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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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Over/under: Redskins running backs in 2017

Over/under: Redskins running backs in 2017

Redskins running backs over-under

The Redskins’ running backs depth chart looks quite different from how it did a year ago. Rob Kelley, who was “ninth-string” back last year per Jay Gruden, is the starter. Samaje Perine enters the mix with expectations that exceed those normally assigned to a fourth-round pick. Chris Thompson is the constant as the third-down back. What kind of numbers will they put up this year? Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay go over-under on some Redskins running back stats. 

Rob Kelley, 1,000 rushing yards

Tandler: If you project Kelley’s production in the nine games he started over 16 games it comes to about 1,050 yards. He had his ups and downs in those nine starts and he will have them this year. But he should have enough ups to be able to average the 62.5 yards per game needed to hit the thousand-yard mark. Over

Finlay: Unlike wide receivers, where 25 guys broke the 1,000 yard mark in 2016, it's getting harder and harder for a running back to hit four-figures. In 2016, only 12 RBs ran for more than 1,000 yards, and only eight got over 1,100 yards. As the NFL becomes more and more of a passing league, less backs are getting the carries sufficient for a 1,000 yard season. The Redskins haven't had a 1,000 yard rusher since Alfred Morris in 2014. While I think Kelley gets the bulk of the yardage, I think it caps out about 900 yards and Chris Thompson and Samaje Perine creep into the total. Under

RELATED: Who's next at QB for the Redskins?

Kelley, 10 rushing touchdowns

Tandler: He scored six as the starter last year and doing the math that comes to 11 over 16 games. But last year there wasn’t a player like Perine, who could come into the game and vulture some touchdowns after Kelley did the work to get the ball in goal to go position. Under

Finlay: Sorry to keep going back to stats, but last year only seven running backs got to 10 TDs or more. Only seven! Hard to see Kelley getting there on a team that didn't run all that much, or all that well either, in 2016. Under

Samaje Perine, 500 rushing yards

Tandler: It tough to set a line for a guy who hasn’t played. I’ll go off Matt Jones’ 2015 rookie season when he gained 490 yards while sharing time with Alfred Morris. If Perine averages four yards per carry, which is not hard to do, he’ll need about eight carries per game to get to 500. It’s close but if Kelley is effective, as I believe he will be, Perine might not get enough carries to have a chance. Under

Finlay: Tandler's Matt Jones comp pretty much works for Perine, but Jones had explosive speed that Perine doesn't have. A better comp for me was Derrick Henry last year as a rookie with the Titans. DeMarco Murray was established as the top dog, and Henry worked for a productive 490 yards. Under

MORE REDSKINS: Offer to Cousins not nearly enough

Chris Thompson, 60 pass receptions

Tandler: His role is beyond just third down. If the Redskins are behind in the fourth quarter, Thompson is usually in there to try to help spark a rally. Along with TE Jordan Reed and WR Jamison Crowder, Thompson will benefit from Kirk Cousins’ familiarity with him. Over

Finlay: Thompson should be a strong contributor in 2017, but 60 catches is a lot for a running back. Only David Johnson (80) and Le'Veon Bell (75) went over that number in 2016, while James White had exactly 60 catches. Thompson grabbed 49 balls in 2016, an impressive total. I could actually see Thompson getting a bigger percentage increase in carries, he had 68 rushes last season with a very solid 5.2 YPC, than catches. Under

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Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

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#RedskinsTalk Podcast: Final refresh before 2017 season truly begins

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#RedskinsTalk Podcast: Final refresh before 2017 season truly begins

Rich Tandler and JP Finlay wrap up the Redskins offseason and prepare for what will be the most intriguing and the most overplayed storylines at training camp in Richmond.

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back