With the NFC East locked up, it’s time to start looking ahead to how these four teams will stack up entering free agency and preparing for the draft.
Let’s start with the team that will be attempting to defend the division title in 2016, the Washington Redskins.
Alfred Morris RB
Although Morris has regressed greatly since his rookie year, the running back has put together three solid seasons as the Redskins starter. However, Florida rookie Matt Jones has come in to see 144 carries to Morris’ 183.
Depending on if other teams pursue Morris, it will be interesting to see if the Redskins try to keep him at a number they feel comfortable with or move into the future with Matt Jones.
Kirk Cousins QB
The Redskins feel that they may have found a franchise quarterback in Kirk Cousins, who was announced as the starter before the season – sending Robert Griffin III to the bench. Clearly they would like to resign him, but if Cousins recognizes this as his one chance to cash in they may be forced to overpay or lose their division winning QB.
Terrance Knighton DT
Coming from Denver, Knighton was signed on a one year deal this offseason. Although he has recorded just 1.5 sacks this year, the defensive nose tackle position is highly important to a defense.
Having a solid player like Knighton in the middle opens things up for experienced pass rushers like Ryan Kerrigan. Look for the Redskins to bring back Knighton on a short deal.
Kedric Golston, Knighton’s backup, is also a free agent after the season.
Will Blackmon CB
Starting corner Will Blackmon has been part of a Redskins secondary that seems to have finally put something together after struggling for years. If it ‘aint broke, don’t fix it – and that’s what the Redskins will likely do when it comes to this secondary, making their best effort to bring back Blackmon.
Will Compton LB
Compton has seen the second most snaps among the linebackers for Washington and is third on the team in tackles this season. The third year player should be a key addition to the Redskins defense next season if they can hold onto him.
Overall, the Redskins appear to be in good shape to keep their 2015 core in place. If they trust what they’ve seen in Matt Jones and resign Cousins, the offense will stay almost fully in tact. The defense may lose a few parts, but keeps their core in place while potentially losing positions that are easily filled in the draft.
For more on the entire NFC East free agency situation, stay tuned to Inside the Star as I’ll look at the remaining three teams throughout the week and check out Jason Fitzgerald from OverTheCap.com on this Cowboys Cast extra:
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