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Relax, Redskins fans. So-far-silent free agent talks will start at NFL combine

Redskins wide receivers DeSean Jackson, left, and Pierre Garcon are free agents. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)
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The Kirk Cousins-Redskins contract watch has dominated the offseason conversation, but uncertainty — and a degree of uneasiness — also has loomed over Washington’s other impending free agents.

To date, the team hasn’t engaged in talks with any of its players with expiring contracts. The list includes wide receivers Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson, tight end Vernon Davis, defensive end Chris Baker and restricted free agents like Chris Thompson, linebacker Will Compton and tackle Ty Nsekhe.

Thus far, Washington has only re-signed one of its players with expiring contracts: long-snapper Nick Sundberg.

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But a lack of activity doesn’t reflect a lack of interest, or that the Redskins are content to let all of those players test the free agent market.

Multiple people close to the situation said that Redskins officials plan to meet with the representatives of their impending free agents next week when the league takes over Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine.

Draft prospect evaluations and interviews will consume much of the time, but team officials and agents also carve out time for meetings to discuss their players’ contracts.

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Next week will make for a busy time, because Wednesday, March 1, not only kicks off the combine, but it also marks the deadline for teams to use their franchise player tags. Redskins officials and their counterparts will get a better idea of what opposing players will hit the free agent market the following week.

Washington followed the same approach to free agency last season, when the team remained quiet rather than working throughout the winter to re-sign its own players with expiring contracts. Team officials held talks with agents at the combine, and then just before the start of the league’s free agency negotiating window, the Redskins made a flurry of re-signings.

Washington’s most notable free agents (aside from Cousins) are Garcon and Jackson, who both are expected to draw a good deal of interest on the open market if the Redskins haven’t re-signed them before the March 7 negotiation window opens. The Redskins are believed to have a stronger desire to retain Garcon’s services, people familiar with the situation have said. However, team officials seem lukewarm on Jackson, and aren’t expected to be able to afford to re-sign both because they’re each expected to command contracts that will pay them in the neighborhood of $9 million to $11 million per year.

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