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Redskins should enter 2016 with plenty of salary cap room

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Redskins should enter 2016 with plenty of salary cap room

The Redskins have some work to do in terms of signing free agents, both their own and possibly some from other teams. The good news is that they will have plenty of cap room to work with.

Washington will gain some cap space simply by the fact that every team will get more money to spend. The teams have been informed that the 2016 cap will increase from $143.28 million in 2015 to between $150 million and $153.4 million. Recent history indicates that the league’s preliminary estimates tend to be on the conservative side. So we will work with the $153.4 million estimate here knowing that it may be a little less or perhaps even a bit more.

The Redskins’ base cap number is higher than that because they didn’t spend all of their cap money last year. They ended the season with about $6.1 million in unspent money (cap figures via OverTheCap.com). That makes their cap number for 2016 $159.5 million.

They already have used a significant portion of that as they have 50 players under contract with salary cap charges total $145.5 million. They also have about half a million dollars in dead cap money (most of it is the $295,000 charge for cutting David Amerson last year). Subtracting those two numbers from their adjusted cap number of $159.5 million that leaves $13.5 million in cap space.

There are moves that Scot McCloughan can make that will create more cap room. We’ll look at some possible moves below. But one that he is certain to make is releasing quarterback Robert Griffin III. He currently counts for $16.1 million against the cap. When he is released, that entire amount will be added to available cap space with no offsetting dead cap money. That will bring the Redskins’ available cap space up to $29.6 million.

In any case, locking up Cousins will bring the Redskins’ cap space down to somewhere in the $10 million range. The team will almost certainly create more cap space via releasing some veterans with big cap numbers and negotiating pay cuts with other veterans. Here are some possible candidates for either being released or having their contracts renegotiated.

The organization is not going to cut all of these players. In fact, they might not cut any of them. But if all of them were cut the savings would total $37.4 million. Just for the sake of coming up with an estimate, let’s say they release some players and renegotiate deals to save about half of the potential total. That would give McCloughan about $48 million in cap space to re-sign Kirk Cousins (a move that by itself could eat up between $15 and $20 million in cap space, depending on how a deal is structured) and some other of the team’s key free agents and fill a few needs when the free agent market opens on March 9.

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Redskins draft oft-injured Auburn CB Joshua Holsey with their final pick

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USA TODAY Sports

Redskins draft oft-injured Auburn CB Joshua Holsey with their final pick

The Redskins haven't shied away from using draft picks on players with an injury history, and that trend continued all the way to their final pick of the draft with Auburn CB Joshua Holsey.

Holsey missed parts of the 2013 and 2015 seasons at Auburn due to torn ACLs, but rebounded with a strong season in 2016. He had 30 tackles, three interceptions and 10 passes defended in his senior season.

RELATED: REDSKINS ROLL THE DICE ON 7TH ROUND SAFETY

He was overlooked through most of the draft process due to his injury history and was snubbed at the combine. 

The seventh round is a spot to take a flier on a guy who has some traits you like, and this certainly fits the bill with the pick of Joshua Holsey. 

MORE REDSKINS: ANOTHER TALL WR? 3 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT ROBERT DAVIS

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All or nothing? Redskins roll dice on 7th-round safety with lots of talent

All or nothing? Redskins roll dice on 7th-round safety with lots of talent

With two picks in the seventh round, the Redskins rolled the dice and selected Josh Harvey-Clemons. A safety from Louisville that started his career at Georgia, Harvey-Clemons was a five star recruit out of high school that eventually left Georgia due to multiple positive drug tests.

His junior year at Louisville, however, was a breakout season for Harvey-Clemons. Here are three things to know:

  1. Testing - At Georgia, Harvey-Clemons dealt with multiple suspensions for marijuana. That had a major impact on his draft status, and will have the eyes of the NFL watching him on the next level.
  2. Size - Harvey-Clemons has the size to play safety in the NFL, or maybe even more of a hybrid role like Su'a Cravens as a rookie. He's listed at 6-foot-4 and 217 lbs. NFL.com describes him with an "alpha mentality."
  3. Keep it together - After sitting out a transfer year, Harvey-Clemons played well at Lousville for two seasons. He logged more than 140 tackles and took ACC conference honors in 2015 and 2016. Whatever problems he had early in his college career (cough pot cough) he controlled at Louisville. If that continues, Harvey Clemons could have a chance at making the Redskins roster.

Simply put? The Redskins rolled the dice on a kid with good size and tackling ability who had problems with marijuana early in his college career. A lot of college students have problems smoking marijuana early in their college career. In the 7th round, this seems like a good gamble.

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