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Need to Know: Five free agents the Redskins should bring back

Jan 13, 2016, 5:05 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, January 13, 62 days before the start of NFL free agency.

Five free agents the Redskins should bring back

QB Kirk Cousins—He will not hit the open market. If he is not signed to a long-term deal by the March 7 deadline, the Redskins will put the franchise tag on him.

OLB Junior Galette—This should be a fairly easy one. Galette may not sign a deal for the veteran minimum like he did last August but he wants to return and likely will sign a team-friendly deal. If you have a question about what will happen to Preston Smith or Trent Murphy if Galette is on the team, the answer is, “You can’t have too many pass rushers.”

FB Darrel Young—Sure, he only played 112 snaps on offense all year. But he played on all four of the major special teams units and that should not be overlooked. Even of you don’t need a fullback often you do need one occasionally and Young is a good person to have on the team.

ILB Mason Foster—It would not be surprising to see Keenan Robinson move on as a free agent so the Redskins would be well advised to keep Foster around. He’ll be 27 in March, right in the wheelhouse for a McCloughan free agent, and he did a good job starting five games at the end of the season. They will know what they’re getting as they know he has been a solid locker room presence. Moe linebacker is a position they might want to upgrade but Foster can be plugged in until a draft pick can learn the position.

NT Terrance Knighton—Perhaps some expected a dominant force wreaking havoc in opponents’ backfields. They didn’t get that from Knighton but they did get a solid job from him as a nose tackle. The Redskins will probably pay more than some would like for him but large bodies who can move like he can are rare and therefore they are at a premium.


—The Redskins last played a game three days ago. It will be about 242 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL combine 42; NFL free agency starts 62; 2016 NFL draft 106

In case you missed it

  1. cpst123 - Jan 13, 2016 at 7:02 AM

    Trent Williams said, way back in training camp, that Galette was the only one that really challenged him. I hope we get him but don’t overpay.

    • 226thebeatdontstop - Jan 13, 2016 at 2:06 PM

      Clay Mathews challenged Trent all game last Sunday

      • MEK - Jan 13, 2016 at 6:51 PM

        Burn, true though seriously he was bad.

  2. bk70 - Jan 13, 2016 at 7:24 AM

    First of all, I must admit I’m still excited about my 2015 Redskins.

    I agree with the five listed for re-signing. I still believe in Alfred Morris. We know his work habits, health status, and his team spirit. What would it take to get him re-signed to a team friendly contract or veteran minimum contract?
    Yes, he prefers to spend his entire career with one team. He and his agent should not be asking for the moon.

    I look forward to the 2016 competition for future starting Center, LG, Safety, NT and ILB positions.

    Do you think Coach Gruden prefers an extra TE on the 53 man roster in the future?

    Also, best of luck to RGIII, wherever he lands.

  3. pookienjookie - Jan 13, 2016 at 7:52 AM

    Hey Rich, I read that Will Compton is also a free agent, although I thought he had one more year, do you know the details? Also I agree with everyone except Knighton, but to keep Chris Baker happy and if it helps get a team friendly contract with Baker in the future, I say keep Knighton, but I wouldn’t overpay. I think the draft is deep with D-linemen and by the 21st pick we should be able to get a solid one. As far as that I agree with all of your other picks and hoping they bring back AlMo for at least a one year “show me” contract, I think he would be receptive to that based on his performance this year, just pay him fairly, he’s given the team 4 solid years.

    • Rich Tandler - Jan 13, 2016 at 8:31 AM

      Compton is an exclusive rights free agent, which isn’t really “free” at all. The Redskins will offer him a contract at or near the minimum and he’ll have no choice but to accept it.

      I only included unrestricted free agents here. There will be some decisions to be made on restricted FA’s like Ihenacho and Tom Compton. I’ll post about them separately.

      • bk70 - Jan 13, 2016 at 8:49 AM

        Don’t forget about our punter Tress Way

        • bangkokben - Jan 13, 2016 at 11:37 AM

          Also exclusive rights free agent.

