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Redskins go into 2017 with ample salary cap space

Redskins go into 2017 with ample salary cap space

The Redskins have several key free agents to deal with and a lot of holes to fill on both sides of the ball, particularly on defense. The good news is that they will have a substantial amount of salary cap space available to manage the situation.

How much will they have? Let’s walk through the numbers.

The Redskins currently have $113 million in 2017 cap expenditures for players under contract (cap data via www.OvertheCap.com). Add in $6.9 million in dead cap money for unaccounted for bonuses paid to Stephen Paea ($2.5 million), Chris Culliver ($2.5 million), and David Bruton ($1.7 million) and the Redskins are spending just about $120 million in 2017.

That’s the expense side of the ledger. On the available money side, the NFL salary cap for 2017 currently is estimated to be $168 million. That number could be lower, although that is unlikely. In fact, history tells us that the cap number usually ends up higher than the early estimates. But we’ll use the $168 million number for now.

RELATED: How will the Garçon-Jackson saga play out?

Before we arrive at their cap space, there is one more calculation to make. The Redskins had $15 million in cap space that they did not use in 2016. Since the 2011 CBA, teams have been allowed to roll unspent cap dollars into the next year. Add that to the $168 million cap and you get a team cap of just under $182 million (numbers may not add exactly due to rounding). Take that and subtract the $120 million in expenditures from above and you have the Redskins with $62 million in cap space.

Only six teams have more cap space than that. The Redskins, like most other teams, can create more cap space by releasing some veteran players whose contract values outstrip their values on the field. Some possibilities for the Redskins:

OL Kory Lichtensteiger has spent large chunks of the last two seasons on injured reserve. After he was activated off of IR this year he didn’t play a snap. It appears that Spencer Long is now entrenched at the center position. Lichtensteiger’s cap number is $4.05 million and there would be cap savings of $3.5 million if they release him.

DB DeAngelo Hall has been injured the last three years. His salary in the last year of his four-year contract is $4.25 million and Hall is savvy enough to know that the team isn’t going to pay that to a 33-year-old player with his injury history. Hall is willing to rework his deal to be able to stay but the team could decide to move on and save the $4.25 million in cap space.

TE Derek Carrier played in eight games and caught just two passes. It’s possible that he wasn’t fully healthy after suffering multiple ligament tears in his knee, including his ACL. His cap number is just over $1 million and the team could save all of that by letting him go.

TE Niles Paul also had just two receptions in eight games before he suffered a torn labrum that landed him on IR for the second straight year. He missed all of the 2015 season with a broken ankle. Paul is a special teams captain and one of the coaches’ favorites, but the organization will have to take a long, hard look at the $2 million in cap space they could save by moving on.

MORE REDSKINS: Fixing the offense in the red zone critical for 2017 Redskins

The Redskins could make all the above moves and save nearly $11 million, bringing their available cap space to $73 million. They could release some of those players and make other moves that will save smaller amounts of money that could add up. This is all variable and unknown at the moment. We’ll stick with a cap number of $62 million and then see what happens from there.

Out of that, the Redskins will need to find a way to pay Kirk Cousins (or another quarterback), DeSean Jackson and/or Pierre Garçon (or another wide receiver) and get help on defense, particularly on the line and at safety. If they move on from the players who could be cap casualties, they will have to be replaced.

We’ll look at the what the Redskins need to do and what they could do with their money over the next week or so. One thing is clear—with their big pile of cap space they will have plenty of options.

Related: Uncertainty surrounding Kirk Cousins impacts Redskins pursuit of free agent receivers

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Redskins 2017 position outlook: Wide receiver

Redskins 2017 position outlook: Wide receiver

With the season opener fast approaching, it’s time to put the Redskins’ depth chart under the microscope. Over the coming days we will look at every position, compare the group to the rest of the NFL, see if the position has been upgraded or downgraded from last year, and take out the crystal ball to see what might unfold.

Wide receivers

Starters: Terrelle Pryor, Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder (slot)
Other roster locks: Ryan Grant, Maurice Harris.
On the bubble: Robert Davis, Brian Quick

How the wide receivers compare:

To the rest of the NFL: This is an unproven group, with Pryor in his second year playing the position and Doctson coming off a lost rookie season. You don’t have to look far to find receiving groups with more proven production. The Giants have added Brandon Marshall to Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard to form one of the top groups in the NFL. It’s arguable that the Cowboys have a better corps. But Pryor has produced a 1000-yard season, Crowder improved from his rookie year to last year and Doctson is a recognized talent. They’re outside of the top 10 but not too far down the list, somewhere in the teens.

