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Salary cap review: Redskins have flexibility on offensive line

Salary cap review: Redskins have flexibility on offensive line

Salary cap review: Offensive line

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. Earlier we looked at wide receivers.

The Redskins currently have 11 offensive linemen under contract.

Name Base salary Cap number
Trent Williams $7,250,000 $10,985,198
Chris Chester $3,000,000 $4,300,000
Will Montgomery $2,625,000 $3,425,000
Kory Lichtensteiger $2,500,000 $3,300,000
Tyler Polumbus $1,000,000 $1,100,000
Josh LeRibeus $590,000 $764,081
Maurice Hurt $645,000 $645,000
Adam Gettis $570,000 $620,493
Tom Compton $570,000 $570,000
Kevin Kowalski $495,000 $495,000
Tevita Stevens $495,000 $495,000
$19,740,000 $26,699,772

—Williams has the highest cap number on the team. He was the fourth pick in the 2010 draft, the last one before the 2011 CBA put a lid on windfalls for top-10 picks. Fortunately for the Redskins he still represents a good value; about $11 million is the going rate for a Pro Bowl left tackle. The deal has one year left to run ($14.2 million cap number in 2015).

—Counting all of the linemen under contract, the Redskins’ total cap expenditure of $26.7 million on the offensive line ranks fifth in the NFL.

—The high expenditure on the line is due in part to Williams’ contract. The fact that under Mike Shanahan the team was unable to draft an offensive lineman who can start besides Williams is another major factor here. Considering that his zone-blocking scheme is supposed to be able to make starters out of lower-round picks, this has to be considered a major failure of Shanahan’s time here.

Adding and subtracting

Williams isn’t going anywhere. But the futures of Chester, Montgomery, Lichtensteiger, and Polumbus, who have played virtually every snap the last two years, could well depend on how Jay Gruden and Sean McVay judge their performances on film and if they are going to make any major changes to their basic blocking scheme.

The good news for the Redskins is that they will be dealing from a position of strength here. None of the four 2013 starters has a salary cap number that is unreasonably high so they can afford to keep any of them they want to. At the same time, the cap hit for releasing any of them should the team want to do so is also very manageable.

Here are the 2013 dead money totals and net cap hits for releasing those players:

Name Dead Money Cap savings
Chris Chester $1,600,000 $2,700,000
Will Montgomery $1,500,000 $1,925,000
Kory Lichtensteiger $2,200,000 $1,100,000
Tyler Polumbus $100,000 $1,000,000

This shows that the Redskins have a great deal of flexibility. They probably don’t want to keep any of the four as a backup with the exception of Polumbus (considering strictly salary cap factors here). If they bring in a relatively high-dollar player, somebody is probably going to have to go. But if they want to bring in competition from the draft or to let the veterans battle for their jobs with players who are already on the roster such as Compton, Gettis, or LeRibeus, their $29 million in cap room allows them to do so. They could choose to hold on to any of them and then make a move whenever they decide the time is right.

If the Redskins decide to stand pat on the line, they will be in good shape there, too. Polumbus is a free agent at the end of this season while all of the other linemen on the roster are under team control through 2015.

So, what are the Redskins going to do on the offensive line this offseason? Whatever they want to.

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The Final Countdown: Redskins 8th worst play came from a big hit in Arizona

The Final Countdown: Redskins 8th worst play came from a big hit in Arizona

As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and, to present a more complete picture of the season, the 10 worst.

No. 8 worst play of 2016

Redskins at Cardinals Week 13

5:13 left in Q3, Redskins ball 2nd and 8 at their own 29, Redskins leading 13-10

Kirk Cousins sacked at WAS 36 for -9 yards (Calais Campbell). FUMBLES (Calais Campbell) [Calais Campbell], RECOVERED by ARZ- Markus Golden at WAS 30. Markus Golden to WAS 10 for 20 yards (Chris Thompson).

Related: Projecting the Redskins' roster--defense

Tandler: The Redskins had survived a rocky start and they were in position to take control of the game after the Cardinals missed a long field goal attempt. But the situation turned abruptly when Campbell blew over guard Shawn Lauvao and hit Cousins, sending the ball flying. Golden scooped it up and returned it to the 10. Three plays later Carson Palmer threw a six-yard touchdown pass to Michael Floyd. That was the beginning of the end of the Redskins’ chances to get a road win that they desperately had to have.

