STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
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Redskins backup quarterback Colt McCoy signed a one-year contract to return to Washington in 2015.
McCoy ended the season with a neck injury but played in five games, completing 71.1 percent of his passes.
The Redskins signed free-agent cornerback Chris Culliver. Terms of the deals were not disclosed, but Culliver reportedly signed a four-year contract worth $32 million. Knighton reportedly signed a one-year, $4 million deal.
Culliver, who visited the team Thursday, spent his first four years with the San Francisco 49ers after being taken in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft. The 6-foot, 199-pound Culliver compiled 121 tackles, seven interceptions, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in 46 career games with 20 starts for the 49ers and appeared in Super Bowl XLVII.
Culliver, 26, came back from a torn ACL, and established career highs in starts (14), tackles (45), interceptions (four) and passes defensed (14) in 2014.
The Redskins continued to add beef to their defensive line, signing tackle Terrance Knighton. The deal is for one year and $4 million.
Knighton joins Stephen Paea and Ricky Jean Francois as additions to Washington's line. Paea signed a four-year deal reportedly worth $21 million.
That trio joins a group that includes Jason Hatcher, Chris Baker, Frank Kearse and Kedric Golston.
Knighton, 6 feet 3 and 331 pounds, has anchored the Denver Broncos' run defense for the past two years.
Drafted in the third round in 2009 by the Jacksonville Jaguars, he has 201 tackles and 12.5 sacks in his six seasons.
The Redskins re-signed tight end Niles Paul to a three-year contract worth about $10 million. Paul was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent March 10.
A fifth-round pick in 2011, Paul switched from wide receiver to tight end in 2012 and put together his best season in 2014.
With starter Jordan Reed in and out of the lineup due to injuries, Paul caught 39 passes for 507 yards and a touchdown.
1. Safety: Ryan Clark retired and fellow 30-something veteran Brandon Meriweather is a free agent and won't return as Washington continues its long-running search for solutions at this spot. Phillip Thomas, a fourth-round pick in 2013 who finally got on the field in the second half of last season, could be one for new secondary coach Perry Fewell as could former Denver starter Duke Ihenacho.
2. Offensive line: The Redskins allowed a boatload of sacks the last two years. Left tackle Trent Williams is the only sure thing among the veteran-laden group although center Kory Lichtensteiger is another likely keeper even as new line coach Bill Callahan tries to bulk up his unit. Washington re-signed right tackle Tom Compton, a restricted free agent on Feb. 27.
3. Defensive line: New general manager Scot McCloughan has already begun to rework this unit, releasing former starters Barry Cofield and Stephen Bowen and signing former Indianapolis starting end Ricky Jean Francois, whom he drafted in San Francisco in 2009. Right end Jason Hatcher's debut Redskins season at 32 wasn't as productive as his price tag. There are no other sure returnees in new defensive line coach Robb Akey's rotation beyond 27-year-old swingman Chris Baker with disappointing left end Jarvis Jenkins gone to Chicago. Kedric Golston and Frank Kearse are backups. They did sign Ricky Jean Francois and Terrance Knighton.
FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.
TRANSITION PLAYER: None.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
CB E.J. Biggers has plenty of speed but can't cover anyone. Even with Washington's concerns at cornerback, don't look for Biggers a protege of former defensive backs coach Raheem Morris to be back.
S Brandon Meriweather was either injured or suspended for illegal hits more often than he played well the past three seasons. It's doubtful that new coordinator Joe Barry or new defensive backs coach Perry Fewell are interested in a 31 year old with a bad reputation and just three picks for Washington.
WR Santana Moss achieved more as a Washington receiver than anyone except the underrated Gary Clark and Hall of Famers Art Monk and Charley Taylor, but Moss will be 36 in June, was a backup the past three seasons and he caught just 10 balls in 10 games in 2014. His time is up in the NFL.
NT Chris Neild had two sacks as a rookie backup in 2011 but he missed 2012 and 2014 with torn ACLs. If the new defensive staff wants a hard worker, he fits, but Neild is damaged goods.
T Tyler Polumbus was decent as a fill-in for injured right tackle Jammal Brown during Washington's NFC East championship season of 2012. However, Polumbus' play deteriorated after that, especially in pass protection. He was benched at mid-season of 2014 in favor of the untested Tom Compton and won't be back.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
K Kai Forbath (tendered at $1.542M with no compensation) beat out draft pick Zach Hocker in a tight summer competition and the Redskins are glad that he did because Forbath nailed 24 of 27 field-goal attempts and after three seasons is the most accurate kicker (88.1 percent) in franchise history. Forbath's kickoffs, an issue in 2012 and 2013, were better in 2014, too. The one-time rookie free agent will return.
EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS
G Rishaw Johnson was with six organizations the past three seasons but his only action was three games with Kansas City in 2013. He signed with the Redskins last December so head coach Jay Gruden and offensive coordinator Sean McVay must like him enough to want to bring him to camp. That is unless Johnson was a favorite of former offensive line coach Chris Foerster.
RB Chris Thompson is just 5-foot-7 and he has been injury-prone, but he's very quick. Head coach Jay Gruden liked Thompson enough to keep the Mike Shanahan draft pick over one of his own, Lache Seastrunk, last summer. With Roy Helu Jr. gone, Thompson could be Washington's third-down back.
S Duke Ihenacho: Potential ERFA; $680,000/1 yr.
QB Colt McCoy: UFA; $1.5M/1 yr, $150,000 SB.
T Niles Paul: Potential UFA; $6M/3 yrs, $1M SB/$2.25M guaranteed.
S Trenton Robinson: ERFA; terms unknown.
CB Justin Rogers: Not tendered as RFA; terms unknown.
CB Chris Culliver: UFA 49ers; $32M/4 yrs, $5M SB/$16M guaranteed.
DE Ricky Jean Francois: FA Colts; $9M/3 yrs, $4M guaranteed.
S Jeron Johnson: UFA Seahawks; $3.5M/2 yrs.
DT Terrance Knighton: UFA Broncos; $4M/1 yr, $2M SB/$2.95M guaranteed.
T Xavier Nixon (waivers Colts).
DT Stephen Paea: UFA Bears; $21M/4 yrs, $5M SB/$7.85M guaranteed.
DE Stephen Bowen (released).
S Ryan Clark (UFA/retired).
NT Barry Cofield (released/failed physical).
WR Leonard Hankerson: UFA Falcons; $1M/1 yr, $255,000 SB.
RB Roy Helu: UFA Raiders; 2 yrs, terms unknown.
DE Jarvis Jenkins: UFA Bears; terms unknown.
OLB Brian Orakpo: UFA Titans; $31M/4 yrs, $5 SB/$13.5M guaranteed.