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2016 Free Agency Outlook: Outside Linebackers


With free agency set to begin in March,'s Stephen Czarda previews the 2016 NFL free agent class position-by-position. Today's focus is on the outside linebackers.

You can never have too many quality pass rushers, and the Washington Redskins would certainly like more to pair with established veteran Ryan Kerrigan and youngsters Trent Murphy and Preston Smith.

That also means the team wants more consistency from the pass rush, as the Redskins' success of getting to the opposing quarterback varied last season.

In total, Washington finished the season with 38 sacks, tied for 14th most in the NFL, in Joe Barry's first season guiding the Redskins' defense.

"It's one of those things in my first year kind of figuring out peoples make up, figuring out what was going on, what coaches were looking for," Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan said. "Because we started good on our run defense beginning of the season, you know then towards the end of the season we started to rushing the passer better. But again it's a process; everyone's kind of getting to know each other and it's a new defensive staff pretty much, a second-year head coach and it's just getting to know who can do what and not do what."

While the trio of Kerrigan, Murphy and Smith are all under contract for next season, the team must make a decision on soon-to-be free agent Junior Galette.

Signed by the Redskins during training camp, Galette came to Washington eager to start anew after a tumultuous ending to his career with the New Orleans Saints.

From the start, it looked like the Galette would instantly be a threat in the Redskins' defense after back-to-back double-digit sack seasons.

But before the Redskins' regular season opener, Galette was lost for the season with a torn Achilles suffered during practice.

Even if the Redskins do re-sign Galette, here's the other options on the free agent market via

--Sam Acho, Chicago Bears 
--James Anderson, New Orleans Saints 
--Mark Barron, Los Angeles Rams 
--Kroy Biermann, Atlanta Falcons 
--Nigel Bradham, Buffalo Bills 

The Washington Redskins today announced the signing of linebacker Junior Galette. Take a look back at the pass rusher's five-year NFL career.

--Dwight Freeney, Arizona Cardinals 
--Junior Galette, Washington Redskins
--Chad Greenway, Minnesota Vikings 
--Tamba Hali, Kansas City Chiefs 
--Bruce Irvin, Seattle Seahawks 
--Emmanuel Lamur, Cincinnati Bengals 
--Travis Lewis, Detroit Lions 
--Albert McClellan, Baltimore Ravens 
--Mike Morgan, Seattle Seahawks 
--Mike Neal, Green Bay Packers 
--Calvin Pace, New York Jets 
--Nick Perry, Green Bay Packers 
--Vincent Rey, Cincinnati Bengals 
--Aldon Smith, Oakland Raiders 
--Courtney Upshaw, Baltimore Ravens 
--Philip Wheeler, Atlanta Falcons 
--Tahir Whitehead, Detroit Lions 
--Kyle Wilber, Dallas Cowboys 
--Frank Zombo, Kansas City Chiefs

Freeney has been one of the most productive pass rushers in the NFL since entering the league in 2002, as the 36-year old increased his career sack total to 119.5 after recording eight sacks in just 11 games in a resurgent effort for the Cardinals in 2015.

Hali, meanwhile, could also be a veteran free agent option for teams, as the six-time Pro Bowler has totaled 86 sacks in 11 seasons.

In four seasons with the Seahawks, Irvin has recorded 131 tackles with 22 sacks, seven passes defensed, four fumbles forced and two touchdowns.

Smith was becoming one of the most heralded pass rushers early in his career, as he tallied 33.5 sacks during his first two seasons. But the University of Missouri product has dealt with his share of off-field issues and was suspended for one year in November.

2016 Free Agency Outlook

--Tight Ends (3/4)

--Inside Linebackers (3/5)

--Tackles (3/6)

--Cornerbacks (3/7)

--Guard/Centers (3/8)

--Safeties (3/9)







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