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Redskins salary cap review: Low QB salaries won't last long

Redskins salary cap review: Low QB salaries won't last long

Salary cap review: Offensive Backs

As Jay Gruden continues to assemble his 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 $28 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. So far, we’ve looked at wide receivers and the offensive line. Next up, offensive backs.

The Redskins currently have nine offensive backs under contract.

Name Base Cap number
QB Robert Griffin III $2,309,918 $5,759,754
FB Darrel Young $870,000 $1,378,333
RB Roy Helu $645,000 $762,563
QB Kirk Cousins $570,000 $688,172
RB Evan Royster $645,000 $671,918
RB Alfred Morris $570,000 $600,775
RB Chris Thompson $495,000 $541,250
RB Jawan Jamison $495,000 $495,000
RB Davin Meggett $495,000 $495,000
$7,094,918 $11,392,765

Some notes:

—Griffin has the sixth-highest cap number on the team while Young is the only other back in the top 20 at 14th.

—Only seven teams in the NFL will spend less on their quarterbacks this year than the Redskins. They are about in the middle of the pack in terms of running back expenditure, ranking 18th.

—Rex Grossman is a free agent after signing a one-year deal in 2013.

Adding and subtracting

The Redskins could well go into training camp with these two quarterbacks and seven running backs on the roster. They would need to add 1-2 quarterbacks to run camp, a backup fullback, and maybe a camp fodder running back or two.

But they do have other options. If they get the right offer for Cousins they could well trade him for a draft pick. Should that happen they would need a backup quarterback. It wouldn’t make much sense for them to get a pick for Cousins and then use that pick or another one to draft a backup quarterback. They would likely go the route of signing a veteran backup.

How much would that cost? Somewhere between the $4.38 million cap number that the Cowboys’ Kyle Orton carries and the $580,000 cap charge that the Bears’ Josh McCown and the Redskins’ Rex Grossman carried on their one-year contracts last year.

In either case, the Redskins still will be paying a lot less for quarterbacks than other teams will be. And the same will be the case in 2015 when Griffin is on the last year of his rookie contract. Then the cost will jump considerably.

The Redskins have an option to add a fifth year to Griffin’s contract that would make his salary somewhere in the $15-$18 million range (the average of the top 10 at the position) for the 2016 season. After that, in 2017, he will be a free agent. If he plays as well as he did as a rookie he will command something in the vicinity of $20 million per year. If he’s not there but good enough to still be the starter he’ll get something around $15 million.

The Redskins have never had to deal with a cap number that high for a player before. It will take some adjusting to be able to fit him under that cap.

The big cap number for Griffin is a couple of years down the road but it’s something that the organization needs to think about now. Almost any big-name free agent they might sign this year will have a contract that will go at least into that option year of Griffin’s contract. Bruce Allen will have to look at that $10 million or so being added to the salary expenditures and make sure that the team isn’t giving out a disproportionately large percentage of the cap to just a handful of players.

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Final Countdown: Punch to the gut floors Redskins in Arizona on 6th worst play of 2016

Final Countdown: Punch to the gut floors Redskins in Arizona on 6th worst play of 2016

As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and, to present a more complete picture of the season, the 10 worst.

No. 6 worst play of 2016

Redskins at Cardinals Week 13

3:47 left in Q4, Cardinals ball at their own 34, 4th and 1, Cardinals leading 24-23

David Johnson up the middle to ARZ 48 for 14 yards (Josh Norman).

Related: A team to watch in the Cousins situation

Tandler: What's worse than a punch in the gut? A gut punch you don't see coming. The Redskins had pulled to within a point with plenty of time left to get a winning score—if the defense could get a stop. When Bruce Arians sent out his offense on fourth and one, the Redskins had to watch for Carson Palmer to try to draw them offside. In fact, Joe Barry told the Redskins not to expect a snap and to be sure not the jump. But they did snap the ball and Johnson ran for the easiest 14 yards up the gut you’ll ever see. The air was out of the Redskins’ comeback balloon and Palmer all but put it away a few plays later with a 42-yard TD pass to J.J. Nelson.

More Redskins: Will the first round fall into place?

Finlay: This is not the first 4th Down conversion on our list of bad plays, but perhaps the most important one. Washington desperately needed this stop, and the defense thought they had it on the 3rd down play prior. Only Arians did not flinch about going for it, much to Barry's surprise, and the 'Skins D had no shot at Johnson. This play illustrated the weakness of Washington's defensive front perhaps better than any other run all season.

10 best plays countdown

10 worst plays countdown

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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With Matt Ryan in the Super Bowl, Kirk Cousins will make Pro Bowl, per report

With Matt Ryan in the Super Bowl, Kirk Cousins will make Pro Bowl, per report

Kirk Cousins' price tag just moved even higher with the news that he will replace Matt Ryan in the Pro Bowl. ESPN's John Keim reported the roster move first.

Ryan's Atlanta Falcons advanced to the Super Bowl on Sunday with a 44-21 dismantling of the Green Bay Packers. That victory means Ryan will not be available for the Pro Bowl, held this Sunday in Orlando. Cousins got his spot as an alternate.

Cousins gets the spot deservedly. This season he passed for 4,917 yards, completing 67 percent of his passes and throwing 25 TDs to 12 INTs. In two seasons since being named starter for the Redskins, Cousins has thrown for more than 9,000 yards. 

The Pro Bowl nod for Cousins will only make the Redskins pending contract talks that much tougher. The quarterback played in 2016 under the franchise tag, which netted him nearly $20 million. This season Washington could again place Cousins on the franchise tag, with a price tag around $24 million. Both sides can still work for a long-term deal, though the value of that contract would likely soar past $100 million and closer to $120 million.

Some questions exist within the Redskins organization if that is too much money devoted to one player, even if it is a Pro Bowl quarterback.

It's fitting that Cousins is subbing in for Ryan, who has found much success playing under Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. All signs points to Shanahan taking over as the 49ers head coach after the Super Bowl, and a report emerged that San Francisco would make a strong push to obtain Cousins, either in free agency or via trade. 

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!