Now that we know that the top-line numbers on DeSean Jackson’s contract we know that they are going to have some work to do on their salary cap.
When I posted about how the Redskins might structure a Jackson contract a few days ago, I looked to the six-year, $54 million deal that Jairus Byrd got from the Saints. They managed to fit that contract in with a structure that led to a 2014 salary cap hit of $3.5 million.
Jackson’s deal is for less money (3 years, $24 million) but the term is shorter so that makes it harder to shrink that first-year cap hit into something that will fit under the team’s remaining cap space of about $6.3 million. The team needs some reserve cap space going into the season to handle players on injured reserve, pay the practice squad, and pay injury settlements. Since they don’t have a first-round pick they will only need around $500,000 in cap space to sign their draft class.
If they do need to create some cap room there are two main targets. One is defensive end Stephen Bowen. He is recovering from microfracture surgery and he has a $4.4 million salary and a $7 million cap number. They could release him, creating a dead cap charge of $5 million and net cap savings of just under $2 million. If they designated him as a June 1 cut, they would save about $4.5 million this year and dump $2.5 million in dead money into the 2014 cap.
If it looks like Bowen will be able to play this year but perhaps not at a level that justifies his salary, perhaps they could negotiate a reduction in pay. A move like that would not create any dead cap and would lead to dollar for dollar cap savings. If, say, they cut his salary in half and give him some unlikely to be earned incentives his cap number would drop by $2.2 million.
Another option would be to restructure a contract or two. Pierre Garçon would be a prime candidate fro a simple restructure. They could take all but $730,000 (the minimum for a player with Garçon’s experience) of his $7.1 million salary plus his $400,000 in combined workout and roster bonuses and convert that into signing bonus. They could the spread that salary over the remaining three years of his contract. When you crunch the numbers that would save about $4.5 million against this year’s cap.
There is no hurry to make a move. Player salaries don’t become real until they are on the roster for the first game of the season so they have time to see what develops.