Here is what you need to know on this Friday, February 9, 33 days before NFL free agency starts.
The coming weeks
Now that the Super Bowl is over, the offseason has officially started. Here are some of the events and deadlines coming up in the next few months and their significance to the Redskins.
Feb 5, Roster moves can be made—This was last Monday, the day after the Super Bowl. Players can be released from what is now a 90-man roster. We already have seen former Redskins CB David Amerson get cut by the Raiders and former island man Darrelle Revis get let go by the Chiefs. Teams also can sign players who have been let go; they do not have to wait until the start of free agency. Also, in a more technical move, the injured reserve list is reset. All of the Redskins who finished the season on IR and are still under contract, players like Jordan Reed and Jonathan Allen, are on the roster and count against the 90-man limit.
March 1, NFL Combine starts—The running, jumping, poking, prodding, and interviews get underway in Indianapolis. There will be 337 prospects there. The Redskins likely will have eliminated as many as a third of them from consideration based on what the area scouts observed in film study and background checks. They will conduct due diligence on, say, first-round offensive tackles but with limited resources, they will hone in more on defensive linemen and perhaps wide receivers who will be around in the first and second rounds.
March 6, Franchise tag window opens—This was shaping up to be a very important date for the Redskins with the Kirk Cousins contract situation looming. But now the chatter that they may use the franchise tag on the quarterback appears to be just a bluff. It is unlikely that the Redskins will use either the franchise or transition tag on anyone this year. For the record, the window to use the tag opens on February 20 but players rarely get tagged prior to the deadline.
March 14, Free agency starts—The market actually gets going on the morning of the 12th, when player agents can legally contact teams and start negotiating contracts (they like to pretend that such activities really start during the combine). Players can be officially signed starting at 4 p.m. on the 14th, which is when the new league year starts. That also is when trades can be made official, so we can expect the Redskins and the Chiefs to submit the Alex Smith-Kendall Fuller trade paperwork to the league shortly after 4 p.m. Also expect Smith to appear at Redskins Park soon after that to officially sign his contract extension.
If the Redskins have not signed them before the league year starts, their players with expiring contracts such as Zach Brown, Niles Paul, and Trent Murphy are free to sign with other teams. Of course, the Redskins still can remain in the mix to get a deal done with these players, too.
April 16, Offseason workouts start—Although many players are working out already, they can officially start participating in a team-organized program on this date. Initially, it’s only weights and conditioning but they eventually wind up doing activities that more resemble the game of football. But they can’t line up offense vs. defense until OTAs start in late May.
April 26, NFL Draft—The Redskins have seven picks. They don’t have one in the third due to the Smith trade and they have an extra seventh from the 49ers. Drafts always are important, but it will be particularly interesting to see how the Redskins fare in this one after revamping their personnel department, putting Doug Williams in as the VP of player personnel and making Kyle Smith the director of college scouting. The aspect that is not different is that for the third time in the last five drafts, Bruce Allen will have the final say.
—NFL Combine (3/1) 20
—NFL Draft (4/26) 76
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 212
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