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Redskins must maintain flexibility for future in any deal with Kirk Cousins

When the Washington Redskins finally secure a deal with quarterback Kirk Cousins, they’ll do so with an eye toward the contracts of other players on the roster -- not just free agents they want to sign this year, but those who are up after next season, too. It's why they must work to secure the right deal with Cousins so it doesn't hurt them for other deals. But that's something they've mostly done well the past several offseasons.

This season, linebacker Junior Galette also is a free agent and his deal could get complicated depending on his desires. Does he want a one-year deal so he can post big numbers and get a bigger contract next offseason? If so, that will be tougher on the Redskins. More on that in a future post.

But it’s also about next offseason. That’s when the Redskins will have four key free agents. It’s not as if they’ll re-sign all of these players, but if they don’t they’ll still have to replace them in some manner and some will be expensive.

Here’s who will be up for new deals:

Receivers DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon: Both would be expensive to keep around (assuming similar production in 2016 and still healthy). It wouldn’t stun me if they tried to extend one of them this offseason, hoping to lower their cap hits this season by a little and ensuring that they have productive targets for a few more seasons. Garcon brings a lot in terms of style of play, etc., and his size probably translates better to being productive over the next few years. I’d worry a little about how much longer Jackson can produce given his size and reliance on speed. But as long as that speed exists, he’s dangerous.

Tight end Jordan Reed: He’ll play out his rookie contract this season and, as of recently, there was no movement at all to having him sign a new deal. That’s not surprising: Reed will count $833,166 against the cap this season. For a team that needs to create more space, signing him to a long-term deal now wouldn’t make sense. Perhaps if they reach the summer with good cap space they could do a deal then -- unless there’s a desire, given his past, to make sure he’s relatively durable a second straight season.

Defensive end Chris Baker: He won the starting job over Stephen Paea this past season and makes several million dollars less than him. Yes, that will be duly noted during any negotiations. Baker will be 29 next offseason and if he plays well again this would be his biggest payday. That doesn’t mean it would be a prohibitive deal, but he would require a solid raise if nothing else. If he plays well, it would give the Redskins a chance to take care of one of their own as he’s grown up in the NFL with this franchise.