Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, March 8, six days before NFL free agency starts.  

News and notes

—The Eagles are showing a reluctance to rest on the laurels by trading for Michael Bennett. Trading for a player who is 33 years old and has a cap hit of nearly $8 million doesn’t make sense for a lot of teams, especially one that was about $10 million over the 2018 cap before the trade. You have to think that some teams would be reluctant to deal for Bennett due to his high profile as a social activist. But the deal works for the Eagles, who have a window of opportunity while paying Carson Wentz on the rookie wage scale. They are very aware of this while other teams in a similar spot do not seem to be. They may pay for it down the road like the Seahawks are now, but they want to collect more Lombardi Trophies in the meantime.

—How aggressive will the Redskins be this offseason? Their quarterback will not be on a rookie contract but it’s reasonable to expect that he will outperform his $17 million salary this year. They have been stuck near .500 for the past three seasons. Will they take some chances and squeeze some big contracts into small 2018 cap numbers? Will they use their top draft picks to fill immediate needs rather than being patient and taking the best available player? Trade some future draft picks for immediate help? It would be surprising if they did go the aggressive route. If they do, there is no guarantee that it will work. We will find out starting over the next several days as the pre-free agency frenzy gets underway.


—Being aggressive is not in and of itself a good thing. It worked for the Eagles last year as they made deals all year long. That doesn't mean that moves they make this time around won't backfire. At age 33 Bennett has high bust potential. But they are the team that Washington is chasing, and the Redskins can take what has become their usual cautious approach at their own peril.

—Niles Paul’s tweet here sure makes it look like he has heard that he will not be re-signed by the Redskins.

Paul is right, of course, he has played his role and done what has been asked of him. He moved from wide receiver to tight end, took a leadership role on special teams, and lined up at fullback when needed. His departure has seemed to be inevitable since the Redskins drafted Jeremy Sprinkle last year in the fifth round. If Paul does not return, the Redskins likely will have five players left who were on the roster when Mike Shanahan was the head coach from 2010-2013.

—The survivors of the Shanahan era are Ryan Kerrigan, Jordan Reed, Nick Sundberg, Trent Williams, and Chris Thompson. Will Compton could re-sign adding a sixth. Players who were on the team with Shanahan who are likely to depart soon are Paul, DeAngelo Hall, and Kirk Cousins. Hall is the only player who predates Shanahan’s arrival; he joined the team in 2008 when Jim Zorn was the head coach. Williams, a 2010 draft pick, remains the longest-tenured Redskin.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 30
—NFL Draft (4/26) 49
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 185

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