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Need to Know: How can the Redskins create more cap room?

Need to Know: How can the Redskins create more cap room?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, February 26, 12 days before the start of NFL free agency.

How much cap space can the Redskins realistically create?

If the NFL salary cap is set at its current estimate of $155 million, the Redskins will have about $13.6 million in cap room. If we calculate in two transactions we know are going to happen—Robert Griffin III getting released, saving $16.1 million, and Kirk Cousins getting hit with the franchise tag, costing $19.6 million—Washington will go forward with $10.1 million.

With some free agents of their own to sign and some needs that can only be met in free agency, the Redskins will need to create some additional cap room. Here are some ways they could go about doing that (cap numbers via Over the Cap).

Cut Andre Roberts, savings $3 million—This signing was doomed almost from the start. About a month after Roberts signed, DeSean Jackson became available and Roberts was pushed back from No. 2 receiver to No. 3. But even when given opportunities he didn’t get the job done. He was a healthy scratch at times in 2015 and ended the year on injured reserve.

Renegotiate or release S Dashon Goldson, savings $4-$8 million—He has a $7.5 million salary and a $500,000 workout bonus. That makes him the fifth highest paid safety in 2016, a status his play clearly does not warrant. Negotiating a pay reduction to $4 million would reduce his pay to around 20th in the NFL, more suitable for a player who will be 32 in Week 2 of next season and whose play has declined from the All-Pro level that earned him the contract. If the Redskins choose to release him, there would be no dead salary cap.

Renegotiate or release DE Jason Hatcher, savings $3-$4.2 million—He has hinted at retirement, although Jay Gruden said yesterday that he might want to play another season. If he retires or is released it would save $4.2 million against the cap. They could work to reduce his $6.5 million salary and workout bonus, too. Hatcher was a good leader and he played better than his numbers indicated but he is still not worth the salary.

Release Kory Lichtensteiger, savings $2.9 million—The Redskins could look for an upgrade at center either in free agency or in the draft. Lichtensteiger was injured for most of last year and struggled at times when healthy. They could look for someone who is more suited to their power-blocking scheme than Lichtensteiger, who turns 31 next month. An alternative would be to release Shawn Lauvao, a move that would save $3 million. But he is currently injured so that may have to wait.

Release ILB Perry Riley, savings $4 million—If the team can retain Mason Foster they might let Riley go. He has been up and down since taking over the starting job midway through the 2011 season. If the Redskins don’t think that he can start it’s hard to see them paying a $4 million salary for a backup.

Those moves would create between $16.9 and $22.1 million in cap space, giving Washington anywhere from $27 million to $32.2 million in cap space after the anticipated quarterback moves.

Some other minor moves could be made but there aren’t any more potential big money-saving moves that haven’t been ruled out either directly by Jay Gruden and/or Scot McCloughan or via reliable reports. Players who have been subjects of media and/or fan speculation such as Pierre Garçon, DeSean Jackson, Chris Culliver, and DeAngelo Hall all appear to be very much in the team’s plans for 2016.

There could be a surprise down the line but as of right now it looks like the Redskins have enough cap room to take care of some basic needs but not much more.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 47 days ago. It will be about 198 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL free agency starts 12; Redskins offseason workouts start 52; 2016 NFL draft 63

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Jonathan Allen plans to model his game after two other All-Pro defenders

Jonathan Allen plans to model his game after two other All-Pro defenders

New Redskins defensive lineman Jonathan Allen is looking to pattern his game after two All-Pro linemen. 

"I'm a very versatile player and can do anything. I love watching Geno Atkins and Aaron Donald," Washington’s first-round draft pick told reporters on a conference call.

The Redskins will be very happy if Allen can be as productive as Atkins and Donald. Atkins has played for the Bengals since the 2010 season. He has been durable, playing in 16 games in six of his seven seasons, and effective, producing 52 sacks, a good total for a defensive tackle. 

MORE REDSKINS: A COMPLETE RECAP OF ROUND 1

Donald was a first-round pick of the Rams in 2014. He was a first-team All-Pro in each of the past two seasons, recording a total of 28 sacks in his three seasons. 

Both players combine outstanding physical talent and high motors. Allen has selected two pretty good role models to follow. 

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

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Gruden: Redskins have no concerns about Allen's shoulders

Gruden: Redskins have no concerns about Allen's shoulders

Jonathan Allen was the perfect pick for the Redskins, filling a need with a player who clearly was the best on the board.

Allen’s slide from a top-five prospect to the middle of the first round is believed to be because of issues with both of his shoulders. During his time at Alabama he suffered labral tears in both of his shoulders that were surgically repaired and he also suffers from mild arthritis in both of them. That apparently scared some teams off but not the Redskins.

“We didn't have any concerns,” said coach Jay Gruden. “We talked to Dr. [James] Andrews, he gave thumbs up on him. We feel very good about the injuries.”

Then why did a top talent slide all the way back to the Redskins’ pick?

“As far as him falling to us, their were a lot of things that happened in the draft, three quarterbacks went, a couple of receivers went pretty high, a lot of offensive players went that probably not a lot of people expected,” said Gruden. “So, some of these very good defensive players fell to us and we're happy.”

Allen told reporters that the shoulders did not cause him any problems while he was playing.

“I didn’t even wear a brace for the [2016] season,” Allen said. “So, I mean, it doesn’t even affect me. Every team I talked to, shoulders were medically cleared, no problems. Probably the best I’ve felt in the last four years, to be honest.”

Alabama team doctor Lyle Cain’s assessment of Allen’s shoulders align with those of the player and Gruden.

"He's played without any problems," Cain told NFL Media last month. "This is something that a lot of offensive linemen and defensive linemen have, things guys play with their whole careers. It's just a little earlier for him because he got hurt in college."

We will see how this plays out. It’s possible that his injury problems could limit his effectiveness or cut his career short. But clearly the Redskins saw that the Allen’s talent made the injury risk a worthwhile gamble.

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