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 »This Week in History
Washington Redskins
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

  Inside Slant | Notes, Quotes | Strategy and Personnel | Player Wire

  TEAM NEEDS

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 unsigned. Kedric Golston and Frank Kearse are backups.

PERSONNEL TRACKER

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.

WR Leonard Hankerson had eight catches for 106 yards in his second start as a rookie in 2011 but suffered a season-ending hip injury and was never as effective again. Although he was a rare Redskins receiver with size, he didn't catch a single ball for new coach Jay Gruden in 2014 and won't return.

RB Roy Helu flashed as a starter as a rookie in November 2011. A toe injury ruined his 2012 season but Helu performed well as a third-down back in 2013 and 2014. However, Helu made clear in December that he wants to compete for a starting spot, something that won't happen with Alfred Morris entrenched in Washington. So if Helu finds a team to his liking, he'll be gone.

DE Jarvis Jenkins was playing well when he tore his right knee in the third game of his rookie preseason in 2011. Jenkins didn't record a sack while starting 28 games in 2012 and 2014. While he wants to return, it's likely that Jenkins will be part of an overhaul of the line underway under new coordinator Joe Barry.

QB Colt McCoy was the most consistently effective of the Redskins' three quarterbacks in 2014. However, Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins are under contract and he's not. What's more, Gruden named Griffin as the starter last month. After reviving his career in 2014, it's likely that McCoy will try to find a team that doesn't have a declared No. 1 quarterback.

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 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.

OLB Brian Orakpo was a Pro Bowl pick in 2009, 2010 and 2013, but he missed the final 14 games of 2012 with a torn pec and the final nine games of 2014 with a similar injury. What's more, Orakpo, who has averaged 9.5 sacks during his four full seasons, managed just half a sack before he went down last year which was hardly the way to prove himself to head coach Jay Gruden. With Justin Houston off the market, Orakpo figures to get a much better offer from a team other than the Redskins, who drafted his heir apparent, Trent Murphy, in the second round last May.

TE Niles Paul converted from receiver after his rookie season of 2011, but was mostly a special-teamer until Jordan Reed was injured in last year's opener. Paul caught 21 passes for 313 yards in the first four games en route to season totals of 39 for 507. If offensive coordinator Sean McVay and special teams Ben Kotwica want Paul back, expect hm to re-sign.

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.

CB Justin Rogers played in three games after being signed last December. Formerly with Buffalo, Miami and Houston, the 27 year old could return if the defensive coaches like what they've seen on tape.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

K Kai Forbath 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 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.

S Trenton Robinson made some plays on special teams during his 26 games since he signed with Washington during the 2013 season. Robinson also picked off a pass in very limited snaps on defense in 2014. There's no reason for the 25 year old not to be retained.

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. If Helu leaves, Thompson could be Washington's third-down back.

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED

S Duke Ihenacho: Potential ERFA; $680,000/1 yr.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED

DE Ricky Jean Francois: FA Colts; $9M/3 yrs, $4M guaranteed.

T Xavier Nixon (waivers Colts).

PLAYERS LOST

DE Stephen Bowen (released).

S Ryan Clark (retired).

NT Barry Cofield (released/failed physical).


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