Should Redskins keep these guys or let them walk?

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Sports,NFL,Redskins,John Keim

Washington has a bunch of free agents to ponder, including Fred Davis and Rob Jackson

The Redskins won't have much salary cap space to upgrade their roster, so their improvement must come from within. And it starts with deciding who they should keep -- or let walk -- in free agency.

The Redskins have five starters who are unrestricted free agents and two others who are restricted (giving the team the right to match any offer).

Here's a look at the Redskins' key free agents.

Offensive starters
LG Kory Lichtensteiger » He played admirably coming off two torn ligaments in his knee, coupled with another surgery in training camp. The Redskins drafted guard Josh LeRibeus in the third round, which means they expect him to play soon. They like his feet and strength. But Lichtensteiger's ability to play guard and center makes him valuable as a starter or backup.

RT Tyler Polumbus » He started 15 games, but he was their third option (they had hoped to add a tackle in free agency, then planned to start Jammal Brown). With Brown unlikely to return, the Redskins must decide whether they want an upgrade or to keep Polumbus another year while grooming Tom Compton. NFL sources consider right tackle a need position for Washington.

TE Fred Davis » He's coming off an injury, but he's a no-brainer to re-sign. His Achilles tendon injury should keep the price down or prompt Davis to take a one-year deal and seek a bigger payday in 2014. But he's a big-play target (four of his 24 catches went for 20 or more yards). If the Redskins franchised him (again), it would cost them $6.54 million.

FB Darrel Young » Young made plays when given an opportunity and is a capable blocker and good special teams player. Even if he wanted to go elsewhere to get more touches, the Redskins can match any offer because he's a restricted free agent.

TE Logan Paulsen » He's also restricted. Paulsen has proved to be a solid blocker, but he became less of a receiving threat the more he played (11 catches in final seven games). He has strong hands.

Others » Receiver Brandon Banks, tight end Chris Cooley, punter Sav Rocca, long snapper Nick Sundberg and quarterback Rex Grossman are free agents (Banks and Sundberg are restricted). Banks hasn't produced in two years. Cooley is not the same player and was content before with his non-football life. Grossman could return, especially with Robert Griffin III's knee situation. Rocca finished strong, but he will be 40 next year. Sundberg should return, too.

Defensive starters
LB Rob Jackson » It will be difficult for him to return to a backup's role, which is what he would do as Brian Orakpo returns. The Redskins can use Jackson and Orakpo in various packages, which would help the pass rush. Jackson is restricted.

S Madieu Williams » He struggled -- at times mightily -- but in fairness was signed as a backup. He lacks the speed Washington needs deep, and if he returns it must be as a backup.

Others » Linebacker Lorenzo Alexander, defensive end Kedric Golston and cornerback Cedric Griffin all are unrestricted free agents, and all these backups would be fine to return in the same role as 2013. Alexander is a special teams captain, overall team leader and is coming off a Pro Bowl season.

jkeim@washingtonexaminer.com

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John Keim

Staff Reporter - Washington Redskins
The Washington Examiner