  4. sidepull - Jan 13, 2016 at 8:07 AM

    I am a fan of Pierre Thomas. Maybe there is a role for him here in 2016.

    • skinsdiehard - Jan 13, 2016 at 11:34 AM

      I hope they draft a RB (Ezekiel Elliot, Derrick Henry or Devontae Booker). Then won’t have to worry about the position during Cousins remaining tenure with the team.

      • bangkokben - Jan 13, 2016 at 11:43 AM

        I’m for a running backs coach that gets the maximum out of his players instead of playing musical chairs with them. The one good game against Dallas for Morris I had to wonder that if Jones was healthy and Thomas had more time in the system if we wouldn’t see Alfred trot to the sidelines after a positive run or never see the field after the safety. Then the team got too cute trying to run Thomas against Green Bay.

  5. warpath1 - Jan 13, 2016 at 9:11 AM

    I liked the energy compton and foster brought to the linebacking core, and l liked alot of the players that stepped up to play hard. That being said, our defense couldnt stop anyone with talent. What piece, pieces are we missing???

    • goback2rfk - Jan 13, 2016 at 10:20 AM

      The defense has some big problems that all start with the Pass Rush. I would imagine the defense gets more attention this year than the offense.

      1) Pass Rush – We will need to get better pressuring the QB one way or another. Kerrigan had a bit of a disappointing season after signing the big contract. His performance during the playoffs was concerning.
      Obviously we need a big time Defensive Tackle with Hatcher probably leaving. I would love to get a beast DT to sure up that defensive line.

      2) Secondary – Obviously the Redskins have some gaps in the secondary. It was surprising how well this ‘piecework’ secondary played throughout the year. However, we will need to make some dramatic improvements to the secondary. The Safety position worked out OK this year so we will see what happens there. .

      3) Inside Linebacker – Compton and Foster did pretty good, however, with the status unknown for the inside linebacker group it would be nice to see them sure up the position with some fresh talent.

      Offensive Side of the Ball:

      Wide Receiver: We need to sign some fresh tall talent at the wide reciever core. The group now is short, getting older, and costs a bunch. Put Garcons and Jacksons salary together and yikes!

      Center: Obviously got to fix the problem at the Center position.

      Those are the areas I hope get fixed up for next year. I think this team will be beast next season. Although you can never really trust the Redskins. Now that they went 9 – 7 this season you would think the bar has been set higher. A 8 – 8 season next year would be a let down eh?

    • ET - Jan 13, 2016 at 10:21 AM

      I am nothing but thankful for Foster and Compton’s ability to step in and play hard, but we need upgrades across the defensive units.

      I’m guessing Blackmon and Foster both stay, but we clearly need more first-tier strength at CB and ILB. Safety is still an onging concern, and should get top priority. Hatcher may retire or may be released. Paea was a disappointment (will he be back?). So even with Baker, Pot Roast and Ricky Jean, the Skins need to add some quality defensive linemen.

    • skinsdiehard - Jan 13, 2016 at 11:43 AM

      Need more safeties and corners. Plus, Galette will help with a decent pass rush. I like Breeland, but he’s still not yet a #1 corner. DHall and Goldson just show poor recognition as safeties and are always late to the action.
      I think we should sign a FA corner, draft a FS in the 2nd round (there are no 1st round FS talents this year) and draft another corner in the 4th round. For some ungodly reason, Gruden likes DHall at FS.

      So, the depth chart would look like this:
      CB – Culliver, FA corner, Breeland, 4th rounder, Dunbar
      FS – DHall, 2nd rounder
      SS – Ihenacho, Jarrett, Jeron Johnson

      I think that group could do well if we can pickup a good FA corner.

    • bangkokben - Jan 13, 2016 at 11:50 AM

      It’s an average defense that plays well when the offense makes a team one-dimensional but there are zero guys on the team that offenses have to game plan for. It needs one borderline superstar and suddenly it could be dominant. Who knows maybe Gallette is that guy. Maybe they can find him at #21 in the draft but right now it needs a better talent than Culliver in the secondary, a better talent than Kerrigan at the linebackers, or a better talent than Baker at the D-line.

