Beginning on Thursday, March 14 at 4 p.m. EST, free agency will begin as teams will have the opportunity to sign veterans to their rosters who have become unrestricted free agents.
As it stands now, the Redskins enter the new league year with a reported 16 players set to become unrestricted free agents. Among those 16 players are four 2014 draft picks.
While Washington signed tackle Morgan Moses to a multi-year extension last April, linebacker Trent Murphy, center Spencer Long, cornerback Bashaud Breeland and wide receiver Ryan Grant are waiting on new contracts, whether that be with the team that drafted them or not.
Breeland, of course, has been one of Washington’s starting cornerbacks since being selected with the No. 102-overall pick that year. Over the course of his four seasons with the Redskins, the Clemson product has appeared in 60 games, recording 215 tackles with 60 passes defensed, eight interceptions and one touchdown, which was a 96-yard pick-six against the Los Angeles Chargers last year.
As for Murphy, Washington’s first selection in 2014, the Stanford product missed the entirety of the 2017 season with a torn ACL suffered in the preseason opener against the Baltimore Ravens.
Prior to his injury, Murphy was primed to contribute to Washington’s pass rush on a consistent basis, as he recorded a career-high nine sacks in 2016.
Offensively, Grant is coming off the best season of his career, as the 27-year-old recorded 45 receptions for 573 yards and four touchdowns.
In his end of season press conference last month, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said the team is “going to try and do everything we can to get him back.”
I think he, given the opportunities he got, he took advantage of them and played extremely well,” Gruden said. “He’s tough, physical and very durable and dependable for a quarterback, so that’s what you want.”
Long, meanwhile, made the switch to center during the 2016 season and opened up this past year as the starting center before having his season cut short after six starts due to knee issues.
The Redskins have already re-signed veteran linebacker Mason Foster, but here’s more on the unrestricted free agents who spent the 2017 season on the active roster:
Offensive Lineman Tony Bergstrom
When the Redskins dealt with a rash of offensive line injuries midway through the season, Bergstrom – a six-year veteran – was signed to the active roster in late October.
The 31-year-old appeared in nine games with three starts.
Linebacker Zach Brown
Signed to a one-year deal last offseason, Brown was a bright spot on Washington’s defense in the 13 games he played.
Coming off a Pro Bowl season in 2016 in which he was second in the NFL in tackles, Brown was the league-leader in the category for most of 2017 (he finished with a team-high 127 tackles) before being inactive for the final three games after Washington was eliminated from playoff contention.
Knowing what he brings to the table, Washington is hoping to get a new deal done with the 28-year-old.
“I was impressed,” Gruden said of Brown. “I think what we thought we were getting we got, and we got a very athletic guy that can run sideline to sideline and make some plays. He got hurt there a little bit at the end of the season, unfortunately for him, but he had a solid year. He’s a guy that it’s hard to replace his type of speed.”
While Carter appeared on just two defensive snaps during the season, the veteran out of Fresno State was a mainstay for Washington’s special teams, as he appeared on 330 snaps for the unit.
His season, however, was cut short in early December due to a fractured fibula.
Linebacker Will Compton
Like Brown, Compton is narrowing in on a potential run at free agency. But unlike his fellow inside linebacker, Compton has only played for one team in his NFL career.
Signed as a college free agent in 2013, Compton has spent the past five years in Washington. Alternating between the roles of starter and reserve, he has appeared in 57 games recording 282 tackles with 11 passes defensed and three interceptions.
His best season came in 2016 when he recorded a career-high 106 tackles.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins
Cousins recently completed his third season as Washington’s starting quarterback and his second season under the franchise tag.
Originally joining Washington as a fourth-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, Cousins ranks fourth in franchise history in passing yards (16,206) and sixth in passing touchdowns (99).
Linebacker Junior Galette
2017 finally marked Galette’s on-field debut for Washington after his first two seasons with the Redskins were spent on Injured Reserve due to torn Achilles.
While Galette has been active on social media about his desire to remain with the Redskins, his ultimate goal heading into free agency is to find a team that will give him ample amounts of playing time.
“I just want to play,” Galette said. “I love it here, like I said before, and I’m very thankful for all the opportunities. I want to be here, I want to play.”
Safety DeAngelo Hall
The longest-tenured player on Washington’s roster, Hall returned from the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list in November to seal a road victory over the Seattle Seahawks.
In that game, Hall recorded five tackles along with two passes defensed including a game-winning knockdown in the end zone as time expired.
However, the 15-year veteran’s season ended with back-to-back games as a healthy scratch.
While Hall’s time in the NFL is at the tail end, he still wants to play if given the opportunity.
“I’ve been blessed for a lot of years and I’m thankful for that,” Hall said. “And so, I have the luxury of kind of deciding what I want to do. It just has to be the right situation, the right fit. I guess I’ll know what that looks like when the opportunity presents itself.”
Guard Shawn Lauvao
Signed by the Redskins in 2014, Lauvao has started all 41 of his appearances for Washington.
While Lauvao has been a veteran presence alongside Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams, two of his seasons ended with a placement on Injured Reserve.
Tight End Niles Paul
Paul, of course, still takes on the duties of a typical tight end, but he also serves as the team’s fullback when the offense needs one.
Additionally, the Nebraska product has been the team’s special teams captain the last two years.
Wide Receiver Terrelle Pryor Sr.
Coming off a season in which he recorded more than 1,000 receiving yards, Pryor joined the Redskins last spring as a potential game-changing threat opposite Josh Doctson.
Despite a strong training camp performance, Pryor struggled in his first season in Washington before ending the year on Injured Reserve.
In nine games, Pryor recorded 20 receptions for 240 yards and one touchdown.
Wide Receiver Brian Quick
Like Pryor, Quick was a veteran receiver brought in during last year’s free agency period.
In a reserve role, Quick recorded six receptions for 76 yards.
Defensive Lineman Phil Taylor Sr.
Originally joining Washington as a Reserve/Future signing last January, Taylor was one of the best stories of training camp as he had worked his way into the starting nose tackle role.
But in the Redskins’ third preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Taylor suffered a season-ending torn quad tendon.
Safety Deshazor Everett and tackle Ty Nsekhe are set to become restricted free agents. That means either can negotiate a deal with any NFL team, and if they accept an offer sheet, the Redskins have five days to determine if they want to match what is being offered
As for guard Tyler Catalina, he’ll become an exclusive rights free agent once the league calendar flips.