It is now 4 p.m. and so begins the NFL’s 2012 free agency period.

The Washington Redskins — despite the salary cap penalty that the league slapped them with on the eve of free agency — are still expected to work to meet key needs as they try to give anticipated first-round draft pick Robert Griffin III a better supporting cast.

The biggest needs: Wide receiver (where Vincent Jackson is expected to be Washington’s top target), right tackle (Houston’s Eric Winston is expected to draw interest), cornerback (Tennessee’s Cortland Finnegan had been a person of interest for Washington), and safety (where the team suddenly needs both a free safety upon the release of Oshiomogho Atogwe, and strong safety, where LaRon Landry is a free agent).

Other wide receivers the team could chase include Indianapolis’ Pierre Garcon and possibly Denver’s Eddie Royal — who played for Mike Shanahan in Denver — according to people familiar with the Redskins’ deliberations.

The team still hasn’t worked out new contracts for its own free agents — Landry, linebacker London Fletcher and defensive end Adam Carriker — but could get deals done shortly to prevent them from hitting the open market.

Stay tuned.