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Need to Know: How many Redskins roster spots are up for grabs in 2017?

Need to Know: How many Redskins roster spots are up for grabs in 2017?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, February 19, 18 days before the March 9 start of NFL free agency.  

Timeline

Days until:

—NFL Franchise tag deadline (3/1) 10
—NFL Combine (3/2) 11
—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 57
—NFL Draft (4/27) 67
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 203

Sunday morning quick hitters

How many spots up for grabs? A quick mid-February look down the final 2016 53-man roster shows about 20 players who may not be on the roster for Week 1 this year. This includes players who may depart as free agents and others who just won’t make the team. They probably won’t turn over that many spots but it does show that a lot of jobs are up for grabs.

RELATED: #RedskinsTalk Podcast - It's tag day

How many draft picks? The Redskins have nine draft picks, their own in rounds 1-6 and extra picks in rounds 4, 5, and 6. It’s easy to say that Scot McCloughan may turn that into as many as a dozen picks, especially with all the roster spots that may be open. But remember that last year the Redskins wound up with just seven picks with no pick in the fourth and two in the seventh. McCloughan may intend to stockpile more picks but it depends on how the draft unfolds.

1st-round RB a bad idea: Yesterday JP and I posted on the topic of Rob Kelley as the Redskins’ prime running back this season and it drew quite a bit of discussion on Twitter and on Facebook. I think that they should try to get an upgrade over Kelley but I don’t think they should use their first-round pick to do it. There are just too many other, higher priority needs.

More Redskins: NFL Mock Draft 3.0

A turnaround for Matt Jones? Last year Trent Murphy broke out after two mediocre seasons to register nine sacks. Can Jones do the something similar in this, his third season? The rough equivalent of Murphy’s performance would be Jones rushing for 800 yards. It’s as much a matter of him holding on to the ball as anything. Jones was on pace to rush for over 1,100 yards before losing his grip on the starting job, literally and figuratively.

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In case you missed it

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Redskins365 Episode 2: This Is Where I Wanted To Be

Redskins365 Episode 2: This Is Where I Wanted To Be

Over the 2019 offseason, the Washington Redskins periodically released episodes to a new series called "Redskins 365". Here, viewers can get an all-access look into all the important moments leading up to the 2019-20 season.

In Episode 2 titled "This Is Where I Wanted To Be" the focus in on the players, both new and old.

When free agency opened up during the 2019 offseason the biggest splash the Redskins made was the acquisition of safety Landon Collins. Heading over from a divisional rival, Collins as well as other members of the organization break down the signing and his fit within the team. The safety also shares his story about receiving a Sean Taylor jersey and what it means to join the team his idol played on.

The episode also touches on other free agent signings Ereck Flowers and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie as well as the trade for quarterback Case Keenum. Head coach Jay Gruden gives his thoughts on the newest member of the QB room and explains how he'll fit in with Colt McCoy.

Speaking of McCoy, the show then takes a detour to Austin, Texas. There, McCoy reflects on his time at the University of Texas as well as his up and down NFL career that included a season-ending injury just a season ago.

From one Big 12 star to another, the episode concludes with a spotlight on Adrian Peterson. After a whirlwind first season in Washington, AP is back for more. The always-dependable runner shares his thoughts on his first season and explains how he deals with expectations.

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    Why the Redskins release of Mason Foster makes sense, and what happens next at ILB

    Why the Redskins release of Mason Foster makes sense, and what happens next at ILB

    The Redskins released Mason Foster just one day before the start of training camp, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Washington, and while the move makes sense on the field the timing seems weird. 

    Let's start with explaining why the move makes sense:

    After Reuben Foster blew out his knee during offseason workouts, the team signed veteran linebacker Jon Bostic. In a few weeks, Bostic proved the ability to call plays in the huddle and looked like a strong fit for Washington in their run defense. 

    With Bostic in the fold, and a slew of younger linebackers on the roster in Shaun Dion Hamilton, Josh Harvey-Clemons and Cole Holcomb, Mason Foster's game became expendable in the eyes of the Redskins front office. After all, Foster had previously been the linebacker to call plays in the huddle and his strength was piling up tackles in the run game.

    Add in the fact that releasing Foster clears $4 million in salary cap space, and Bostic counts less than $2 million, and the business side makes sense, too. 

    Why release Mason Foster now?

    The timing on this seems a little odd. The Redskins surely knew that Foster cost more than Bostic a month ago, and they knew about the other young linebackers on the roster. A release after minicamp might have allowed Foster to sign elsewhere already. The good news for Foster is that he won't have to play through training camp in Richmond, and risk injury, before maybe catching on with another team. He can now sign anywhere else. 

    Looking beyond the immediate impact to Foster, the Redskins could be freeing cap space for a subsequent move. Maybe there's a player available in free agency now that they want to make a run at, or they expect a player to become available.

    It's also entirely possible the money from releasing Foster could be used to get more cash to contract holdout Trent Williams or towards a Brandon Scherff extension. Keep in mind, however, that releasing Foster is only about a 2 percent difference on the overall salary cap. His release is not making or breaking any deal. 

    What's next for Redskins?

    Foster was the team's leading tackler last season and in two of the past three seasons. His absence will be missed, but the Washington brain trust must believe that production can be replaced. Expect Bostic and Hamilton to start when training camp opens, and Harvey-Clemons to work as the nickel linebacker. This also could mean a much greater opportunity for the rookie Holcomb. 

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