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Redskins' available salary cap shrinks as a 2011 bill comes due

Redskins' available salary cap shrinks as a 2011 bill comes due

The Redskins had a bill become due and the team now has less cap space to work with.

The $4.5 million reduction in the team’s available salary cap caught some fans by surprise and some though that it was another salary cap penalty arbitrarily imposed by the league. But it was nothing of the sort; the Redskins knew it was coming and planned for it.

It goes back to the 2011 season. Throughout the offseason there was a lockout as the NFL players and owners fought over how much of a multi-billion dollar NFL pie each side would get. That determines the salary cap and teams had little time to plan after the lockout was settled on July 25. After the numbers were crunched it was determined that the cap would be $120 million. That was $3 million less than it was in 2009, the previous year with a cap (2010 was uncapped).

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This created a bit of panic among teams who had made contract commitments figuring that the cap would grow. So the NFL set up a system to let teams “borrow” up to $3 million in cap space in 2011 and $1.5 million in 2012. The stipulation was that the cap space would have to be repaid by 2017.

The Redskins took full advantage of the program, borrowing the available $4.5 million in cap space. They could have paid it back sooner but cap space rolls over from year to year so it really was a matter of accounting.

It should be noted that the team took heat from fans and some in the media for rolling over $15 million in cap space from 2016 to this year. Now we know that part of that rollover was included in anticipation of the need to repay this 2011-2012 debt.

The loan payment leaves the Redskins with about $11.3 million in cap space. Their prime opportunity to create more is to renegotiate DeAngelo Hall’s contract. The veteran safety, who has missed large chunks of the past three seasons with injuries, is schedule to draw a salary of $4.25 million this year. After the end of last season, Hall said that he would be amenable to taking a pay cut and trading some salary for incentives. Such a move could save the team as much as $2-$3 million in cap space.

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That $2-$3 million is about what they will need in net cap space to sign their draft picks. They also need about $5 million to give them funds to handle paying the practice squad and to pay players on injured reserve.

So if they rework Hall’s contract they will have around $6 million to work with. That may give them enough to sign free agent linebacker Zach Brown or give a contract extension to right tackle Morgan Moses.

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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Redskins Week 3 injury report: Five are listed as questionable

Redskins Week 3 injury report: Five are listed as questionable

The Redskins had a tough, physical game against the Rams last Sunday and it shows on the team’s injury report. Five players are listed as questionable for the coming game against the Raiders at FedEx Field.

TE Jordan Reed (chest), RB Rob Kelley (ribs), ILB Mason Foster (shoulder), S Montae Nicholson (shoulder), and CB Josh Norman (shoulder) are the players who are questionable.

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Of those players, Reed was the only one to miss a practice this week. He was out on Wednesday and was back on a limited basis on Thursday and Friday. The Pro Bowl tight end told reporters in the locker room that he will be in the lineup on Sunday.

There is particular concern about Kelley’s injury. He is likely to start as he usually does. But CSN is reporting that the team will have four running backs on the game day active list instead of the three they went with in Weeks 1 and 2. Mack Brown will dress for the Redskins after being inactive in both previous games.

MORE REDSKINS: A STRONG START FOR SMITH BUT MORE IS NEEDED

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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Pierre Garcon was fantastic vs. the Rams, but don't lament his departure just yet

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USA TODAY Sports

Pierre Garcon was fantastic vs. the Rams, but don't lament his departure just yet

Thursday night's Rams-49ers game was surprisingly fun. It was also unofficially the Check Out All These Ex-Redskins Now Playing or Working in California Bowl.

Sean McVay and Kyle Shanahan, two former Washington offensive coordinators, are now in charge of the two teams. Old 'Skins like Aldrick Robinson, Derek Carrier and John Sullivan, meanwhile, were a part of the on-field action.

It was Pierre Garçon, though, who pushed Burgundy and Gold fans to take their phones out of their pocket and pen sad tweets. That's because the 31-year-old wideout caught seven Brian Hoyer passes (that's impressive on its own, by the way) for 142 yards vs. Los Angeles on Thursday Night Football.

And while his team lost 41-39, Garçon didn't deserve to with plays like this:

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Even with that standout performance, however, Redskins fans shouldn't be cursing the franchise for letting Garçon go. Not yet, anyway.

This past march, the veteran left D.C. after five seasons to sign with San Fran. His deal was a rich one: five years for $47.5 million ($17 million guaranteed at signing). The Niners can get out of it after two years, but it still is a sizable contract even with that potential exit.

That kind of money is the first thing those who miss Garçon should think about. Now, the Redskins didn't exactly handle their negotiations with him that smoothly, but in the end, unless he gave Washington a nice discount, he just would've cost a lot to keep.

Secondly, it's easy to slam the 'Skins for losing Garçon while Kirk Cousins and Co. have stalled through two games in 2017. But the reason that's happening thus far has more to do with Cousins' inaccuracy in Weeks 1 and 2 and an offensive line that's not at the level it should be than with that familiar No. 88 not lining up outside anymore.

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Would Garçon have made a difference for the Redskins against the Eagles and Rams if he were still here? Yeah, probably. But when Jay Gruden's unit starts operating at its normal speed and precision — and it will — the upset voices lamenting Garçon's departure will get quieter.

This is nothing against the guy who was the NFL's 2013 receptions leader and who's well on his way to another productive campaign. It's just that it feels premature to make the connection that allowing him to move on is what's ailing the Washington offense, or that it was a disastrous decision. 

Give Garçon's far cheaper replacements (Terrelle Pryor and Josh Doctson) more time. Wait for the quarterback and his linemen to sync up again. In a league with just 16 games, that's very hard to do, but let's see if those in the area long for Garçon in December as much as they are currently longing for him in September.