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How much cap space will the Redskins need to sign their draft picks?

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How much cap space will the Redskins need to sign their draft picks?

After signing Josh Norman, the Redskins go into the draft with about $4.2 million in salary cap space. They will need a chunk of that to pay their draft picks but perhaps not as much as you might think.

Going into tonight’s first round the Redskins have eight picks. They have one in each of the first six rounds and two in the seventh. Thanks to the rookie salary slotting system, we know with a reasonable amount of accuracy what the 2016 cap hit will be for the contracts of each of those players.

Their top pick is the 21st overall. That player will carry a $1.84 million cap hit this year according to Overthecap.com. Here are the cap hits for each of the other picks currently held by the Redskins, rounded to the nearest $1,000.

Round (overall)-Cap hit

2 (53)-$804,000
3 (84)-$629,000
4 (120)-$585,000
5 (158)-$509,000
6 (187)-$484,000
7 (232)-$469,000
7 (242)-$466,000

The 2016 cap hits for the eight draft picks the Redskins have total $5.8 million. If you subtract that from the $4.2 million available you get a team that looks like it is $1.6 million in the hole.

But you don’t subtract nearly that much from the remaining cap space due to the Rule of 51. That rule applies during the offseason, from the start of the league year in March until Week 1 of the regular season. Teams have to be under the NFL salary cap of $155.27 million during that time, but since they can carry up to 90 players on the roster they can’t count everyone towards the cap. So the rule is that only the top 51 cap hits on the roster count towards cap during the offseason.

That means that when you add a player into the top 51 you drop the player with the lowest cap hit. So when the Redskins sign their first-round draft pick, OLB Desmond Bishop, who has a cap hit of $600,000, will drop out of the top 51, so you subtract his money from the cap total. So that $1.84 million deal counts a net of just $1.24 million.

When the second- and third-round picks are signed, they also will replace players who also have cap numbers of $600,000, making their net cap hits $204,000 and $29,000, respectively.

And when the draftees from the fourth round on sign with cap numbers of less than $600,000, they will be outside of the top 51 so they will not count against the offseason cap number at all.

If you add up the cap hits from the first three rounds, the only draftees who will count anything against the cap, it comes to $3.273 million. But then you subtract out $1.8 million ($600,000 X 3) for the cap hits removed due to the Rule of 51, the net is $1.43 million.

Subtract that from the $4.2 million and you get about $2.8 million in remaining cap space. They can fit their draft picks under the cap pretty easily.

What if they make trades? The net cap hit could go up or down some but when all of the adding and subtracting is done, unless they do something crazy like trade next year’s first-round pick for a second-rounder this year there really won’t be any significant difference. They will still be able to sign their picks and have some money left over.

To be sure, $2.8 million isn’t really enough to get through the season with the possible need to pay players on injured reserve and pay their practice squad. But they have a few moves in their pocket that they can pull out to do that when they need to.

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#RedskinsTalk Podcast Episode 40 - Seriously, when will the Redskins pick a coordinator?

#RedskinsTalk Podcast Episode 40 - Seriously, when will the Redskins pick a coordinator?

As the Redskins settle into the offseason without both an offensive and defensive coordinator, JP Finlay and Rich Tandler debate who will get the jobs, and when they will be announced. 

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Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Jason Tarver

Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Jason Tarver

The Redskins have interviewed some high-profile candidates for their open defensive coordinator position. When it was reported that they will meet with former Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver, the reaction among the fans was, “Who?”

Let’s take a look at what Tarver’s qualifications are to get the job of running the Redskins’ defense.

Before becoming a coordinator: At the age of 22, Tarver took a coaching job at West Valley College in California, and did that while earning his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Santa Clara. After that he was a graduate assistant at UCLA for three years before getting into the NFL in 2001, when the 49ers hired him as a quality control coach. Tarver worked his way up to outside linebackers coach in 2005 and did that job until 2010, when he was let go went Mike Singletary was fired as the head coach. After a year as the defensive coordinator at Stanford, Dennis Allen hired Tarver to run the Raiders defense in 2012.

More Redskins: Early first-round draft possibilities

Note: If you want more complete stats on Tarver’s defenses check out his page on Pro Football Reference. DVOA stats via Football Outsiders. A negative DVOA percentage is better than a positive number. Zero is average.

For players, * designates Pro Bowl selection, + designates first-team All-Pro

2012 Raiders (4-12)

Rankings: Yards 5,672 (18th), points 443 (28th), takeaways 19 (26th), 3rd down 39.1% (20th), DVOA 12.5% 29th
Notable players: DT Richard Seymour, DE Lamarr Houston

It should be noted that Allen had a defensive background so he had a hand in these numbers. This team just wasn’t very good as indicated by the fact that Seymour, at age 33, was one of their best defensive players.

2013 Raiders (4-12)

Rankings: Yards 5,918 (22nd), points 453 (29th), takeaways 22 (21st), 3rd down 43.1% (28th), DVOA 10.3% (26th)
Notable players: S Charles Woodson

They did make an effort to shore up the defense by bringing back Woodson and drafting cornerback D.J. Hayden in the first round. But Hayden only played in eight games and Woodson could only contribute so much at age 37. The pass defense struggled, ranking 29th in DVOA.

Related: Redskins offensive coordinator resume: Matt Cavanaugh

2014 Raiders (3-13)

Rankings: 5,721 (21st), points 452 (32nd), takeaways 14 (30th), 3rd down 38.5% (14th), DVOA 6.3% (26th)
Notable players: LB Khalil Mack, S Woodson

Allen was fired after an 0-4 start and Tony Sparano took over as interim head coach the rest of the way. Sparano has an offensive background so perhaps Tarver is more fully accountable for these results than those in other seasons. They did draft Mack with the fifth overall pick but his impact as a rookie was limited as recorded four sacks. Hayden again missed half of the season and, again, the defense was near the bottom of the NFL.

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.