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Monday, March 17, 2014
Resetting the roster: Linebacker

By John Keim

Taking a look at the Washington Redskins' linebacker position and how it looks now compared to before free agency:

On the roster: Ryan Kerrigan, Perry Riley, Brian Orakpo, Keenan Robinson, Brandon Jenkins, Will Compton, Jeremy Kimbrough, Josh Hull, Gabe Miller, Adrian Robinson.

Added in free agency: Daryl Sharpton, Adam Hayward.

Left in free agency: Darryl Tapp signed with Detroit.

Still unsigned: Rob Jackson, Bryan Kehl and Nick Barnett. Jackson is visiting with Oakland and I have not heard much on Barnett. The Redskins will keep an eye on Jackson, but they've had minimal contact with him this offseason -- and none until the legal tampering period started March 8. Kehl tore his ACL last October.

On the market: OLB Anthony Spencer, ILB Akeem Jordan, ILB Pat Angerer, OLB Parys Haralson, ILB Paris Lenon. Spencer visited Washington on Thursday and there's still a chance he signs here, but health is an issue after he underwent micro-fracture surgery. With Kerrigan and Orakpo already on the roster, Spencer would not have a full-time role, but could help the rush in certain packages. Jordan would at least give them someone who has started, but who also is strong on special teams and is familiar with a 3-4. In other words, someone like Sharpton. Angerer is best in a 4-3. Haralson tore his pectoral muscle in January with New Orleans. He played in a 3-4 with San Francisco. Lenon is 36. I wouldn't be surprised if the Redskins added another veteran, though I'm not sure it will necessarily come from this group.

What it means thus far: If the Redskins had wanted some of the big names available, they did not pursue them that intensely if at all. It also means they don't want to invest too heavily at this spot, clearly preferring to put their money at the premium defensive positions -- notably outside linebacker and pass-rusher. They view Sharpton as a potential starter but with a one year deal and for a $1.75 million cap hit, he's not a lock. If nothing else, he and Hayward should help the special teams.

Robinson is talented, but having missed most of the first two seasons because of torn pectoral muscles, it's tough to know if and when he'll be able to start. Honestly, the best addition to linebacker this offseason has been the coaches, especially Kirk Olivadotti on the inside. He's a good one to develop Robinson. And because of Olivadotti's work with young linebackers, I could see them drafting one on the inside. Outside linebackers coach Brian Baker has a good reputation too. Adding these coaches will help this group.