Following free agency closely means familiarizing yourself with players from across the league, like Arizona’s Andre Roberts, above left, after a touchdown catch against the Colts in November. (Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press)

Here’s The Insider’s sampling of what folks outside The Post are writing about the Redskins and next week’s opening of the NFL free agency period:

Tuesday’s the big day – At 4 p.m., the start of the new league year and when free-agent signings can become official. But with an open negotiation window opening on Saturday, and no telling when word of unofficial agreements will start leaking out, everybody’s who’s doing a free agency preview has posted it already. Here are a few, with their Washington-specific insight:

Before sharing what I’ve found around the Web, here’s a gathering of what we’ve written, in case you missed any of it. Mike Jones’s free agency preview story ran in today’s paper, and on the blog he’s taken separate looks at the Redskins’ needs on offense and defense. He also pointed out alternatives to the five free agents the Redskins should avoid.

Likewise, Mark Bullock has been taking a closer look at a big name, a value and an under the radar soon-to-be free agent at several need positions. Here are his looks at safety, inside linebacker, defensive line, offensive line and wide receivers. Look for cornerbacks on Monday.

Elsewhere …

Grantland’s Bill Barnwell lists Washington outside the 10 teams he expects to dominate free agency, and lists three players who should sign.

“If you’re a Washington fan, you should be terrified the team has this much money to spend … I would be worried that Washington will end up signing [Eric] Decker and [Jairus] Byrd and then leave the massive holes elsewhere on the roster open, but let’s try to make this dream a nice one.”

 USA Today’s Nate Davis suggests a few players who wouldn’t be huge splashes, since Brian Orakpo is already that player.

“Franchising [Brian] Orakpo cost [Bruce] Allen a hefty chunk of his cap flexibility. A good pass rusher and underrated run defender, there’s no doubt Orkapo is Washington’s top defender even if injuries have been an issue in recent seasons. But tagging him, especially if he decides to fight for the defensive end figure as Terrell Suggs did in 2008, hamstrings the ability to recruit quality safeties and inside linebackers. Brandon LaFell, Andre Roberts or Emmanuel Sanders would make a nice No. 2 wideout opposite Pierre Garcon. A veteran guard would also be a wise addition.”

 ESPN’s John Keim talked to a couple of analysts with scouting backgrounds back in February, but the thoughts there aren’t completely outdated. Quoting Matt Williamson, talking about potential additions in the secondary:

“People don’t talk enough about Alterraun Verner. He’s come into his own; he’s really feisty, really quick. There are a ton of big-name corners out there and he might be the best of the group. T.J. Ward is much better than people realize; he’s more of an in-the-box safety. One guy who would be a decent pickup is Antoine Bethea. He would be an upgrade and I don’t think you’ll have to give him a ton of money.”

 Keim’s also wrote a quick-hitter free agency preview earlier today:

“The Redskins have about $23 million of cap space available, even with the franchise tender to Orakpo … The problem is, Washington has so many holes to fill defensively. The Redskins need two starting safeties and must replace retired inside linebacker London Fletcher.”

 CSN’s Rich Tandler argues that the Redskins can’t create much more cap room than they have already, because potential cuts would need to be replaced, among other reasons. Tandler also listed five players from other teams who have not been cut yet, but could interest the Redskins if they are; That list was based on Spotrac’s league-wide list of 30 such players.

 Zac Boyer of the Washington Times got Adam Carriker to open up about his future plans a couple days ago. Cut by the Redskins and injured most of the past two seasons, but just 29, he’s not ready to quit.

Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag on Tuesdays.

Coverage from The Post:

Five free agents the Redskins should avoid

There are holes to fill up and down the lineup

Free agency: Redskins’ needs on defense | On offense

D.C. Sports Bog: Orakpo says he’ll be unleashed in ’14 | More

Outsider: Free agent safeties the Redskins could target

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