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Five things you need to know about NFL free agency

Mar 11, 2014, 5:13 AM EST

Cash-bills

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, March 11, the day NFL free agency starts.

Nickel coverage

Here are five things to watch for today as the free agent frenzy gets underway at 4 p.m. Eastern time.

1. “Interest” does not equal a “contract”—We have been hearing of Redskins “interest” in a lot of players and we will continue to hear about it. That doesn’t mean that the Redskins want to sign all of those players or even any of them. Sometimes agents will play up even minor interest in their clients to make it seems like the player is in high demand.

2. Expect to hear a lot about players being overpaid—The salary cap increased by $10 million, about $6 million more than the teams expected. Teams can’t sit on cap money like they used to as they have to spend 89 percent of their available money over a four-year period per the CBA. Oh, and the cap will continue to grow and players signing this year are going to want a piece of that, too. In short, a lot of players are going to make a lot of money and, in the opinions of many analysts, they will be making too much.

3. Wait for the contract numbers—When you first hear that Player A has signed with the Redskins for X dollars over Y years, take a deep breath before going on an “overpaid” rant. Wait about 24 hours or so until the details of the deal come through. Chris Baker’s deal shrunk dramatically from the original report of 3 years/$12 million when it was revealed that a million bucks a year of that was incentives he probably won’t make.

4. Highest priorities don’t get filled first—If the Redskins’ first signing is of, say, a backup outside linebacker, don’t go screaming that they have no inside linebackers or where is the safety help. Deals don’t necessarily get done in order of need they get done in the order that the negotiations are finalized. The are working multiple fronts at once.

5. It’s not over after a couple of days, or even a month—Don’t get all bent out of shape if there is still a hole or two at the end of the week. Players will continue to sign deals for the rest of the month. Teams will take a break to see what they get in the draft and then there will be a few more singings after that. And then after they see what they have during OTAs and minicamps another small wave of signings will take place. Finally, as teams look around when training camp is starting they might look for a few players who have lowered their asking prices considerably.

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Timeline

—It’s been 72 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 180 days until they play another one.

Days until: Offseason workouts start 27; NFL Draft 58

In case you missed it

  1. O - Mar 11, 2014 at 7:59 AM

    Great article Rich. You described me in every section getting bent out of shape lol

  2. shermanp79 - Mar 11, 2014 at 8:08 AM

    That is a good post! All true and we all can get emotional about it!LOL

  3. O - Mar 11, 2014 at 8:16 AM

    Rich, there was a report that Riley was resigned. Any word on that?

    • Rich Tandler - Mar 11, 2014 at 8:42 AM

      The Riley deal has not yet been completed. Likely to be at some point today but no deal is done until it’s done.

      > >

  4. kenlinkins - Mar 11, 2014 at 8:24 AM

    IMO The Plan seems to be BUY a defense, DRAFT an offense. Tagging Orakpo, resigning Baker, Hall, Gumbs and Riley. Today we will see if the Redskins follow this pattern by signing higher priced defense DB’s, LB and DL on day one of Free Agents cashing in. Today at 4PM we will see Phase Two of the 2014 Rebuild, will it be BUY a defense and DRAFT an offense? To date, one could claim that the Redskins have been just “picking the low hanging fruit”, but if the Redskins sign High priced CB;s, SS/FS, ILB or DL today it would show a pattern. Your thoughts Rich!

    • Rich Tandler - Mar 11, 2014 at 8:44 AM

      I’m not sure if re-signing your own guys constitutes buying a defense but OK. As far as the high-priced corners like Talib, I’m going to believe it when I see it. Not ruling it out but not worth expending a bunch of analysis over it at this point.

      > >

  5. shermanp79 - Mar 11, 2014 at 8:28 AM

    I’m not so concerned when they fill needs but more about who they sign. If rumors are true about Talib then I am concerned. He could be a great CB but the injury thing concerns me greatly. The money bothers me too. We have so many needs I think less expensive guys is the way to go. Im hearing on ESPN the crazy names that are going to come free and they could be the more dangerous guys. Why not sign Revis if you want to sign Talib? At that point we might as well spend a couple more million a year. I don’t see Revis getting 16 million a year again. Actually maybe a team gives a similar type deal. The Radiers have tons of money. I guess the money is going to get nuts. The cap can be manipulated and money gets moved around. The other thing every contract is blown up because the real money ends up close to half of the big number.

    • shermanp79 - Mar 11, 2014 at 8:38 AM

      I’m going to try and not get nuts over the money and put my faith in that they know what they are doing. They know the Cap situation and know when signing a guy the effect it has on the future. As much as I want to believe in them I have that bad feeling in my stomach based on the past. I hope my faith isn’t destroyed because it is getting tough to do this over and over. We deserve success, we have been loyal fans. This is the first chance we get to find out. I think it’s why people may get emotional. These posts will be fun!

  6. jayc21 - Mar 11, 2014 at 8:52 AM

    Great article Rich, and wonderful insight. However I do have a question/comment from your csn article this morning. You said after it is all said and done the skins have 19.6 million. That’s a nice round number but why are the redskins holding on to the likes of Chester, Polumbus, kory L and Bowen? They could gain another 6-7million and would bring at least 2 quality starters

    • Rich Tandler - Mar 11, 2014 at 8:59 AM

      Not sure about Bowen, maybe trying to work a pay cut. No hurry on releasing the others, they could hang on to them until they have a replacement under contract. If you’re negotiating with a free agent, you’re doing so from a position of strength if you have someone on your roster who can play the position. If your starter is gone, you’re dealing from a position of weakness.

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  7. csting3 - Mar 11, 2014 at 9:25 AM

    How dare you preach restraint? This is Washington football, we deal in hyperbole.

    Every signing is either the best or worst ever.

    Every win is a sign that we’re going to the Super Bowl, while every loss means we need to fire the coach, coordinator, trainer, and waterboy.

    If the QB plays well, he’s a first ballot Hall of Famer. If he has a bad game, he’s an egomaniac who does too many commercials.

    If you want restraint, try Indianapolis. We don’t do that here.

    • csting3 - Mar 12, 2014 at 4:50 PM

      Did you pay Jason Reid to write a column that underscored your point?

  8. kenlinkins - Mar 11, 2014 at 9:47 AM

    Rich: Off subject but I have noticed that RG3 later in the year when throwing from the pocket (when he didn’t hold the ball too long or had to move to avoid a look out block by his O-Line) and on inside play action pass plays seems to have picked up a bit of the “wind mill” motion on his delivery very much like another Redskins QB from the 1960’s. Has there been any talk around Redskins Park about RG3’s throw motion changing as they develop him into a better pocket passing QB?

  9. ipitydafu - Mar 11, 2014 at 10:56 PM

    I will admit, I’m a bit concerned that defense wasn’t addressed at all in the first day. Verner, Mitchell, and Ward were all affordable deals.

    The only thing I can surmise is that they asked more from us because of drama and a 3-13 season.

    I guess we’ll see what happens.

    • Rich Tandler - Mar 12, 2014 at 4:55 AM

      Read points 4 and 5 in this post.

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