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After Another Injury-Filled Year, Uncertainty Looms With Redskins Free Agents 


Even as Redskins executives filed into Indianapolis to further evaluate college prospects at this year's NFL Combine, their plate remains full with free agency. With the new league year just a couple short weeks away, many decisions must be made in a short span of time, as free agency kicks off at 4 p.m. ET on March 13.

As Washington looks to turn the tide and compete in the NFC East come fall, bringing back key pending free agents is top priority for Allen.

"That has been the priority of Eric Schaffer [Senior VP of Football Operations] as he's been down here," Allen said. "We're going to address our free agents first, we do want many of them back."

Included on the list of players Gruden, Allen, and VP of Player Personnel Doug Williams would like to have back is outside linebacker Preston Smith.

Smith, entering his fifth season, is looking for a new contract fresh off of his rookie deal after being signed immediately following the 2015 NFL Draft.

"I love Preston and what he can bring to this football team" Gruden said surrounded by media. "In both stopping the run and playing the pass he's going to demand some attention. I think he'll look at all of his options, and we'd love to have him back for sure."

With addition there must be subtraction, and with current limited cap space difficult moves potentially involving veteran players may have to be made.

"You can't keep your team together forever," Gruden said. "There's going to be a lot of guys that you have respect for that have been great for the organization that you're going to have to make moves on eventually, every team has to do it. There will be moves made but which ones yet, we'll see."

With the uncertainty surrounding not only Smith, but wide receiver Jamison Crowder, top rated linebacker Zach Brown, and 1,000-yard rusher Adrian Peterson, the Redskins continue to keep a keen eye focused on linebacker Reuben Foster, and his developing situation following the dropping of all charges on his prior arrest.

Allen insists, "it's time for him to play football again."

"We consider him strongly. We'll see what happens but he's on the roster. He hasn't played yet and he has to abide by all our rules but we are hoping for him and us that he's able to play."

With the NFL Draft and Free Agency kicking off in the coming weeks, Gruden has his plan set, and is looking to improve every position possible.

"Offensive lineman we already know that's a priority, we know quarterback's an issue, we know receiver is an issue so we need to upgrade our entire roster," Gruden said. "We're going to have to add players to every position, add competition, that's what's going to make us good. We have a core nucleus of players I feel really great about without a doubt but adding players to every position is critical to your franchises success."

With recovery from injury and the fear of the unknown prevalent around Redskins Park, Allen says the team is looking for "any competitive advantage to win," when it comes to avoiding the injury bug in 2019.

"We are doing some new things with the recovery center that we purchased, even the shoes sound like they are very important to todays' college players. There is one player with an incredible story about how a shoe hurt him a couple times and once he switched shoes, he never had a problem."

Allen continued: "There are certain things for hamstrings, which our team was better than the league average. There are certain things for calves, and something for each one of the injuries that occurred. There are players here that are telling us how they prepare for a game, and how they get their body ready after a game, which are the same things we are doing."