Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, January 15, 53 days before NFL free agency starts.


Days until:
NFL franchise tag deadline 45
NFL draft 102
First Sunday of 2017 season 238

Looking at the Redskins week that was

5 possible Redskins free agent targets—After Scot McCloughan spent big money on Josh Norman you can’t dismiss the Redskins going after any free agent. There are four or five needs that need to be filled in free agency to allow McCloughan to do what he does, draft the best available player regardless of position. We have less than two months before that gets started up and we’ll be covering it extensively.

Is Mike Pettine the favorite to be the defensive coordinator? While there undoubtedly is activity going on behind the scenes at Redskins Park, the team’s search for a defensive coordinator is at a standstill from the fans’ perspective. They could ask to interview a coach who gets eliminated from the playoffs this weekend. Or they could go with Pettine, the first candidate they interviewed. And while Gus Bradley has interviewed with the Chargers, he still appears to be available. I am looking for something to happen this week.

MORE REDSKINS: An easy choice for best special teams player of 2016


The 5 highest-paid Redskins in 2017—Josh Norman tops the list; the cap hit for his five-year contract peaks this year at $20 million. He may not remain the highest paid player. If the Redskins franchise tag Kirk Cousins, that hit will come in at just short of $24 million. And if they are active in free agency, there should be some contracts that will fill the gap between Ryan Kerrigan, third at $11.7 million, and Jordan Reed, fourth at $5.8 million.

5 Redskins who need to step up in 2017—Team improvement from year to year comes in two ways. Most fans and many in the media focus on bringing in new players in free agency and in the draft. But perhaps more important is improvement of players from year to year. If Preston Smith develops consistency and brings his best every week, the Redskins defense will benefit more than it would from almost any free agent or draft pick.

Related: Redskins offensive coordinator resume: Matt Cavanaugh

Redskins ranked near the bottom in defensive spending—The Redskins defense was the red-headed step child of the organization last year. Go to the post to see what the spending split compared to the offense was in 2016. You can’t expect filet mignon results when you’re paying ground chuck prices. As of right now, offensive and defensive expenditures are about even. Perhaps if they keep it that way the defense will have a shot at competence.

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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 @Rich_TandlerCSN.