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.