RELATED: 5 TAKEAWAYS FROM REDSKINS' LOSS TO PACKERS

To the 2016 Redskins: The Redskins became the first team to lose two 1000-yard receivers in a single offseason when both DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon left in free agency. They managed to recover about as well as could be expected by signing Pryor and having Doctson in the wings. And maybe the backups could be better than they were last year. Ryan Grant has been catching everything thrown near him in practice and Maurice Harris will have his rookie year out of the way. But the harsh reality is that you don’t easily replace receivers like Garçon and, especially, the speedy Jackson easily. This group must be considered a downgrade until we see production on the field that indicates otherwise.

2017 outlook:

Biggest upside: Doctson was off to a great start in training camp before he suffered a hamstring injury. His talent for high-pointing the ball could make him a favorite red zone and third down target.

Most to prove: Ryan Grant has been a favorite of the coaches since he was a fifth-round pick in 2014. But he had only nine receptions in 16 games last year. If he wants an NFL future here or elsewhere, he needs to catch passes.

MORE REDSKINS: REDSKINS-PACKERS MUST-SEE PHOTOS

Rookie watch: Sixth-round pick Davis has been targeted 11 times in two preseason games and he has 20- and 31-yard receptions. He is going to have to fight off Quick to remain on the roster but he appears to be ahead in that battle. Davis is helping his case by working as a gunner on the punt team.

Bottom line: There is no doubt that the team will miss the ability of Jackson to go deep, opening things up underneath. But it also is clear that the bigger, more physical receivers will help move the chains and increase red zone productivity. The size does not necessarily compensate for the loss of speed but Kirk Cousins still should find quality targets.

Quote-unquote

Jay Gruden on Ryan Grant:

He’s really strong, he’s in great shape, and he’s Mr. Consistent. Everything we ask him to do he does, and he does it right. No matter where he lines up, no matter what we ask him to do – he can come in the core and block the safety, whatever we want him to do, he can run whatever route from whatever positon and he runs at the right depth, perfect angles coming out of them. He’s just ‘Steady Eddie,’ and that’s why I like him. I like consistent, smart players and that’s what Ryan is.

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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Report: Despite off-field turmoil, NFL close to extension with commissioner Roger Goodell

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USA Today Sports

Report: Despite off-field turmoil, NFL close to extension with commissioner Roger Goodell

Despite off-field turmoil and a seemingly endless list of controversies, the NFL plans to extend the tenure of commissioner Roger Goodell, per a report from the NFL Network's Mike Garafolo. 

Goodell took over the top NFL job in 2006, replacing the long-tenured Paul Tagliabue. The extension reportedly will extend his era as commissioner through 2024, though Garafolo said the league and Goodell have a few "minor issues" to work through.

In 2016, Goodell reportedly made $34 million as commissioner. 

Under Goodell, the league has seen a windfall of cash, but also numerous off-field controversies.

The commissioner's role with player punishments has dramatically increased, and seems to grow more litigious year after year.

RELATED: ALL-PRO WIDE RECEIVER ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT

Things seemed to hit their peak when the NFL suspended New England Patriots QB Tom Brady four games for possibly deflating footballs, though the evidence was far from concrete.

There have been plenty of other major controversies during Goodell's leadership: the ongoing concussion lawsuits and settlements, Ray Rice's domestic violence incident, Michael Vick's dog-fighting ring, Ben Roethlisberger's sexual assault allegations, and more. 

This year — right now — Goodell is in the middle of dealing with an announced six-game suspension of Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott and the ongoing controversy surrounding Colin Kaepernick's inability to land a job in the NFL. 

Ultimately, it appears cash matters most for the league and its commissioner. 

It's also worth adding that the NFL has not lost any games due to labor stoppage under Goodell's leadership. That could change, however, when the next collective bargaining agreement comes up after the 2020 season. NFL Player's Association leader DeMaurice Smith has talked of a possible strike or lockout, and some vocal critics of Goodell and the NFL, like Richard Sherman, have said that the players need to be prepared to strike to elicit actual change. 

There was some speculation that NFL owners, particularly Robert Kraft in New England and Jerry Jones in Dallas, might push for a change at the top as Goodell's autocratic disciplinary style found league stars suspended. Assuming a contract gets done, that speculation appears to be false. 

Goodell was commissioner in 2012 when the NFL penalized the Redskins $36 million against the salary cap for overspending during the uncapped 2010 season.

Redskins officials adamantly denied any wrongdoing, and the penalties had a significant impact on the team's ability to compete for free agents and roster depth. 

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