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Salary cap analysis: Cap casualties coming on Redskins D-line?

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Salary cap analysis: Cap casualties coming on Redskins D-line?

Salary cap review: Defensive line

As Jay Gruden continues the process of assembling the playbook, 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, offensive backs and the offensive line. Next up, the defensive line.

The Redskins currently have seven defensive linemen under contract.

Name Base Cap number
NT Barry Cofield $4,550,000 $7,602,500
DE Stephen Bowen $4,400,000 $7,020,000
DE Adam Carriker $4,700,000 $6,833,333
DE Jarvis Jenkins $927,184 $1,521,762
DE Kedric Golston $900,000 $1,120,000
NT Chris Neild $645,000 $656,475
DE Doug Worthington $645,000 $645,000
$16,767,184 $25,399,070

Some notes:

—The cap numbers for Bowen, Cofield, and Carrier are the third-, fourth- and fith-highest on the team.

—All three of those players had their contracts restructured last year to help the team get through the salary cap crunch created by the cap penalty. The restructures lowered the 2013 cap numbers for them. It increased the cap charges for Cofield and Bowen. Although we don’t have all of the details on Carriker’s restructure, it appears that he took a straight 2013 pay cut.

—The Redskins rank 10th in the NFL in cap spending at the defensive end position. They are 9th in the nose tackle/defensive tackle spending category.

—The one key free agent here is Chris Baker, who plays both the nose and end.

Adding and subtracting

There are some potential salary cap savings here. Here is the dead cap total and the net cap savings for releasing these players prior to June 1:

Name Dead Money Saving pre-6/1 Savings post-6/1
NT Barry Cofield $6,007,500 $1,595,000 $5,000,000
DE Stephen Bowen $5,040,000 $1,980,000 $4,500,000
DE Adam Carriker $3,666,667 $3,166,666 $5,000,000
DE Jarvis Jenkins $494,578 $1,027,184 $1,027,184
DE Kedric Golston $240,000 $880,000 $1,000,000
NT Chris Neild $11,475 $645,000 $645,000
DE Doug Worthington $0 $645,000 $645,000

If the Redskins do want to release any of these players there are two ways to do it. They can simply release the player and that would save them the amount on the pre-6/1 column. The team would simply absorb the full amount of whatever prorated bonuses are left on the contract. That number is called dead cap and you subtract that from the player’s salary plus workout, roster, and other bonuses they would be due for the year to get the net savings.

A team can lower the cap impact of releasing a player by either designating him as a post-June 1 cut or by releasing him after the first day of June. That way only the 2014 portion of the prorated bonuses will be charged to the 2014 cap. The rest of the dead cap is charged to 2015.

Looking at it big picture, it’s hard to justify the amount of money the team is spending on the defensive line. The defense was 17th in rushing yards allowed and while 3-4 linemen aren’t necessarily supposed to pile up big sack numbers you would like to see them get more than the 5.5 the entire line combined to get last year.

The lineman with the highest potential to become a cap casualty is Carriker. He hasn’t played since the Week 2 of the 2012 season; a couple of setbacks have hampered his recovery from a quad injury. Carriker will be 30 before OTAs are over and perhaps the only decision to be made is whether or not to release him with post-June 1 status.

The team will have to think long and hard about Bowen. He also is about to turn 30 and after starting the first 42 games he was with the team he missed the last six of 2013 with a knee injury. It seems likely that the team will keep him but they may consider the risk of letting him go a year too early to avoid keeping him a year too long. If they re-sign Baker he and Jenkins could be the starting ends.

Despite his high cap number it is unlikely that Cofield will go anywhere. He is about a week older than Bowen and his play did slip last year compared to 2012, the lack of any immediate replacement is likely to keep him in Washington.

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Need to Know: Five pre-training camp questions for Jay Gruden

Need to Know: Five pre-training camp questions for Jay Gruden

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, July 26, one day before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 206 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 46 days.

Today’s schedule: Players report to training camp for physicals and conditioning test. Jay Gruden news conference 2 p.m.

