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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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Need to Know: Another big day on the ground on tap for the Redskins?

Need to Know: Another big day on the ground on tap for the Redskins?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, December 11, eight days before the Washington Redskins host the Carolina Panthers.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Redskins vs. Eagles 1 p.m.

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 8; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 13; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 21

Injuries of note:
Out:
G Long (concussion), S Blackmon (concussion), DE Lanier (leg)
Limited: TE Reed (shoulder), G Scherff (ankle), DE Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Baker (ankle), G Shawn Lauvao (groin)
Final injury report

Final thoughts on Redskins vs Eagles

—The Redskins have not stopped a team in a goal to go situation since September. The Eagles are good in such situations, converting TDs 84 percent of the time. If the Redskins can get a stop and force a field goal try when the first time the Eagles get down there that would be a big psychological boost for the visitors. Or, better yet, maybe they can just not let the Eagles get any first and goal opportunities. That’s what happened when the teams played in Week 6.

—In that Week 6 meeting the Redskins rushed for 230 yards, their best performance on the ground this season by 79 yards. Matt Jones picked up 135 yards on 16 attempts, Rob Kelley had 5-59, and Chris Thompson kicked in with 9-37. It’s unlikely that Jones will be active so it will be up to Kelley to get things rolling on the ground.

—For all the talk about Kirk Cousins having the Eagles’ number, he had one of his worst statistical games of the year against them in Week 6. He completed just 52.9 percent of his passes, his lowest completion percentage of the season. Cousins also threw perhaps his worst interception of the year, a pick six that tied the game at 14 in the second quarter. The bottom line was that he made some plays and the Redskins won but he likely will have to play better this time for his team to prevail today.

—Carson Wentz has six interceptions in his last three games, including three last week against the Bengals. Josh Norman is due to get an interception, overdue, in fact. Don’t know what will happen but the chances seem good that a Redskin will get his hands on a Wentz pass today.

—We saw last week that the Redskins are not a lock to go on the road and win against a team that is desperately fighting for its playoff life. Fortunately for the Redskins, the Eagles do not have players who are the equals of David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Patrick Peterson. While plenty can go wrong I think the Redskins come away with with the win.

Redskins 28, Eagles 24

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Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

The Redskins officially brought Kory Lichtensteiger back to the active roster, and while the move is now for depth, it could have other ramifications down the road. 

The move is on the NFL's transaction report for Saturday. To make room for Lichtensteiger, the team released defensive lineman A.J. Francis. 

Dealing with injuries up and down the line of scrimmage, Lichtensteiger's return could give the offensive front more flexibility. When Lichtensteiger got injured Week 3 and sent to the injured reserve, third-year pro Spencer Long stepped in and performed well at center. Last week in Arizona, Long sustained a concussion.

That injury opened the door for John Sullivan, who will start this week in Philadelphia with Long ruled out. Sullivan was brought in as a backup to Long once Lichtensteiger was put on IR. With Long now in the NFL concussion protocol, the Redskins need another center should Sullivan get hurt. Alas, Lichtensteiger's return from the IR. 

Left guard Shawn Lauvao also sustained an injured groin, and that's where things could get interesting. Long is capable of playing guard, as is Lichtensteiger in a pinch. Should Lauvao's injury persist, Lichtensteiger might be able to help there.

Against the Eagles, the plan certainly appears to be second-year man Arie Kouandjio starting in place of Lauvao. Kouandjio made one earlier start this season - Week 4 against Cleveland - and the results were mixed.

If Kouandjio stumbles and Lauvao needs more time, Lichtensteiger's return to the roster gives Jay Gruden and Bill Callahan more flexibility, especially when Long returns from injury.

In fact, once the team has Long, Lichtensteiger and Sullivan healthy, there could be a bit of a logjam roster-wise on the offensive line, but considering all the injuries, bumps and bruises that are part of O-line life by the last four games of the season, the Redskins staff likely won't mind figuring that out. 

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