The Washington Redskins remain in contract talks with linebacker Perry Riley Jr., but still are not particularly close to a deal less than a week before the opening of the NFL’s free agent market, according to a person familiar with the deliberations.
Riley, who has been the team’s starter at the inside linebacker spot alongside London Fletcher, is eligible for unrestricted free agency when the market opens Tuesday. Teams can begin talking to free agents from other teams this weekend but cannot sign them until Tuesday.
The Redskins apparently would like to re-sign Riley, but the two sides remain in disagreement about the value of a potential contract. It would take a last-minute breakthrough in negotiations for the Redskins to keep Riley from testing the open market.
Fletcher has said he plans to retire. There are other potential options at inside linebacker for the Redskins, including D’Qwell Jackson, who is a free agent and eligible to sign with any team before Tuesday after he was released by the Cleveland Browns. But Jackson has been making a series of visits to other teams without a clear indication so far that the Redskins are in the running to sign him. If the Redskins lose Riley, they would face the prospect of having two new starters at inside linebacker and would not have an obvious candidate to replace Fletcher as the defensive signal-caller.
The Redskins have re-signed two of their prospective unrestricted free agents, cornerback DeAngelo Hall and defensive lineman Chris Baker, and announced Monday they would use their franchise player tag on outside linebacker Brian Orakpo, in effect keeping him off the market.
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