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Redskins salary cap outlook: Wide receivers

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Redskins salary cap outlook: Wide receivers

As Jay Gruden and company finalize the coaching staff people in another part of the building at Redskins Park are looking forward to free agency and how best to utilize the approximately $20 million in cap space the Redskins have. Here we’ll take a position-by-position look at the cap situation and explore some of the Redskins’ options. Previously we looked at the interior offensive line and offensive tackle. Up today, wide receiver

The Redskins currently have five wide receivers under contract.

Notes:

—Garçon (age 29 before the season starts) and Jackson (age 28) have the second and third highest cap numbers on the team, respectively. They both are under contract for two more seasons with 2016 cap numbers of $10.2 million for Garçon and $9.25 million for Jackson.

—Jackson’s roster bonus of $3.75 million is guaranteed unless he has been suspended. He has the same guarantee for a roster bonus of the same amount in 2016.

—Roberts’ cap number is the 15th-highest on the team. His contract has three years to run with cap number of $5 million in both 2015 and 2016.

—Santana Moss, who has been with the team since 2005 and will be 36 in June, and 2011 third-round pick Leonard Hankerson, are unrestricted free agents.

—Grant has three years to go on his rookie contract with minimum salaries each year.

Adding and subtracting

At almost $24 million, the Redskins spend heavily at this position compared to the rest of the NFL. Only the Falcons, Dolphins, Lions and Cardinals have more cap dollars devoted to wide receivers than the Redskins. This has led some to speculate if they should try to trade or release one of their three higher-priced receivers.

Setting aside the on-field factors for the moment and looking strictly at the cap implications, Garçon would be the logical candidate to cut or trade. Although there would be a $4.4 million dead cap charge if he was cut or traded the net cap savings would be $5.3 million. The team could opt to designate him as a post-June 1 cut which would result in $7.5 million in savings for 2015 but a $2.2 million dead cap hit in 2016.

This decision would come down to new general manager Scot McCloughan looking at tape of Garçon’s season, which produced 68 catches for 752 yards and three touchdowns. Was the falloff in production from 2013 (113/1,346/5) due to Garçon’s play or more due to issues at the quarterback position? McCloughan will have to decide if Garçon is worth the $7.1 million salary that he is due.

McCloughan could also conclude that Roberts ($2.75 million salary) is not worth the expense but releasing him would result in just $750,000 in cap savings after a $3 million dead cap charge.

Jackson was their most productive receiver and that’s good because it would be costly to let him go. The guaranteed roster bonuses would mean a net cap charge of $2 million for releasing him. If they get a trade offer, however, they could consider that as the charges for the roster bonuses would be passed along to his new team.

We’ll take a deeper look at the possibility of the team moving on without Jackson or Garçon in our position outlook question later this afternoon.

Cap information from OverTheCap.com and other sources.

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Redskins RB Thompson still nervous for impending cut down day

Redskins RB Thompson still nervous for impending cut down day

You would think that after spending two years as the team’s third-down back, playing more snaps than any other running back last season, and getting a second-round restricted free agent tender that will pay him $2.7 million this year, Chris Thompson might feel comfortable as the Redskins start up the final phase of their preseason program.

But Thompson says that he is as nervous about making the team as he was when he was a fifth-round in 2013.

“Even after the last preseason game when you guys talk to me I’m going to still be nervous when that time comes around because I never forget that feeling,” he told reporters on Monday prior to the Redskins charity golf tournament at Army-Navy Country Club.

“For me, I’ve just got to come out here and work every day to try to secure my job.”

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

The approach has worked for him in the past. He struggled with injuries his first two years in the league, playing a total of just six games. In 2015 he found his niche as the third-down back and he hasn’t given it up.

In fact, he may get more opportunities on first and second downs.

“I have a feeling that I might get a little more this year,” he said. “He [coach Jay Gruden] knows that I’m healthy and I can stay healthy. I think that was one of his biggest concerns, that I can handle the load. I think I’ll get a lot more opportunities.”

Rob Kelley is expected to be the starter and fourth-round pick Samaje Perine should get a significant number of carries. If Gruden plans on Thompson getting more work on the ground, that likely means that the Redskins anticipate running the ball more ofent than they did in 2016, when they were 27th in the NFL with 379 rushing attempts.

Health is key for Thompson. He not only played in all 16 games for the first time in his career last year, he came out of the season in good health. Not having the need to rehab is allowing Thompson to work on refining his game.

“[Being healthy] helps me to get away and focus on the little things that I need to work on,” he said. “Having a full offseason, being able to get away, I’ve been able to focus on those things. Just like my quickness, my route running. I know my route running is big for me to make it in this league so I work on that. . . that was my main goal.”

Thompson’s work ethic and his mindset where he takes nothing for granted have served him well. He will be an unrestricted free agent in 2018 and if he continues to produce he will be setting himself up for a nice payday. 

RELATED: OFFSEASON NFL POWER RANKINGS

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RB Matt Jones reportedly not part of Redskins' 2017 plans

RB Matt Jones reportedly not part of Redskins' 2017 plans

Matt Jones entered the 2016 season as the Redskins undisputed starter at running back.

That lasted seven games.

By Week 8, Jones landed on the inactive list, and he never took another snap all year.

With OTAs beginning for the 2017 season, it looks like Jones might not play with the team. 

NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT?

In April at the NFL Draft, reports surfaced that Washington was trying to trade Jones.

Weeks before that, at the NFL Owner's Meetings in Arizona, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden had to be reminded that Jones was still on the roster as the coach talked about the running back situation for this fall.

Robert Kelley surpassed Jones as the top running back on the team last season with Chris Thompson secure in his third down back role. 

Mack Brown even moved past Jones on the depth chart. When the Redskins drafted Samaje Perine in the fourth round, that signaled even bigger trouble for Jones' roster situation.

The Redskins will likely only keep four running backs this fall, and with Kelley, Perine, Thompson and Brown, it sure seems like Jones is the odd man out.

It's remarkable considering Jones has size, speed and an NFL resume that has three 100-yard games on it in just 20 games. The Redskins spent a third-round pick on Jones in 2015, and he largely ousted fan favorite Alfred Morris from the RB1 role as a rookie. 

Life comes at you quick in the NFL.

Jones is a clear example of that. 

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ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back