Redskins 2014: Money to spend, needs to fill

Redskins 2014: Money to spend, needs to fill
March 20, 2013, 11:00 am
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Redskins fans who are lamenting the lack of free agency action by the Redskins this year due to their tight salary cap situation just need to be patient. In about 51 weeks there could be more going on than you can handle.

It’s actually kind of a good news/bad news scenario for the Redskins’ 2014 offseason. The good news is that they should have a lot more cap money to spend. The bad news is that 14 players who are expected to play key roles this season will be unrestricted free agents, including seven starters.

As of now, the 2014 salary structure looks very sound and sustainable. The largest cap number belongs to Trent Williams at $11 million. Pierre Garçon is second at $9.7 million. No other player carries a cap hit of as much as $7 million.

The other cap charges are very well managed. Williams is in line for a roster bonus of $1.75 million; no other roster bonus is higher than Chris Chester’s $400,000. Robert Griffin III’s cap charge carries a signing bonus proration of $3.44 million. That’s by far the highest on the team, with Garçon carrying the second-highest at $2.2 million.

They already have some dead cap to deal with. The contracts of Josh Morgan, Brandon Meriweather, and London Fletcher void after this season, leaving a little over $7 million in signing bonuses that will accelerate to the 2014 cap as dead money.

It all adds up to the Redskins sitting an estimated $36 million under the 2014 cap. The currently have 48 players under contract for 2014.

That number is subject to a great deal of change, mostly in the direction of having less cap space. They will have to spend to sign this year’s and next year’s draft classes. The Redskins are very likely to need to restructure some contracts to be able to do business the rest of this year and some of those charges will hit the 2014 cap.

Before the Redskins think about which players to target in free agency they will have some major decisions to make regarding their own players. As noted, 13 players who are expected to be on the 53-man roster in the fall will be unrestricted free agents next year. Included on that list are projected starters London Fletcher, Brian Orakpo, Reed Doughty, Josh Morgan, Perry Riley, Josh Wilson and Brandon Meriweather.  Also slated to be free agents are Chris Baker, Dezmon Briscoe, Rob Jackson, Bryan Kehl, Santana Moss, Jordan Pugh and Keiland Williams.

Some of those players will be replaced by 2013 and 2014 draft picks and by other free agents so it’s not like the team has to bring all of them back. But you have to think that the Redskins will want to bring back Riley and, if he’s healthy, Orakpo.

In the entire defensive back seven only one starter, Ryan Kerrigan, is signed for 2014. The may be able to replace the other three linebackers, at one cornerback, and both safeties through the draft but chances are the will have to spend money to either retain their current players or get free agents at many of those spots.

In short, some serious money will need to be spent. But, thanks to some pretty solid cap management, they should have it to spend.