Here are the moves the Washington Redskins should consider when free agency opens at 4 p.m. ET Thursday:
Defensive line: The Redskins have four free-agent linemen -- Chris Baker, Ziggy Hood, Cullen Jenkins and Kedric Golston. They’re not going to retain all of them and there’s a chance only two will remain (Hood and Baker). But even if they keep two, the Redskins will attack this position in the offseason, both in free agency and the draft. There are players who fit what they need: Dontari Poe and Brandon Williams. Calais Campbell is a name to watch, too. Though he’s 30, he has kept himself in top shape and hasn’t missed a game the past two seasons. Bennie Logan and Johnathan Hankins are run-stuffing options, and, therefore, less expensive. They need more depth and versatility up front; their inability to stop the run -- in their base and nickel defenses -- has really hurt.
Linebacker: At the combine, Redskins coach Jay Gruden touched on the need to have athletic linebackers to best defend more spread attacks. They do feel OK about Will Compton and Mason Foster inside, but there’s no doubt if they have a chance to upgrade with a top inside linebacker then they’ll try to do so. Keep in mind: Compton is a restricted free agent, so when they make a tender offer to him, it will reveal more about how they view him and the situation inside. Dont’a Hightower will be a free agent and the best available, but his price tag might surge too high. San Francisco's Gerald Hodges would represent a low-cost option.
Receiver: This could really be a few positions -- safety; interior offensive lineman -- but receiver will be interesting because of what happens with Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson. There’s long been a good chance both will depart; the Redskins have shown little urgency in retaining either one. That could change, and perhaps they attempt to keep Jackson. If both test the market, the Redskins will be looking for a veteran wideout. The most prominent name mentioned has been Kenny Britt, coming off a 1,000-yard season. The Redskins do like what they have with their young wideouts, but they will be in the market for another.