The Redskins now have their quarterback under team control for the 2017 season (assuming they don’t opt to trade him). But doing so will cost them a good chunk of their available salary cap space.
They came into today with about $64 million in salary cap space. As soon as they filed the exclusive franchise tag about $24 million was removed off of that total available, leaving them with around $40 million. They were among the top five teams in the league in terms of available cap space. At $40 million they are in the middle of the pack.
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There are two ways the Redskins can create more cap space if they need it. One could be to negotiate a long-term deal with Cousins. Although the contract might approach an average annual value of near $24 million, the deal could be structured to have a lower cap hit in the earlier years and have it go up in later year as the salary cap increases.
They could also save some cap by releasing some veteran players. Kory Lichtensteiger already has retired, saving the team $4 million. Others who could be let go are DB DeAngelo Hall ($4.25 million savings), G Shawn Lauvao ($4 million), and DL Ricky Jean Francois ($3 million) are among the potential cap casualties.