As the Redskins get to work to try to trim at least $13 million, and probably millions more, from their salary cap they will have to make some difficult choices when it comes to some veteran players. Teams all over the league have been releasing players they would rather keep and, barring some sort of cap penalty relief from the NFL, the Redskins are likely to do the same.
One player may make the decision for them. Mike Shanahan indicated that linebacker London Fletcher might be leaning towards retirement and it didn’t take too much reading between the lines of what Shanahan said to believe that the team might be OK with that decision.
Before covering the cap implications of Fletcher’s possible retirement or the possible releases of any players, we should make clear that these are just hypothetical scenarios. There has been no information coming from the Redskins or elsewhere that the release of any player is imminent.
Fletcher—Should he retire it would treated the same as a release for cap purposes. Fletcher has a $6.2 million cap number and after taking a $2.8 million dead money hit the net cap savings would be $3.4 million.
Santana Moss—The veteran receiver will be 34 in June and he has a lot of money coming his way. That’s a bad combination for a cap-strapped team. Moss is in line for a $4.15 million salary, a $250,000 roster bonus, and a $100,000 workout bonus. It is hard to see the Redskins paying their slot receiver that much. Releasing him would save $4.5 million against the cap.
Adam Carriker—He is unlucky in two respects. First, he got injured last year and Jarvis Jenkins was respectable in his place. Also, there is no prorated bonus to deal with in his contract so there is no dead cap money involved with releasing him. Add to all of that the fact that he’ll be 29 before next season starts and he appears to be an easy target to be released, a move that would save $4 million against the cap.
There are only two other players the Redskins might consider releasing who would bring cap savings of over $1 million. If it looks like Brandon Meriweather’s knee will not rehab sufficiently releasing him would save $1.3 million. And if they decide to go younger and cheaper with 31-year-old Reed Doughty’s backup/situational/special teams role, releasing him would save $1.375 million.
If Fletcher retires and the Redskins release the other four—remember we’re talking hypothetically here—the total net cap savings would be $14.575 million. They would have released three players who are over 30 and two who will be 29 by the time the season starts.
That’s not an ideal situation but it is not cap hell either. You can get into cap hell by restructuring too many contracts. Tomorrow after looking at why the Redskins will have to exercise caution when it comes to trying to restructure their way out of their cap issues, we’ll look at come contracts that might be redone.