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Redskins Free Agency 2017: Tracking news, rumors and NFC East updates

Redskins Free Agency 2017: Tracking news, rumors and NFC East updates

NFL free agency is more of a rumor mill than a high school cafeteria, and it feels like each year, the Redskins are attached to more of those rumors and happenings than most other franchises.

Therefore, to keep you posted on all the news and buzz that'll inevitably pick up the moment you put your phone down, CSNmidatlantic.com has created this live blog that'll update constantly throughout one of the craziest periods in professional football.

What are you waiting for? Hurry up and scroll down to read the latest stories, analysis and gossip before the next big thing breaks and you're that sad, lonely person at your office or in your house who is a move behind everyone else.

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REDSKINS NEWS

SATURDAY

— Duke Ihenacho sent out some cryptic tweets on Saturday that make it seem like his time with the Redskins is coming to an end. (Read the full story here.)

WEDNESDAY

— Despite needing to rebuild their defensive line, the Redskins decided to release Ricky Jean-Francois after two seasons with the team. They also decided to re-sign Ziggy Hood within minutes of the Jean-Francois move. (Read the full story here.)

SATURDAY

— While the Redskins missed out on bringing back WR DeSean Jackson, they did make a (serious) late push. (Details here.

— The details for WR Terrelle Pryor's contract are out, and they are even more team-friendly than originally suspected. (Details here.

FRIDAY

— According to our own JP Finlay, the Redskins have signed former Cleveland Browns wide receiver Terrelle Pryor. It is reportedly a one-year deal. (Details here.

— Kirk Cousins signed the Redskins' franchise tender Friday morning, his agent announced on Twitter. Cousins is now under contract for 2017 and therefore tradeable. (Details here.)  

THURSDAY

— As the other 31 teams in the league are helping their general managers find players in free agency, the Redskins are officially moving on from theirs. After two years on the job, Scot McCloughan is no longer a part of Washington's front office, with his firing happening Thursday evening. (Read the full story here.)

— The Redskins addressed another position of need on defense: Safety. The team signed former Cardinal D.J. Swearinger, a 25-year-old with a reputation as a hard hitter. Check out the details of the deal here

— Looks like McClain isn't the only defensive lineman signing from the first official day of free agency. In addition to the ex-Cowboy, Washington inked Stacy McGee to a five-year deal Thursday after McGee spent his first four seasons with the Raiders. (Read the full story here). 

— The Redskins reportedly made their first signing to bolster the defensive line, agreeing to bring on former Cowboy Terrell McClain. There are some question marks with the signing due to injury history, which JP Finlay details here

WEDNESDAY

— In an effort to keep two solid contributors from the 2016 roster, Washington tendered Chris Thompson and Will Compton on Wednesday. Those two players can negotiate with other teams, but the 'Skins can match offers if they receive any. (Read the full story here.)

— After a year in which his production spiked, the Redskins decided to bring back Vernon Davis, who signed a multi-year deal Wednesday. Read why his return is key right here.

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REDSKINS-RELATED RUMORS

MONDAY

— Bennie Logan will not be a Redskin in 2017. The lineman, who visited Ashburn on Friday, has opted to sign with the Chiefs instead:

SATURDAY

— After leaving Redskins Park without an offer on Friday, WR Cordarelle Patterson is visiting with the Raiders today. 

— No news is good news on the Bennie Logan front? He is apparently still weighing his options.

FRIDAY

— The Redskins are hosting Eagles DT Bennie Logan on Friday night, per Adam Schefter. 

— It was reported that former Vikings wide receiver was visiting the Redskins by Ian Rapoport, but that the Redskins chose to go with Pryor over Patterson

— A source inside Kirk Cousins' camp tells CSN's Chick Hernandez that the QB will not negotiate a long-term deal with the Redskins as long as Bruce Allen remains team president. More from the report here. 

— A new report says Kirk Cousins has told at least one person that he will be a San Francisco 49er, whether it's in 2017 or 2018. How he could reunite with former OC Kyle Shanahan, and what this report means for negotiations, explained here. 

THURSDAY

— No, it fortunately doesn't appear like the Redskins' offseason strategy is to strictly lose receivers while not adding any. Terrelle Pryor, who had a breakout season with the Browns in 2016, is reportedly taking a visit with the 'Skins. He would big a large splash for a team that hasn't made any yet. (Read the full story here.)

— Former Redskins tight end Logan Paulsen, one of the more reliable blocking TEs in the NFL, appears headed to the San Francisco 49ers.

— Chris Baker, everyone's favorite defensive linemen, is on his way out of Washington, D.C. and joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He said that the Redskins didn't make him a single offer. (Read the full story here.)

