Salary cap review: Wide receiver
As Jay Gruden continues to assemble his coaching staff, people in another part of the building at Redskins Park are looking forward to free agency and how best to utilize the approximately $28 million in cap space the Redskins have. Here we’ll take a position-by-position look at the cap situation and explore some of the Redskins’ options. First up, wide receivers.
The Redskins currently have five wide receivers under contract.
—The Redskins will carry a dead cap charge of $3.77 million for Josh Morgan’s voiding contract.
—Aldrick Robinson’s contract also expires this year but since he has only two seasons of NFL experience (he spent his rookie year on the practice squad) he will be an exclusive-rights free agent. It’s likely that the Redskins will sign him to a one-year deal worth $645,000, the third-year player minimum.
—Garçon has the second-highest cap number on the team behind offensive tackle Trent Williams.
—This is a very reasonable amount to spend on wide receivers. The Eagles, for example, are carrying a $12.5 million cap charge for DeSean Jackson alone.
Adding and subtracting
Many analysts believe that the Redskins need to add another quality wide receiver to the mix to compliment Garçon and to draw some coverage away from him. They could do that but they are likely to stay away from the highest priced players who are likely to be on the market such as the Broncos’ Eric Decker.
Top-notch receivers are among the most expensive items in free agency. This year Mike Wallace, the top prize in last year’s free agency period, will cost the Dolphins $17.5 million against the cap this year. That’s just the going rate.
If the Redskins do decide to add another wide receiver they could look in the draft. A player picked with the 34th pick, the team’s top selection this year, would carry very reasonable cap number. Justin Hunter, the player picked 34th last year, carried a cap charge of just over $986,000 in his rookie season. The player picked in the comparable spot this year will make slightly more.
Should they want a known quantity at wide receiver they probably will have to look at someone who is not at the premium level, maybe someone like James Jones of the Packers or Jerome Simpson of the Vikings (Jay Gruden coached him with the Bengals in 2011). Their maximum would be an annual cap hit of something around $6 million. That’s right around what they were paying Morgan the past two years.