Redskins will approach Kirk Cousins' deal with eye on future free agents

The Washington Redskins aren't thinking only about Kirk Cousins' contract. They'll make that clear in any conversation; they want to maintain a strong talent base around whoever plays quarterback. Nor is Washington just focused on its other free agents.

The Redskins have 13 unrestricted free agents, including receivers Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson, tight end Vernon Davis and defensive end Chris Baker. They have approximately $64 million in cap room (assuming a $168 million cap). But they also will factor in future free agents when making deals this offseason.

Not every pending free agent will be worth re-signing. But some are definite keepers and the Redskins will want to maintain cap flexibility.

Here's a look at what they have coming up in the next two offseasons:


Right tackle Morgan Moses: The Redskins absolutely want to keep him around long-term. Moses has developed into a solid starter and an excellent bookend with left tackle Trent Williams. Philadelphia's Lane Johnson signed a new contract last offseason worth $11.25 million per year. If Moses approaches that figure, it would represent a nearly $10.5 million bump over his cap figure this coming season.

Center Spencer Long: The Redskins worked him at center last offseason and moved him there full-time when starter Kory Lichtensteiger was hurt early in the 2016 season. Now they view Long as their center of the future and they want to see how he develops. He can also play guard, so his versatility can help the team as well.

Linebacker Trent Murphy: He's coming off his best season, with nine sacks -- three more than his first two years combined. If he continues to improve, he'll get a good raise -- though not an outrageous one. The Redskins do have other outside linebackers: Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith and, if he's healthy, Junior Galette.

Linebacker Junior Galette: If he recovers from his two Achilles tears -- no easy task -- then he'll be more expensive to re-sign. He'll be playing for a low, one-year deal this season. A healthy, productive season will earn him a bigger contract.

Corner Bashaud Breeland: He's not coming off his best season, but entering 2016 he was viewed as an ascending corner. It'll be interesting to see how the change in secondary coaches impacts Breeland. If he plays well, then he'll get a big raise. The Redskins did draft Kendall Fuller last spring and if he develops, then they won't have to pay Breeland. But consider that No. 1 corner Josh Norman turns 30 in December. If Breeland is just OK, he could always switch to safety (assuming he'd want to; that position doesn't pay as much).

Kicker Dustin Hopkins: He'd be a restricted free agent (you need four accrued seasons of six games or more on the 53-man roster to be unrestricted), but he'll still get a raise. And then he'd be a free agent the following year. But he needs a strong third season to warrant future consideration. He has a good leg, but did not have a strong second season.


Receiver Jamison Crowder: He's an excellent threat as a slot receiver, having caught 126 passes his first two years combined. The more he plays, the more of a threat he becomes after the catch, especially on throws underneath. He also is an excellent punt returner. Best guess: He'd receive at least a $5 million raise.

Linebacker Preston Smith: He did not progress in his second year the way anyone hoped. Smith did have some strong games, but was not enough of a factor in 2016. He has the skills to become an excellent player, but his effort must be more consistent.

Running back Matt Jones: He lost his starting job last season and in two years his status could be irrelevant. But I mention him on the chance he has a strong season, whether in '17 or '18.

Guard Arie Kouandjio: As of now, he's a backup. But Shawn Lauvao's contract expires after this season, so there's a chance Kouandjio will be his replacement.