— Kirk Cousins wants out of Washington badly enough to go to the very top of the organization asking for a trade, according to a report this morning from Chris Mortenson. This certainly represents an escalation from reports the day before.

— In the latter half of the 2016 Redskins season, the debate surrounding which receiver the Redskins should keep between DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon was a hot topic each week. Well, it appears that the answer to that will end up being "neither," as Jackson is set to become a Buccaneer (Read the full story here.)

WEDNESDAY

— Kirk Cousins probably deserves his own live blog. As of Wednesday evening at 6, one report said that Cousins "has made it clear" he doesn't want to be with the Redskins, and would much rather prefer joining Kyle Shanahan in San Fran. (Read the full story here.)

— Ditto the "he deserves his own live blog" comment for Scot McCloughan. According to some, the Redskins are already searching for his replacement, and he hasn't been a part of some recent vital decisions that were made at Redskins Park. (Read the full story here).

— Pierre Garçon's five-year tenure in D.C. is over. On Wednesday, the tough receiver cashed in with the 49ers, where he'll be working under one of his former offensive coordinators in Shanahan. (Read the full story here.)

—The Redskins needs defensive line help. To ensure that's clear, let's write that sentence again: The team needs defensive line help. Therefore, their interest in Dontari Poe makes a lot of sense. (Read the full story here.)

TUESDAY

—Top-notch organizations find lower-tier free agents who provide major returns on cheap contracts. So, while Andre Holmes and Terrell McClain aren't instantly recognizable names, they are younger players who would fill positions of need for the Redskins. The word on Tuesday is that both were being looked at by the organization. (Read the full story here.)

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NFC EAST AND MAJOR NFL NEWS

SATURDAY

— The Cowboys lost an offensive lineman, but the Giants added one in guard D.J. Fluker. 

— Speaking of the Cowboys, they are still looking for a suitor to trade for QB Tony Romo. However, it seems far more likely they will be forced to release him. 

— Cowboys RT Doug Free has announced his retirement. 

— Former Redskins utility man, Lorenzo Alexander, signed a two-year deal to stay in Buffalo. 

FRIDAY

— The rich got richer. The Patriots traded for star WR Brandin Cooks. They gave up a first round pick and a third round pick. 

— The Browns will release former Redskins QB Robert Griffin III. RG3 had been in Cleveland for less than a year, but his time was plagued with injury. 

THURSDAY

— The Philadelphia Eagles are really bolstering their WR corps. First it was Torrey Smith, and now it apepars Alshon Jeffery is headed to the NFC East. 

— With Brock Osweiler reportedly headed to the Browns, it appears as if Robert Griffin III's time in Cleveland is all but over.

— Here's a stunner. The Browns are acquring QB brock Osweiler and a second-round pick in order to take Osweiler's albatross fo a contract of Houston's hands. It's unclear if the Browns view Osweiler as their future starting QB. The Browns have a ton of cap space and could be more interested in the pick.

— Former Maryland Terrapin and Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith is headed to Philadelphia to join the Eagles.

— Kenny Britt was one talented target that seemed like someone the Burgundy and Gold could be enticed by. However, a report on Thursday says the ex-Rams wideout is heading to Ohio, leaving the Redskins to search elsewhere for replacements for Jackson and Garçon:

WEDNESDAY

— Calais Campbell, who the Redskins were interested in acquiring via free agency, is reportedly signing with the Jaguars. Upset about that? Redskins Insider JP Finlay explains why the Redskins were right to pass on Campbell.

— On Wednesday morning, it was reported that the Redskins were looking at Marquise Goodwin as a possible deep threat addition to their offense. But later in the day, he ended up choosing the 49ers instead, much like Garçon.

— Tony Romo is leaving Dallas. The fragile QB is reportedly going to be released by the Cowboys. (Read the full story here.)

— Eli Manning now has two No. 1 wideouts at his disposal. On Wednesday morning, the Giants agreed to a deal with ex-Jet Brandon Marshall. (Read the full story here.)

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Redskins 2018 position outlook: Outside linebackers

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USA Today Sports Images

Redskins 2018 position outlook: Outside linebackers

Redskins Training camp opens next week, and we have a break here, giving us time to put the depth chart under the microscope.

Between now and the start of camp, we will look at every position, compare the group to the rest of the NFL, see if the position has been upgraded or downgraded from last year, and take out the crystal ball to see what might unfold.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS

Additions: Pernell McPhee (free agent)
Departures: Junior Galette (free agent)

Starters: Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith
Other roster locks: Ryan Anderson, McPhee
On the bubble: Pete Robertson

How the outside linebackers compare

To the rest of the NFL: By any measure, the Redskins had a top-10 pass rush last year. They were tied for seventh with 42 sacks and they got a sack on 7.3 percent of pass attempts, also seventh in the league. Looking forward to this year, Pro Football Focus has them ranked as the sixth-best pass rushing team for 2018. Ryan Kerrigan is showing no signs of slowing down as he approaches age 30 and Preston Smith is about to hit his prime. After the departure of Galette, the depth is questionable, and we’ll deal with that next. Even without Galette, it’s still one of the best units in the NFL. 

