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Need to Know: The five most important off season dates for the Redskins

Feb 5, 2014, 4:50 AM EDT

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Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, February 5, 14 days before the NFL Combine.

Nickel coverage

Tarik posted the full NFL calendar on the site the other day. Let’s go through it and pull out the five dates that are most important to the Redskins.

*Feb 17 Teams can apply franchise tag to pending free agents—It’s likely that the Redskins are seriously considering this option for Brian Orakpo, their most important 2014 free agent. The deadline for tagging players is 4 p.m. on March 3.

*Feb 19-25 NFL Combine in Indianapolis—Since he skipped the Senior Bowl to work on the team’s playbook, this will be Jay Gruden’s first chance to meet with some of the players the Redskins will consider taking in the draft.

*March 11 Start of free agency—Gruden and Bruce Allen will need to convince players that there are plenty of other reasons to play for the Redskins besides just money. They have a pretty good amount of cash to spend, about $30 million, but they have a lot of needs. How successful Allen and Gruden are in getting players to come in at their price will go a long way towards determining how successful the team is in 2014.

*April 7 Offseason workouts start—This will be the first chance that Robert Griffin III and the rest of the players to work hands on in Gruden’s offense and to see what tweaks (or, perhaps overhauls) Jim Haslett makes to the defense. There will be a voluntary veteran minicamp sometime in late April or early may that will give the team its first opportunity to line up offense vs. defense.

*May 9 NFL Draft (2nd-3rd rounds)—This will be Allen’s first draft where he has final say on personnel and he needs to nail it. On the first day the Redskins have picks, Allen needs to find two players who can start or at least contribute heavily this season. On Saturday Allen needs to locate a couple of players who can start in 2015 and some special teams contributors.

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—It’s been 38 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 214 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL Combine 14; NFL Free agency starts 34; Offseason workouts start 61; NFL Draft 92

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