More Redskins: An early look at first-round draft possibilities

Finlay: When the Cowboys opened the game by marching right down the field against the Redskins on Thanksgiving, nobody blinked, as Dallas' offense had been superb all season. When Arizona did the same thing the following week, there was reason for concern. The 'Skins were able to stem the Cards early, and even took a lead, before Campbell bull-rushed his way into the Washington backfield and blasted Cousins. The Cardinals defensive line was hitting Cousins all game, and this play almost seemed inevitable. It would later come out Lauvao was playing through injury, but bigger picture, the Cardinals loss was the first game the 'Skins truly needed and the team couldn't win. The loss dropped Jay Gruden's squad out of a playoff spot, and though the team would eventually inch their way back into contention, in hindsight, losing in Arizona was the first real indicator that the 2016 Redskins would not make the postseason. 

10 best plays countdown

10 worst plays countdown

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Dennis Thurman

Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Dennis Thurman

The Redskins are set to interview Dennis Thurman for their vacant offensive coordinator position. Here is a look at Thurman’s qualifications for the job.

Before becoming a coordinator: Thurman played in the NFL for the Cowboys from 1978-1985. Redskins fans may best remember him for trying to break up the “Fun Bunch” celebration in a 1983 game. He played for the Cardinals the last season of his career. He coached the secondary for the Cardinals for two years before going to USC and holding the same job there from 1993-2000. Thurman then returned to the NFL as a Ravens defensive assistant and secondary coach. He moved to the Jets to coach the secondary there before getting promoted to defensive coordinator in 2012.

Related: Projecting the Redskins' roster--defense

Note: If you want more complete stats on Thurman’s defenses check out his page on Pro Football Reference. DVOA stats via Football Outsiders. A negative DVOA percentage is better than a positive number. Zero is average.

For players, * designates Pro Bowl selection, + designates first-team All-Pro

2013 Jets (8-8)

Rankings: Yards 5,359 (11th), points 387 (19th), takeaways 15 (31st), 3rd down 38.8% (13th), DVOA -5.6% (12th)
Notable players: DE Muhammad Wilkerson, CB Antonio Cromartie*, S Ed Reed

The Jets traded away their best defender, Darrelle Revis, during the offseason. Wilkerson led a good pass rush as he racked up 10.5 sacks and LB Calvin Pace had 10. It should be noted that head coach Rex Ryan is a defensive-minded head coach and he certainly had influence in what went right and what went wrong on that side of the ball.

2014 Jets (4-12)

Rankings: Yards 5,235 (6th), points 401 (24th), takeaways 13 (32nd), 3rd down 45.2% (30th), DVOA 3.5% (21st)
Notable players: DT Sheldon Richardson*, DE Quinton Cooples

If you want to know how a team can finish in the top six in yards and in the bottom 10 in points allowed just look at the lack of takeaways and the porous third-down defense. An offense with Geno Smith at quarterback couldn’t keep thinks afloat and Thurman was fired along with Ryan after the season.

More Redskins: Setting the odds on what will happen with Cousins

2015 Bills (8-8)

Rankings: Yards 5,702 (19th), points 359 (15th), takeaways 25 (12th), 3rd down 40.5%, DVOA 8.6% (24th)
Notable players: DE Mario Williams, DE Jerry Hughes

Ryan and Thurman both moved to upstate New York when they were hired by the Bills. This unit ranked fourth in both yards and points the year before Ryan and Thurman arrived and they obviously didn’t maintain that. It didn’t help that 2014 first-team All-Pro Marcell Dareus got into some legal trouble during the offseason and his production plummeted from 10 sacks in 2014 to two.

2016 Bills (7-9)

Rankings: Yards 5,712 (19th), points 378 (16th), takeaways 18 (23rd), 3rd down 40.0%, DVOA 8.0 (26th)
Notable players: LB Lorenzo Alexander*, CB Stephon Gilmore

Former Redskin Alexander had a good year, racking up 12 sacks and making the Pro Bowl but there wasn’t much else to talk about on defense. They essentially spun their wheels and Ryan was fired with a game left and Thurman soon followed him out the door.

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