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Need to Know: Redskins, NFL get ready to embark on a busy March

Mar 2, 2015, 5:50 AM EDT

McCloughan intro

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, March 2, eight days before the Washington Redskins and the rest of the NFL start free agency.

NFL calendar over the coming week

The NFL is moving into March and the business season starts to pick up the pace. Here’s a look at the league calendar over the coming weeks.

Today—At 4 p.m., the deadline to designate franchise players passes. This has no direct effect on the Redskins; they are not going to tag anyone. But there is some interest throughout the NFC East. The Cowboys are certain to hit wide receiver Dez Bryant with the tag. Giants defense end Jason Pierre-Paul also will get tagged according to some reports that came out last month. And keep an eye on the Eagles where there are conflicting reports on whether wide receiver Jeremy Maclin will get the tag or be allowed to test the free agent market.

Saturday—At midnight the so-called “legal tampering period” begins and teams can talk to agents about contracts for free agents from other teams. It’s called that to separate it from the illegal tampering period, which has been going on since before the NFL Combine. Players can’t talk to teams during this period and contracts can’t be finalized but agents can gauge the market and formulate a game plan for the start of free agency.

March 10—The league year starts at 4 p.m. Even though it’s not technically legal, expect to hear reports of free agent signings throughout the day. How active will the Redskins be under new GM Scot McCloughan? Although he has expressed a philosophy of building through the draft and a general distain for free agency it appears that the Redskins will have to fill a few holes in the open market.

Teams must be under the 2015 salary cap by the start of free agency. The Redskins have no issue here. After a few moves late last week they are about $25 million under the cap. As of today only the Patriots ($7.6 million over) and Saints ($20.9 million over) have work to do to get under the cap.

March 22-25—The owners meetings take place in Phoenix. The rules committee is usually the focus here and this will be no different this year. The Calvin Johnson rule over what is a catch, known in some parts of Texas as the Dez Bryant rule, will be scrutinizes but some are saying it is going to be tough to make substantial changes to it. They also will look at the possibility of expanding the playoffs to 14 teams, expanding the roster to 55 players, eliminating the inactive list for Thursday night games, and other changes.

Looking ahead to next month, the Redskins can start their offseason workout programs on April 20 and the first round of the NFL draft will get underway in prime time on April 30.

Timeline

—It’s been 64 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 195 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL free agency starts 8; Redskins offseason workouts start 49; 2015 NFL Draft 59

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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In case you missed it

  1. Rich Tandler - Mar 2, 2015 at 8:16 AM

    Sorry, polofourme. You’ve been warned about comments on the GM’s past but you chose to ignore them. Buh-bye.

    Hope you and Joe Greene can find a new place to troll.

    • ajbus1 - Mar 2, 2015 at 10:56 AM

      Thank you Rich. Those guys have made me not even want to go to some other websites or comment much on any. I’m glad something can be done about it over here.

  2. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Mar 2, 2015 at 8:37 AM

    April 30th is way too long to wait.

    If I were commissioner, I’d have it on April 1st.

    So appropriate for the Browns, Redskins, etc.
    ~

  3. kenlinkins - Mar 2, 2015 at 9:01 AM

    Rich: I have seen it reported (and I agree) that the top of this years draft class has only about 10 -15 real first round talents. If true, (and if the new GM agrees) doesn’t that make the number 5 pick worth more for someone wanting to trade up to the 5th spot? Also: IMO picks 16 to 32 could all have 2nd round grades but cost first round picks so there might be a large group of GM’s trying to trade down to gain more 2nd and 3rd round picks due to the high number equal talents that will fall pass their normal spots. Is there a value bubble for the top 10 ten picks, then a group of over priced picks, then another area of value in round 2 and 3 (and how should a smart GM play this to gain the most value)?

    • captblood3000 - Mar 2, 2015 at 9:38 AM

      Ken, won’t many of the GMs drafting at #16 or later on day 1 still be taking players they have a first round grade on? I think a shortage of first round talent puts more pressure on the scouting departments to get those draft grades right, because many of them will grade given prospects too high.

    • Rich Tandler - Mar 2, 2015 at 10:03 AM

      This X number of first-round grades is nonsense. Every draft board is different. A player to may be worth a first-round pick to one team may not be on another team’s draft board at all due to scheme fit, tolerance for injury/behavior issues, etc.

      Teams make draft trades based on individuals and their offer will reflect what they are willing to do to land that individual. Nothing to do with how many first-round grades there are in your opinion, my opinion, or in the opinion of the dozens of other draft analysts out there.

      > > >

      • kenlinkins - Mar 2, 2015 at 11:00 AM

        So, what your are saying is that every team believes in their own grade- end of story? Some will have 10 first round grades while other will have 30. It is only the value to that team that counts and there could be a wide spread on many players? I guess that is what makes a horse race! Thanks

      • clayton268921 - Mar 2, 2015 at 12:19 PM

        Isn’t this where value comes in though? If the Seahawks thought so highly of Russell Wilson they would have drafted him sooner but they knew his market value and gambled they could get him later. I believe some teams stick to their grades and that’s that, but I think market value is (or should be) an important factor in the draft.

  4. 214hof - Mar 2, 2015 at 10:00 AM

    McCloughan abruptly left the Seahawks last offseason and started his own private scouting service, Allen and the Redskins ranked among the teams that paid McCloughan $75,000 for college talent evaluations.

    January 9th Washington post article ( Mike Jones )

  5. bowlregard - Mar 2, 2015 at 1:00 PM

    The Eagles are in a tough spot with Macklin. He’s not a true #1, but if they tag him they’ll have to pay him like one. And there are few alternatives with Dez, Cobb, and D Thomas getting tagged. This on top of cutting D Jax last year.

    • ET - Mar 2, 2015 at 4:25 PM

      I don’t feel sorry for them, not even one teeny little bit.

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