To the 2017 Redskins: Some downplay the decision to let Galette walk in free agency, saying he had just three sacks. But his value went beyond that. He had 9 QB hits and 25 hurries, both second-most on the team, in just 258 pass rush snaps. Someone will have to step up and replace that pressure. The spotlight will be on Anderson, who had no sacks after being a second-round pick. He will need to step up for this year’s Redskins pass rush to be as good as last year’s. 

2018 outside linebacker outlook

Biggest upside: Since the 2015 season, only one NFL player has at least 20 sacks, four forced fumbles, and three interceptions and it’s Preston Smith. His consistency is an issue but even when he is going for a few weeks between sacks he is getting pressure on the quarterback. Still, there is more ability there. Smith could set himself up for a big payday by breaking through with a double-digit sack season while continuing to make big plays in his contract year.

Most to prove: To be fair, Anderson did not get a whole lot of chances to rush the passer last year, playing just 81 pass rush snaps. Still, there are reasons to be concerned about how much he can produce after a zero-sack, one-hit, three-hurries 2017 debut season. Anderson was not expected to make a splash as a rookie, but more was anticipated. He was drafted where he was in part because of his work ethic. The Redskins hope he will work his way into a significant second-year leap. 

Rookie watch: There are no rookie outside linebackers on the roster. 

Bottom line: The main concern about the Redskins’ defense this year revolves around the cornerback spot following the departures of Kendall Fuller and Bashaud Breeland. The best way to manage problematic cornerbacks is by getting a strong pass rush. The Redskins need to Smith to have a true breakout season and for Anderson or McPhee to be a strong contributor off the bench. Along with the improved defensive line, the pass rush could transform the defensive line into a quality unit in 2018. 

2018 Redskins Position Outlook Series

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10 Questions in 10 days: More investments on D-Line, but who goes where?

10 Questions in 10 days: More investments on D-Line, but who goes where?

With Redskins Training Camp set to begin July 26th, JP Finlay takes a look at 10 of the most pressing questions for the Burgundy and Gold. 

No. 10: Major questions at linebacker on Redskins depth chart 

No. 9: What is Kevin O’Connell's new role in Redskins offense?

No. 8: More investments on D-Line, but who goes where?

The Redskins had to improve the defensive line this offseason. The defense ranked dead last against the run in 2017, and without improvement up front defensively, the playoffs would again be out of reach in 2018. 

And for the second straight season, Washington tried. 

The team selected Daron Payne out of Alabama with their first-round pick and Tim Settle out of Virginia Tech in the fifth round. The front office also waived under-performing Terrell McClain in the offseason and moved on from veteran A.J. Francis.

Perhaps most important, the team should have 2017 first-rounder Jonathan Allen completely healthy this fall. He and Matt Ioannidis looked like a strong front in 2017 before a foot injury shut down Allen for the year in Week 5. Add in Anthony Lanier, who flashed big-time sack potential, and the Redskins have a strong, young nucleus.  

But how does it all work?

In the base 3-4 scheme, Payne might have the strength to play nose tackle. Settle definitely has the size for the nose. Both are rookies, however, and will need to learn a lot, and fast, to start Week 1. Veteran Stacy McGee, coming off groin surgery, might be able to hold off the rookies if he is fully healthy. When a nose is on the field, expect Allen and Ioannidis to line up at the defensive tackle spots. If he's not playing nose, Payne will rotate in at tackle as well. Another veteran, Ziggy Hood, will provide depth at tackle, if he makes the team. 

In the nickel package, which the team deploys more than half of their snaps, expect to see a healthy rotation of Allen, Payne, Ioannidis and Lanier. Keeping those players fresh should allow interior pocket pressure, and that could be great news for Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith

With Payne and Allen the headliners, and Ioannidis and Lanier valuable, and Settle capable at the nose, the Redskins have five D-line roster spots about locked down. 

Last year, the team kept six defensive linemen coming out of camp. If McGee is healthy, that spot will be his. If he's not, Hood likely hangs on. It's also possible the team keeps seven D-linemen, particularly as they monitor McGee's groin injury. 

The good news is last year, due to injuries and the talent on the roster, a number of players were forced into spots they didn't truly belong. Hood doesn't have the true size to play nose, but he was forced into the position. Lanier is best served as an interior pass rusher, but was forced to be a run stuffer. 

With more investments on the line, and better luck in the training room, the 2018 Redskins D-line should have more people playing where they belong. And that could go a long way. 

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