      • sidepull - Jan 13, 2016 at 12:14 PM

        Yea guys like Sean Taylor dont grow on trees or come around that often. Not every team has a defensive player that is so dominant they have to specifically be game planned for. Lawrence Taylor was one, Ronnie Lott, Reggie White, yup we could use another for sure.

        • bangkokben - Jan 13, 2016 at 12:29 PM

          Sean Taylor on this defense would cure all ills. RIP. Not a small task but McC has a pretty good track record finding defensive gems.

  6. hail74 - Jan 13, 2016 at 9:36 AM

    I have to imagine that Junior has already received some assurance of a contract he’d be comfortable with considering his new tattoo.

    • ET - Jan 13, 2016 at 12:16 PM

      Either that or he has poor impulse control :)

  7. vtsquirm - Jan 13, 2016 at 10:51 AM

    i don’t see much help at WR based on who will be free agents. Alshon Jeffrey is the only one that’s good. Scot better spend his time at the combine and Senior Bowl instead.

  8. skinsdiehard - Jan 13, 2016 at 11:32 AM

    I disagree with bringing Darrel Young and Knighton back.
    Move Baker to NT and draft a DE in the 3rd round like Shawn Oakman or promote DE Cory Crawford. The front would then be Paea, Baker and Crawford/Oakman.
    Mason Foster is a good plug in until Martrell Spaight or Terrence Plummer is ready in 2017.

    • cowboyhater - Jan 13, 2016 at 11:55 AM

      Wow…..let’s go call Mr. Snyder to get you on the personnel staff!!!! You sure do know what you’re talking about since you have put in so many hours evaluating college talent, and what is on the current roster!!…..Really dude? Let the real experts do their job, but thanks for the insight…it’s appreciated.

    • rtcwon - Jan 13, 2016 at 1:10 PM

      Rich gives some reasons to bring DY and Pot Roast back. Do you have any reasons not to?
      Stop changing guys positions, this isn’t Madden. Baker IS NOT a nose. PERIOD.

      Those are facts, my personal opinion is never count on rookies starting anywhere, no matter their draft position. Your opinions are suspect given you’re unaware Plummer is under contract to Minnesota.

    • princewilks - Jan 13, 2016 at 3:58 PM

      I disagree with Baker at NT, remember last season? Baker was non-existent at NT. He is well suited for a DE so long we play to his strengths and used him wisely on certain matchups.

  9. cowboyhater - Jan 13, 2016 at 11:52 AM

    Good list, but SM will need to look at the available FA’s (Josh Norman) that will hit the market in March and see where we can afford to add, then plug in holes in the draft. That is how good organizations do it. Keep your FA’s, add some missing parts using free agency, and then DRAFT GOOD PLAYERS!!! It’s such a relief to know our owner has finally learned some lessons (the hard way, but at least he learned them…so far) and let a very good personnel guy put together a solid team. HTTR!!

    • rtcwon - Jan 13, 2016 at 1:26 PM

      To me, the following two statements are contradictory: “plug in holes in the draft” & “DRAFT GOOD PLAYERS”

      I too am no fan of trying to get super stars via FA, they need to come from within. Free Agency is to plug holes, ensure viable starters in all positions. Then draft BPA, hope they beat out your viable starters within a couple years and some become super stars. That is building through the draft.

      Drafting for need only increases already abysmal odds the pick doesn’t pan out. For example, this stat from last year’s draft: less than 13% of all #5 overall picks ever have made more than 2 pro bowls. Yet fans assume a top 5 pick should guarantee a super star?

