Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, January 31, 37 days before the March 9 start of NFL free agency.  

Timeline

Days until:

NFL Franchise tag deadline (3/1) 29
—NFL Draft (4/27) 86
First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 222

Five things the Redskins need to do before free agency starts

Free agency in the NFL starts in just a little over five weeks. Here is what the Redskins need to get accomplished between now and March 9.

Finish roster evaluation—If they are going to add players to the roster for the coming season they need to subtract players from the 2016 roster. They need to look at the players they have under contract now and evaluate how they fit into the picture going forward. And they need to look at their players who are going to be free agents and decide if they want to bring any of them back. This process involved film study (a lot of which has been happening since the end of the season) and meetings, which started yesterday.

Related: NFL mock draft ver. 2.0

Set prices on potential free agents—Then it comes down to money, figuring who is worth how much, both your team’s free agents and possible targets on other teams. Cap guru Eric Schaffer has already been doing some work on this, looking at comparable contracts. The pro scouting staff has been in the process of evaluating possible free agent targets on tape. They will have cost parameters for their top targets and the ability to quickly come up with numbers for others.

 

Attend the NFL Combine—Yes, the combine is mostly about the draft. But almost everyone involved in the business end of the NFL gathers in Indianapolis for much of the week. A lot of free agency negotiations start there. Sure, it’s against the rules. But if Dan Snyder or Bruce Allen has dinner with the agent for one of the Redskins’ pending free agents who also happens to represent a different free agent that the team might be interested in, well, there’s nothing to prevent some possible contract numbers being jotted down on a cocktail napkin and passed to the agent, is there? There isn’t, because it happens all the time.

Negotiate with Kirk Cousins, other free agents on the team—Ideally, you would like to get your own free agents who you want to keep under contract before they  become free agents. With Cousins, there is a different timeline working; ideally, they would like to get him signed prior to the March 1 deadline for the franchise tag to be applied. While they could sign him any time after tagging him up until July 15, the Redskins would rather have the certainty of knowing that Cousins is in the fold for the long term before embarking on free agency.

More Redskins: Assessing five mock draft selections

Watch the waiver wire—Players can be released starting on Monday, the day after the Super Bowl. They need to be ready to react to claim any player of interest who goes on the wire (players with fewer than four years of experience) and be ready to attempt to sign veteran players they think can help them.

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Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.