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Need to Know: Free agency begins with Redskins relatively tight on cap space

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Need to Know: Free agency begins with Redskins relatively tight on cap space

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, March 9, the day NFL free agency starts.

Redskins fans should tamp down their expectations

It used to be that the day that free agency started was like Christmas Day for Redskins fans. There would be all sorts of presents under the tree—a safety here, a guard there, maybe a running back and a big defensive lineman. And all paid for out of Dan Snyder’s checkbook (and before that they were courtesy of Jack Kent Cook or his foundation).

On closer examination, however, everyone found out that the new toys were not all shiny and new. That safety had lost a step from when he was in Toys R Us and he had a slightly damaged shoulder. The running back who used to be able to break long runs with regularity was getting caught from behind after just a few steps. The D-lineman just didn’t move like he used to.

By midseason the fans had lost interest in the new toys because, well, they weren’t really new and they weren’t much fun. The talk turned to their wish list for the following Christmas, assuming that the team could somehow work its budget to make it happen.

I think that this point most fans are wise to the false hope that that the NFL sells at this time every year. And even if the Redskins were still interested in buying those beat-up toys that are on the market their team really doesn’t have the means to do so.

Right now they are sitting on about $20 million in salary cap space. That sounds like a lot but it’s not. There are 16 teams that have more to spend than they do. Of those, 14 have $30 million or more to spend. It will be easy for many teams to outbid them for players.

And that money will go fast. It will cost about $3 million to bring back Mason Foster, probably another $4 million for Junior Galette. The will need a starting nose tackle, which will run about $4 million and a mid-range strong safety, which will run about $3 million. Oh, and don’t forget that Kirk Cousins is the only QB on the roster. Colt McCoy or another veteran backup will cost at least $3 million.

So that totals $17 million. So you’ve got $3 million left to pay players on injured reserve and injury settlements and pay your practice squad. That could get tight.

Sure, they can create more room by letting go of players like Perry Riley and Andre Roberts. But instead of buying more false hope in the form of free agents with that money, how about taking care of Jordan Reed and locking him up for next several years rather than having him hit free agency in 2017?

There will not be many new toys under the tree this year. That’s not how Scot McCloughan likes to build. Christmas will have to wait until April 28 when the NFL Draft gets underway.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 59 days ago. It will be about 186 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 40; 2016 NFL draft 50

In case you missed it

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Three plays that show why the Redskins' screen game is so effective

Three plays that show why the Redskins' screen game is so effective

By Ryan Wormeli

The Redskins eked out a close win at home on Sunday, coming away with a 26-24 final over the 49ers. One of the keys to the team's success on offense was their effective screen game. 

Doc Walker says running back Chris Thompson is the best in the NFL at catching screens and turning them into big plays. Still, he knows it takes more than just one great player to find success in the screen game.

On Redskins Gameplan, he turned to the film to break down three big plays from Sunday's victory, highlighting the offensive line in giving Thompson the room he needed to make something happen.

Play 1: Recievers getting in on the "Block Party"

Nearly half of the Redskins on the field for this play found themselves with someone to block. Walker points out how active the big guys are, shouting out Brandon Scherff and Shawn Lauvao in particular. The receivers get some shine too, with Doc even pointing out, "You know you gotta give 11 some credit on that."

RELATED: LATEST 6 NFL POWER RANKINGS

Play 2: Trent Williams just keeps looking for guys to block

With the Redskins deep in their own territory, they once again call for a screen pass, and you know Doc gets really excited to see the big fellas move.

"Now watch the big uglies, downfield. Agile! Hostile! Getting after it! Staying on their feet, no belly floppers," exclaimed Walker. "That's the key to it."

Play 3: Brandon Scherff redeems himself later in the drive

Brandon Scherff started off this important drive with a holding penalty, costing his team valuable yards. He then saw the screen pass as an opportunity to make it up to his teammates, and he takes full advantage.

Doc has just one thing to say for players staring down an angry Brandon Scherff.

"You, my friend, are in trouble."

RELATED: WEEK 7 STATE OF THE 'SKINS

The Redskins probably hoped their game against the winless 49ers would be a bit more comfortable than a 26-24 victory. Still, when they found themselves in a dogfight, they were able to rely on their quality screen game to get them big yardage when needed, and it helped them come out with a big Week 6 win.

For more segments like this, tune in to Redskins Gameplan at 6 p.m. on Thursday.

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All about the Lisfranc injury, the injury that Jonathan Allen is now dealing with

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Bob Youngentob

All about the Lisfranc injury, the injury that Jonathan Allen is now dealing with

Whether you're a medical expert or not, odds are that when you saw the words "Lisfranc injury" next to the words "Jonathan Allen," you had an inkling that wasn't a good thing. Unfortunately, that inkling was right.

On Tuesday, it was reported that Allen, who was originally expected to miss about a month, will actually be sidelined for the rest of the season because of the Lisfranc issue that popped up in Washington's game vs. San Francisco. So, what's the deal with this injury?

Here's some information on the ailment that ended the first-round pick's first year with the Redskins.

MORE: UPDATED NFL POWER RANKINGS — 'SKINS REMAIN IN TOP 10

What part of the foot is affected by a Lisfranc injury?

OrthoInfo.org says that a Lisfranc injury occurs when bones "in the midfoot are broken or ligaments that support the midfoot are torn." They're common with football players because often times they happen when one player steps on the foot of another, or when a player's cleat doesn't release normally from the field.

What's the recovery from a Lisfranc injury like?

Players affected by a Lisfranc injury can opt to take the surgery route or recover without surgery. According to Ian Rapoport, though, Allen has chosen to undergo surgery.

After the operation, Allen will probably stay off the foot for at least a month and a half or two months. He'll then be allowed to slowly bear weight on it, and eventually, the screws should be removed.

Reputable NFL doctor Robert Anderson said in a 2013 interview that the overall process usually takes five or six months. However, as is the case for most surgeries, recovery time does vary.

RELATED: WASHINGTON IS VISITING AN MVP FAVORITE IN PHILLY

What other NFL players have had a Lisfranc injury in the past?

As mentioned earlier, this isn't an uncommon injury in the NFL. Here's a sample of guys who've had it in the recent past:

  • Matt Schaub
  • Le'Veon Bell
  • Jake Locker
  • Morgan Moses (his rookie year was also ended by one)
  • Maurice Jones-Drew
  • Santonio Holmes
  • Jimmy Smith
  • Dwight Freeney

Some guys, like Bell and Freeney, emerged from the injury and continued to improve. But others, like Locker and Holmes, had major difficulty coming back from it.

Can a Lisfranc injury linger?

It sure can, and that's obviously something the Redskins are really, really hoping won't happen with Allen. A study published by the University of Pennsylvania reported that more than 90 percent of players who suffered a Lisfranc injury resumed playing within 15 months (Allen should apparently come back much sooner) and saw no noticeable decrease in performance.

With that being said, arthritis can flare up in the foot. In addition, players can still feel pain long after surgery and long after their return to action. So this is clearly a tricky thing and something that may affect the talented defensive lineman for a long time to come.