      • cowboyhater - Jan 13, 2016 at 3:13 PM

        Hmmm….let me spell it out to you…..since we have the ability to upgrade a roster through free agency, our GM will look to see whats out there to what our need is and sign players that will fit our scheme and most importantly our team chemistry, now that we have accomplished this, we go to the draft and add young talent that can fill in the remaining holes that this team is in need of. By the way you definitely draft by needs, so whichever position you draft at whatever round it’s because it’s a player that will be needed to contribute to this roster. Don’t try to out point using posts that are pointless to what I post. So how that contradicts one another is a bit confusing to me. What you need to do is go to a dictionary to try to figure out what contradiction means, because my first post definitely did not do that. Thank you………

        • unknownskinfan - Jan 13, 2016 at 5:52 PM

          Then allow me to challenge this idea:

          1) Going after Free Agents to fill holes is pretty foolhardy unless you follow what Shanahan did and grab YOUNG and still hungry players (such as getting Garcon at 26/27 years old). A true culture change is getting free agents that will be effective and not just names. Josh Norman, while a pretty good Corner in his own right, is a name. Names sell tickets, but also ruin your cap. Getting smart, able players in more abundance than a spending spree on names helps build a team. But having your own players get developed TRULY makes a team.

          2) You draft for need, yes. But it should always be Best Player Available before need. Thus, no matter what you have legitimate FOOTBALL PLAYERS who fit the scheme being set and also help with depth. If Best Player Available meets Position of Need, then even better. Scherff fit that criterion in Round 1 of the ’15 draft. He may not have made it to Tackle, but he’s a young guard who should be a good player for years to come.

        • rtcwon - Jan 13, 2016 at 6:21 PM

          Let me try again. Your “plug in holes in the draft” clearly requires utilizing the Draft by Position strategy, to which you subscribe. I subscribe to the contradictory theory of Best Player Available. So to me, your “DRAFT GOOD PLAYERS” implies regardless of position. If you meant “DRAFT GOOD PLAYERS” at positions of need, good players is implied and Draft by Position is what you meant to say. If you meant DON’T DRAFT BAD PLAYERS, that is not contradictory but also not what you wrote.

          We agree on FA strategy, fill holes (needs) and upgrade (wants) where you can with scheme and locker room fits. But to me, going into the draft with holes remaining (looking for starters) is a failure of FA and/or a bad team. And often causes the inferior strategy of Draft by Position to be utilized.

  10. colmac69 - Jan 13, 2016 at 12:53 PM

    Defense is priority. …playing 3-4 we nd outside rusher with speed who can beat tackles one on one on regular basis (right now we just don’t have one)……dominant safety (maybe guy like berry from chiefs although can’t see chiefs letting him go)…….perhaps an inside backer with speed…. that would b my three top areas……….u upgrade all three rest of defense could do a job……Offensively find out if jones gonna b man at eb. …..poss receiver if they let gsrcon/jackson walk

    I got every confidance that gm will keep us on right path

  11. Eldridge - Jan 13, 2016 at 2:09 PM

    Who are some free agents that are not on the team we should look at?

    • Rich Tandler - Jan 13, 2016 at 3:23 PM

      Will get to that over the next few weeks.

  12. 226thebeatdontstop - Jan 13, 2016 at 2:10 PM

    Cousins is over rated and got exposed during the second half of the Greenbay game. I think this team can go only so far with him because he cannot create off script.
    Records are fine individually but do nothing for teams trying to be champions .Grudens system is so dependant of everything working perfectly, if one guy fails the production stops

    • metalman5150 - Jan 13, 2016 at 2:21 PM

      226 said, ” if one guy fails the production stops”
      Well if that ain’t the truth with RE to a TEAM sport, like football, then I don’t know what is.

    • hail74 - Jan 13, 2016 at 4:21 PM

      Yeah green bay showed the world that if your able to shut down the redskins already anemic run game and score at will then you can force the redskins to be even more one dimensional than they would like and hold cousins to only 329 yds passing, 2 total tds and 1 TO.

    • John - Jan 13, 2016 at 9:18 PM

      The kid is still learning, so cut him some slack. For what he has done so far without a running game has been impressive.
      Just think what might have happened had the Skins had a respectable running game and a defense that could stop the other team. The defense was good in the first quarter, then went home for the night. Archives

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