Days until:

—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 15
—Preseason vs. Packers at FedEx Field (8/19) 24
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 38

Five pre-camp questions for Jay Gruden

RICHMOND—The media portion of training camp gets underway on Wednesday as Jay Gruden holds his pre-camp presser at 2 pm at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center (that’s probably the last time I’ll use the full name of the facility).

Here are some questions we will ask of Gruden as he enters his fourth season as the Redskins head coach.

Will Kirk Cousins’ contract situation be a distraction? This must be asked, even though we know that the answer will be no. Yes, Cousins handled a similar situation just fine last year. But a quarterback playing on a second franchise tag is unprecedented. Certainly, Gruden has to guard against things getting out of hand if the season starts to turn sour.

In his fourth training camp, what is he doing now that he wishes he would have done in 2014? One very visible change has been a reduction in the amount of contact that takes place on the field. Will this continue to decline or, give the issues the team had tackling last year, will it ramp up? What used to be the morning practice and afternoon walkthrough were flipped a couple of years ago. Has there been any thought to changing it back?

How has the adjustment process to having so many new coaches gone so far? The Redskins have new coordinators on both sides of the ball and several new position coaches. As happens when any group of co-workers gets added to a workplace, there is an adjustment period. In the NFL, the coaches have to get up to speed with each other in a hurry.

Will Gruden use the season-ending loss to the Giants as a motivational/learning tool or just bury it in the past? It’s a fine line between learning from past mistakes and dwelling on them. While Cousin should make sure that he doesn’t throw another late-game interception like the one he threw in that game, he can’t have it spook him to the point where he can’t pull the trigger on a pass late in a close game. How Gruden handles the 2016 finale could have a major effect on how 2017 unfolds.

After having one of the highest pass ratios in the league, will Gruden look to run the ball more often? Last year, Sean McVay called passes on 62.4 percent of the Redskins’ snaps. The Redskins drafted a fourth-round running back in Samaje Perine and they may team him with starter Rob Kelley and call to keep the ball on the ground a few more times per game.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Is Kirk Cousins the most overrated player in the NFL? One analyst says so

Is Kirk Cousins the most overrated player in the NFL? One analyst says so

Pete Prisco of CBS Sports declared Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins the most overrated player in the NFL. Prisco repeatedly points out that while Cousins is a good quarterback, the notion that he should be paid like one of the best passers in the league is what makes him overrated.

From Prisco:

After having six 300-yard-plus passing games in his first 11 games, including two over 400, Cousins had one in the final five games last season as the Redskins pushed for a playoff spot. He had five touchdown passes and five interceptions in those games, going 2-3 as Washington folded. It wasn't all on him, but that's the point. I don't think he's a quarterback who rises above situations when the team isn't going right. I am not going to sit here and pan him as a starter. He has proven to be that, and a pretty good one. It's just that the perception is he's much better than that, which is why he's my most overrated player in the NFL in 2017.

Here's the problem with Prisco's login: Simple market economics. 

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

An argument can be made Cousins is a Top 10 passer. He's certainly in the top half of the league at the position. Few, if any, would argue Cousins is a Top 5 quarterback, but his contract situation forces him to be paid like he is. Those are the exact terms of the franchise tag, even before the 20 percent increase Washington paid this season to use a second-straight tag.  

Since the Redskins lost their window to sign their single-season passing yards record holder to a team-friendly deal last year, Cousins has leverage and the advantage of inflated QB salaries on his side.

That doesn't mean Cousins is overrated. 

If the threshold for being overrated is money, then Brock Osweiler wins this thing in a landslide. After the 2016 season in Houston, Osweiler seems unlikely to ever again be considered a starting QB in the NFL. He's due to be paid $18 million this fall and his offseason trade to the Browns will go down as the first-ever salary dump in NFL history. 

Is Cousins overpaid? Probably. That's the way contracts work in pro football. 

Is Cousins overrated? Probably not. He's thrown for more than 9,000 yards and completed about 68 percent of his passes over the last two seasons. 

There just aren't enough quarterbacks to go around in the NFL, and guys who can play the position get paid handsomely. That doesn't make Cousins overrated. 

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