Noon on Saturday represented the opening of the NFL’s free agency negotiation window, also known as the legal tampering period, in advance of this coming Tuesday’s signing day.
The Redskins and their fellow teams began reaching out to the representatives of free agent targets, inquiring about whether those players had mutual interest and what it would take to land them. Teams and agents can negotiate, but no contracts can be signed until after 4 p.m. Tuesday, which is the start of the new league year.
Houston right tackle Derek Newton and San Diego safety Marcus Gilchrist ranked among the players that Redskins officials inquired about on Saturday, people with knowledge of the situation said.
However, Newton wound up re-signing with the Texans for a five-year, $26.5 million deal that featured roughly $10 million in guaranteed money, one source said. That exceeded the amount Washington initially had wanted to pay for the fifth-year pro.
Newton wasn’t the only right tackle taken off the market. Dallas re-signed ninth-year veteran Doug Free to a three-year deal that will pay him roughly $5 million a season. It wasn’t clear if Washington had initiated talks with his camp, however.
Meanwhile, the team did hold some degree of discussions with Gilchrist, a fifth-year veteran strong safety. The Chargers reportedly have a desire to retain the fifth-year veteran’s services as well.
Washington hosted former Raiders safety Tyvon Branch on Friday but wasn’t believed to have come to any kind of an agreement.
The Redskins have also reportedly expressed interest in Chicago nose tackle Stephen Paea, according to CSNChicago.
Meanwhile, the team remained in talks with the representatives of their own outside linebacker Brian Orakpo. The three-time Pro Bowl pass-rusher missed the final nine games last season because of a torn pectoral muscle. He played on the franchise player tag, which paid him $11.455 million last season, but has yet to come to an agreement on a new contract.
However, although Orakpo has said that he is open to the idea of continuing his career elsewhere if unable to work things out with the Redskins, there is mutual interest in keeping him in Washington, two people with knowledge of the situation said.
Orakpo, during an appearance on the NFL Network on Friday, had described talks as “minimal” at that point. But the discussions resumed Saturday morning and later in the day as well.