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Need to Know: The cap implications of the Redskins cutting Chris Culliver

Need to Know: The cap implications of the Redskins cutting Chris Culliver

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, May 3, 10 days before the Washington Redskins hold their rookie minicamp.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 114 days ago. It will be 132 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Rookie minicamp 10; OTAs start 21; Redskins training camp starts 86

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The Redskins have indicated all offseason that they did not plan to let go of Chris Culliver despite his $8 million salary and unproductive, injury plagued 2015 season.

However, things change quickly. Within a span of seven days, the team signed Josh Norman to a big free agent contract and drafted Virginia Tech cornerback Kendall Fuller. Those acquisitions pushed Culliver, who is still rehabbing from a torn ACL he suffered on Thanksgiving Day, back to at least the third corner and maybe the fourth.

And whether it’s third or fourth, an $8 million salary is too much for that spot on the depth chart. So the Redskins decided to release him on Monday.

They released him with a post-June 1 designation. The Redskins haven’t done that in a while so here is what that means.

Culliver had three years remaining on the four-year contract he signed last year. He was paid a $5 million signing bonus so the cap charge was split with $1.25 million hitting each of the four years on the deal.

That means that the Redskins still have to account for $3.75 million in signing bonus. Had they cut him without the June 1 designation all of that would have hit their salary cap this year. You would subtract that from the $8 million they save by not having to pay his 2016 salary and the net cap savings would have been $4.25 million. The books on the Culliver contract would have been closed.

But the Redskins designed post-June 1. That means a couple of things. The cap charge for the last two years gets pushed to the 2017 cap. So they get $8 million in 2016 cap savings, his $9.25 million cap number minus the $1.25 million signing bonus proration. The signing bonus charge goes into this year’s dead cap. There will be a $2.5 million dead cap charge next year.

So they don’t “save” any money with the June 1 designation. The accounting for the money is all that changes.

There’s one other important thing to know. A catch of using the designation is that the player’s contract remains on the books until June 1. So the Redskins don’t immediately have any additional cap money available as a result of this move. The will have the $8 million credited to their cap on June 2.

It's important to note that the cap space being locked up will not prevent the Redskins from signing any or all of their draft picks. As I wrote here last week the Redskins will need about $1.4 million in net cap space to sign their draft picks. They currently have $4.2 million so they can make it with room to spare.

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Trent Murphy had offseason foot surgery to repair broken bone, per source

Trent Murphy had offseason foot surgery to repair broken bone, per source

Redskins outside linebacker Trent Murphy underwent surgery this offseason to repair a broken bone in his foot, per a source with knowledge of the situation. Murphy has completely healed and is a full participant at training camp. 

The injury came late in the 2016 season and he played the Redskins final game of the season with the broken foot. He was listed on the injury report for that game as limited with a foot injury. He was not listed on the Week 16 injury report against the Bears.

Hit with a four-game suspension for performance enhancing drugs this offseason, Murphy won't suit up for the Redskins until Week 6. He will be forced to miss the first four games, and then the Redskins have a bye in Week 5. 

Murphy had a breakout season in 2016, finishing the year with nine sacks and 47 tackles. A second round pick in 2014, Murphy had a combined six sacks in the two seasons prior. Last offseason, Murphy was tasked with gaining weight for a position switch to defensive end. After he gained the weight, outside linebacker Junior Galette was lost for the season, and Murphy was moved back to outside linebacker. 

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Redskins' Gruden will readjust to calling plays by going off script

Redskins' Gruden will readjust to calling plays by going off script

RICHMOND—The Redskins offense is dealing with some challenges on the field. Their top two wide receivers from last year left as free agents and replacements Terrelle Pryor and Josh Doctson have little game experience with quarterback Kirk Cousins. Tight end Jordan Reed (toe) was a surprise entry on the PUP list. Running back Rob Kelley needs to prepare to get ready to carry the load for 16 games.

There is one other change the team must deal with. Sean McVay, the team’s offensive coordinator, left in January to become the head coach of the Los Angeles Rams. He had been calling the plays for the past two years. That duty will now fall on head coach Jay Gruden.

RELATED: Reed one of four to start camp on PUP

Play calling is not new to Gruden. He did it from 2011-2013 for the Bengals when he was the offensive coordinator in Cincinnati. Gruden also made the play calls in 2014, his first season as the Redskins head coach.

Still, he wants to make sure that he’s ready to retake the play caller’s headset. The method he will use is to throw away the script.

“I think early on we’re going to have scripted practices, and once we get going, get our main core of plays in there, I think we’ll have a lot of unscripted practices where I can call plays,” he said. “So I think that’s the most important thing, the unscripted practice. Whether it’s two -minute, whether it’s drives down the field, whether it’s third downs, all that good stuff, do a lot of unscripted work, red zone and go from there, but I feel pretty comfortable already.”

That certainly makes sense. Games are not scripted and the successful play callers who can adjust to the ebb and flow of the game. You can’t duplicate the dynamic but you can come close in 11 on 11 work on the practice field.

MORE REDSKINS: Ranking the Redskins roster, the final update

Another key to making this work will be trusting his defensive and special teams coaches. If Gruden can’t delegate to them he will be getting pulled in too many directions on game days.

“How well I handle that will be how successful I will probably be as a coordinator calling plays and as a coach,” he said. “I feel good about the staff that I have around me. Coach [Greg] Manusky and Jim Tomsula and Torrian Gray on the defensive side of the ball, I don’t think I have to worry so much about that, Ben Kotwica, Bret Munsey on the special teams. The big thing is I have got to be involved in the football game, make sure I’m ready for the red flag tosses and all that good stuff, but for the most part I have confidence in the defense and special team coaches and players.”

We will see how well it works out. As a rookie coach he occasionally seemed to be overwhelmed by all that he had piled on his plate (the situation was complicated by his curious decision not to hire a quarterbacks coach). But now, with three years under his belt and an exponentially better understanding of what is involved in coaching an NFL game, there should be more confidence that he can handle it.

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.