the practice field or listened to him mic'd up during a Redskins game, the competitive outburst is no surprise. Cousins likes to win, period. Even at life-size Jenga during his 10-year high school reunion. 

Obviously, contract talks between Cousins' representatives and the Redskins continue, and likely will until the July 17th franchise tag deadline. Last season, Cousins threw for nearly 5,000 passing yards, completing 67 percent of his passes to go with 25 TDs and 12 INTs. He's allowed to have a little fun here and there.

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