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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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Need to Know: Assessing the Redskins' four remaining opponents

Need to Know: Assessing the Redskins' four remaining opponents

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, December 10, one day before the Washington Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles.

Timeline

Today's schedule: No media availability

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 9; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 14; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 22

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

Around Redskins Park

The Redskins have four games remaining on their schedule. Three wins would give them a record of 9-6-1 and a very good shot at the playoffs. Four will almost certainly get them a ticket to keep playing; two wins or fewer will have them needing a whole lot of help to make the postseason

Let’s take a look at the Redskins’ remaining four opponents and revisit the confidence level on the Redskins’ chances of beating each one of them. (I first did this exercise a few weeks ago).

@Eagles, 5-7, weighted DVOA via Football Outsiders, 15.3% (ranked 5th)
The Eagles looked like playoff contenders for about half of the season but they have taken a tumble back to earth, losing five of their last six. Right now the Redskins are the better team, although their long injury list is an area for concern. The Eagles appear to be in some degree of disarray after their coach accused some unnamed players of giving less than full effort. Confidence that the Redskins will win: High

Panthers, 4-8, DVOA -7.5% (25th)
They won’t be able to defend their NFC championship much longer. By the time this game comes around they could be either eliminated or on the verge of being mathematically out of the playoffs. Their problems are numerous including big issues at cornerback (too bad they didn’t have a guy who could have helped franchise tagged) and an offensive line that has been injury-wracked all year. Still, Cam Newton is a scary quarterback and he still has tight end Greg Olsen and receivers Kelvin Benjamin and Ted Ginn Jr. If the Redskins get into a shootout they could be in trouble. Confidence: Moderately high

@Bears, 3-9, DVOA -3.0%, (24th)
Matt Barkley is the Bears’ third starting QB this season and in most statistical categories he’s the worst of the three. The Bears have been hit by injuries as hard as any NFL team with multiple starters on injured reserve. They probably would have struggled even with those players healthy; without them they are one of the five worst teams in the NFL. The one thing to beware of is the late December weather in Chicago, which could randomize the outcome to an extent. Confidence: Very high

Giants, 8-4, DVOA 5.0%, (12th)
The new players on the Giants’ defense were just starting to gel when end Jason Pierre-Paul’s season ended after sports hernia surgery. Their defense, with the No. 7 DVOA (-9.6%), won’t collapse but it won’t be as strong. Eli Manning’s stats are down a tick from last year but as long as he has Odell Beckham to throw to the Giants won’t be totally stymied on offense. This one is hard to get a good feel for this far out, not knowing what might be at stake for either team. Confidence: Moderate

For comparison purposes, the 6-5-1 Redskins have a DVOA of 9.8% (10th)

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Final injury report: Three Redskins out for Sunday

Final injury report: Three Redskins out for Sunday

Redskins

Out

C Spencer Long (concussion)—He missed the second half of the Cardinals game and has been in the concussion protocol this week. John Sullivan will start in his place.

S Will Blackmon (concussion)—Blackmon also has been in the concussion protocol and has not practiced all week. Donte Whitner and Duke Ihenacho will handle the safety position.

DE Anthony Lanier (leg)—The reserve lineman missed the Arizona game with a leg contusion. Gruden said he was kicked in the lower leg against the Cowboys and the swelling is still an issue.

Questionable

G Shawn Lauvao (groin)—It was a surprise to see him watching practice on Wednesday as no injury had been reported for him. But he came in for treatment and did not practice on Wednesday and Thursday. If he can’t go, Arie Kouandjio will start at left guard.

OT Ty Nsekhe (ankle)—Fortunately Trent Williams is back from his suspension; Nsekhe was the starter while he was out. If Nsekhe is out, Vinston Painter will be the swing backup tackle.

TE Jordan Reed (shoulder)—After missing last week’s game with a third-degree separation of the AC join in his left shoulder, Reed was able to practice on a limited basis this week. If range of motion is still an issue he could sit or play very limited snaps. If it’s a matter of pain tolerance he will be a full go.  

G Brandon Scherff (ankle)—He has been limited in practice during the week but it seems certain that he will go against the Eagles.

DE Chris Baker (ankle)—Baker missed some practice this week but he should be able to go against the Eagles although his level of effectiveness will bear watching.

Also questionable for the Redskins: DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee), OLB Preston Smith (groin), ILB Will Compton (hip), TE Derek Carrier (knee)

Eagles

Questionable

WR Jordan Matthews (ankle) and RB Ryan Matthews (knee) were full in practice all week and it seems likely that the Eagles’ leading receiver and rusher, respectively, will play on Sunday. Up in the air is the status of WR Dorial Green-Beckham (oblique), who missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday.

RT Halapoulivaati Vaitai (knee) will miss his third straight game. He had a rough start in his NFL debut against the Redskins in Week 6 but he remained the starter until getting injured in Week 11. Since then the Eagles have moved LG Alan Barbre to right tackle with Stefen Wisniewski going in at left guard.