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Do the Redskins need to make a salary cap move?

Do the Redskins need to make a salary cap move?

The Redskins are eight days away from wrapping up their offseason program and they have just over $2 million under the salary cap. Only two teams, the Saints ($1.7 million under) and Packers ($732,000), have less cap room than Washington.

Do the Redskins need to do anything about their cap situation? They might.

They have signed all of their draft picks so they don’t need to create any more room for signings. At this point they are at the roster limit so if they do choose to sign another player they will have to drop one so the salaries should roughly even out.

In fact, a transaction won’t register at all unless one of the players involved has a salary cap number of more than about $586,000. That’s because until the final cuts are made only the top 51 cap numbers count against the salary cap. Richard Crawford has the 51st-highest cap number at $585,993 so anyone with a cap number lower than that does not count.

But the Redskins have to think ahead to the final cuts when they will have to have room for two more players, any players on the PUP list and injured reserve, and enough to pay the practice squad for the year. The practice squad costs about $800,000 per week (8 players X $6,000 per week X 17 weeks) and the other costs are highly variable.

It’s the variable nature of injured reserve expenses that might make the team want to create more cap room. If they get unlucky and a few players get hurt early they could end up being squeezed by having to sign replacements. If they get up to where they are paying, say, 57 players for the last 13 games of the season they could eat up their cushion in a hurry.

If they want to create more cap room there are a few ways they could go about it. They could restructure the contracts of Pierre Garçon or Trent Williams to move some money to future seasons (when the salary cap will be higher). Williams, who has a cap number of almost $11 million, could be a candidate for an extension that would lower that number.

They could also release some players if they believe they have replacements ready. The Redskins drafted tackle Morgan Moses and guard Spencer Long in the third round. If they decide that one or both are ready to start sooner rather than later they could save some substantial money by releasing Chris Chester ($3.5 million savings) and/or Tyler Polumbus ($2.5 million).

The Redskins do not have to be particularly concerned about creating too much cap space. Since 2012 teams have had the option to roll over unused cap space to the following year and they certainly will take advantage of that.

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Need to Know: The early odds on what happens with Redskins and Cousins

Need to Know: The early odds on what happens with Redskins and Cousins

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, January 19, 98 days before the NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:
NFL franchise tag deadline 42
NFL free agency starts 50
First Sunday of 2017 season 235

The coordinator search and more

As noted above, we have 42 days until the deadline for the Redskins to put the franchise tag on quarterback Kirk Cousins. The immediate future of the franchise is contingent this situation being handled correctly by the organization. It’s time to turn the attention and the $100 in imaginary casino chips towards what might happen with Cousins as the process unfold. We will revisit this from time to time as the various deadlines approach so consider this the early odds.

Sign before the tag deadline, $5—This seems unlikely after his rather cold response to my question immediately following the season-ending loss to the Giants when he said, “The ball’s not in my court.” He indicated that it’s up to the Redskins to tag him. It doesn’t look like he and his agent will have much of an inclination to sit down to any serious negotiations before that happens.

Let him go into free agency, $5—Yes, I know that this is out there but it makes no sense to take the chance of the possibility that he could walk with zero compensation. While there might be some logic in finding out what Cousins would be worth in a true free market in order to establish the basis for a fair contract the risk of behind left empty-handed is just too great.

Tag and trade, $20—This also has been discussed by various media types as a possibility. It would involve giving Cousins the non-exclusive franchise tag, which would let him go out and negotiate a deal with another team. The Redskins could then match that offer or choose to get compensation. The CBA calls for compensation of two first-round picks although the two teams may negotiate something less. The most frequently suggested trade partner is the 49ers and their soon-to-be head coach Kyle Shanahan but there are probably around half a dozen teams, maybe more, who could be interested. If the Redskins don’t think they will ever sign Cousins long term this could be the way to go.

Tag and sign by July 15 deadline, $30—This may be a little low for this possibility. Perhaps if the other options are off the table he will consider that he is a perfect match for Jay Gruden’s offense and that he might not be such a good fit elsewhere. There also is the possibility of injury or, for whatever reason, Cousins having a subpar season. Those thoughts could spur him to instruct his agent to get the best deal he can get in Washington.

Tag and play the season on the tag, $40—Right now, this appears to be the mostly likely scenario. They can afford the $24 million cap hit and it would get them one more year of his services. However, the prospects for him remaining in a Redskins uniform for 2018 and beyond would be very cloudy.

Tandler on Twitter

In case you missed it

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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3 of 4 Redskins named to Pro Bowl won't attend

3 of 4 Redskins named to Pro Bowl won't attend

Ryan Kerrigan, Jordan Reed and Brandon Scherff will skip next week's Pro Bowl in Orlando a team spokesman confirmed to CSN. All three players dealt with injuries late in the season, most notably Reed, and playing in the exhibition game is not in the cards. Trent Williams, however, is still slated to play in the game. 

Reed suffered a separated shoulder on Thanksgiving playing against the Dallas Cowboys. For the rest of the season, Reed played through significant pain and his production dipped.

Kerrigan played much of the season with an injured elbow and hurt his finger in the final game against the Giants. Scherff played with ankle pain and was listed on the injury report much of the season's final four games.

For Reed and Scherff, this year marked their first Pro Bowl. The recognition was deserved for both players, and shows that the guard and tight end are gaining national spotlight for their play.

Kerrigan played in the Pro Bowl following the 2012 season. He finished this year with 11 sacks, 2.5 short os his career high 13.5 in 2014. 

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