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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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3 reasons why Redskins promoting Matt Cavanaugh to offensive coordinator makes sense

3 reasons why Redskins promoting Matt Cavanaugh to offensive coordinator makes sense

Championship Sunday produced a flurry of Redskins news. A pair of internal promotions erased the team's vacant coordinator positions, as Greg Manusky landed the defensive coordinator spot and Matt Cavanaugh will take over as offensive coordinator. When Sean McVay left to coach the Rams, many expected Cavanaugh to take over his spot. Here are three reasons why:

  1. If it ain't broke, don't fix it - There was plenty to criticize from the Redskins the last two seasons, but not much of it came on offense. Cavanaugh joined the organization in 2015 as quarterback coach, and the offense has consistently improved in those two seasons. Though the team struggled to score TDs in the Red Zone, the 2016 version of the Redskins moved the ball at a team-record clip and ranked among the top offensive teams in NFL yardage. When something is working as well as the 'Skins offense, it's not wise to change it dramatically.
  2. Impressive work - Cavanaugh began coaching QBs for the Redskins in 2015. Kirk Cousins took over as Redskins starting quarterback in 2015. In two years working together, Cousins twice broke the Redskins franchise passing record and is now poised to get a mega-contract in free agency. Talking after the 'Skins loss to the Giants earlier this month, Jay Gruden said, "I think [Cousins'] really improved his game a lot in the last couple years. And a lot of it has to do with Matt Cavanaugh and Sean McVay."
  3. Make the call - The biggest question remaining for the Redskins - outside of the HUGE unknown surrounding Cousins - will be about play calling. All indications are that Jay Gruden will return to calling the plays from the Washington sideline, and obviously, that's a situation Cavanaugh understands. For two seasons now, Cavanaugh along with McVay, Gruden and offensive line coach Bill Callahan have had input on play calling. With McVay gone, Cavanaugh and Callahan will likely contribute even more in support of Gruden. 

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

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Poll: What is your approval rating for the Manusky hire?

Poll: What is your approval rating for the Manusky hire?

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