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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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Redskins Playbook: 5 forgotten names to remember for training camp

Redskins Playbook: 5 forgotten names to remember for training camp

When the Redskins open training camp in Richmond on Thursday, fans will line up to get autographs from Kirk Cousins, Josh Norman and Jordan Reed. Plenty of other players will excite the fans too as optimism rules the first few days of practice in July and August. 

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

There are other players that fans probably won't scream their names, but who could play a role or fight for a roster spot this fall. Winning in the NFL is almost nearly as dependent on the final 10 players on the roster as it is the first five. Depth is key, and here are a few players that fans might have forgotten about. 

  • RB Keith Marshall - The speedster out of Georgia has a wildly impressive resume - on paper - but just can't stay healthy. In college he started ahead of Todd Gurley for a time, now considered one of the best RBs in the NFL for the Rams. Marshall landed on the injured reserve last year as a rookie but looked healthy and capable at Redskins Park this offseason during OTAs and minicamp. The running back position looks quite full, but if Marshall can show his elite speed and make it through four preseason games, he just might push Mack Brown for a roster spot. 
  • LB Martrell Spaight - A tackling machine in college at Arkansas, Spaight missed most of his rookie season in 2015 before appearing in 14 games last season. Bad luck struck again, and he finished the year on the IR. With the addition of Zach Brown to the interior linebackers, Spaight might have a tough battle for a roster spot. Will Compton, Mason Foster and Brown all seem certain to make the team. Spaight could also start the year on the PUP list, which might be the surest way to stay on the Redskins.
  • LB Chris Carter - A journeyman that has played for six teams in six years, Carter looks poised to play the special teams role that Terence Garvin took on last year. If Carter makes the roster, that means trouble for Spaight. 
  • DL Anthony Lanier - An undrafted rookie in 2016 that didn't see much game action, Lanier has really impressed coaches with his work ethic this offseason. He has great size at 6-foot-6 and added about 20 pounds of muscle since the season ended, which should allow him the strength to handle the trenches. Lanier could be a sneaky important player this fall for Washington. 
  • S Will Blackmon - D.J. Swearinger and Su'a Cravens look to be the starting safeties for the Redskins in 2017. Swearinger has a proven track record in the NFL secondary, Cravens does not, but showed the ability to do so in college at USC. After those two, and with DeAngelo Hall on the PUP list, the Redskins lack much depth or experience in the defensive backfield. That's where Blackmon should help. A versatile veteran, Blackmon has the speed to keep up with most wideouts and is one of the more cerebral players on the defense. 

Bonus: RB Matt Jones - He might want off the Redskins roster, but that hasn't happened yet. If the team sustains any injuries at the running back position, Jones' fortunes could change quickly. 

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Need to Know: Redskins pre-camp 53-man roster projection, defense

Need to Know: Redskins pre-camp 53-man roster projection, defense

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, July 25, two days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 205 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 47 days.

Days until:

—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 16
—Preseason vs. Packers at FedEx Field (8/19) 25
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 40

Redskins roster projection—Defense

RICHMOND—The Redskins strap it up and start the battle for roster spots in earnest in just three days. Some are locks, others are hoping to hang on. Here is my prediction of the roster will shake out along with players who are on the bubble. The defense is up here, the offense went up yesterday.  

Players I have making the roster who are new to the organization in 2017 are in italics. Rookies are also in bold.

Defensive line (6)

Starters: Jonathan Allen, Terrell McClain, Joey Mbu (NT)
Backups: Stacy McGee, Anthony Lanier, Ziggy Hood

Bubble: Phil Taylor, Matt Ioannidis, A. J. Francis

It appears everybody is getting on the Mbu train so I might as well jump on, at least for the time being. But this area is very much in flux. It would not be a surprise to see any of the bubble players make it.

Inside linebacker (4)

Starters: Will Compton, Zach Brown
Backups: Mason Foster, Martrell Spaight

Bubble: Zach Vigil, Chris Carter

This is another area where the coaches did not tip their hands during the offseason program. Any combination of Brown, Compton, and Foster could start. In fact, you can’t rule out a long shot move by Spaight to get some significant playing time. Should they keep a fifth for special teams, a door could open for Vigil or Carter.

Outside linebackers (4)

Starters: Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith
Backups: Ryan Anderson, Junior Galette

Bubble: Houston Bates

Trent Murphy is suspended for the first four games so a tough numbers decision is put off until Week 5. Bates is going to start camp on the PUP list but if he gets on the field quickly and Galette falters, he could steal a roster spot.

Cornerbacks (5)

Starters: Josh Norman, Bashaud Breeland
Backups: Kendall Fuller, Quinton Dunbar, Josh Holsey

Bubble: Fabian Moreau, Dashawn Phillips

Moreau is only on the bubble because he is likely to start camp on the NFI list (non-football injury). The third-round pick will be on the 53 eventually but perhaps not until midseason as he continues to rehab a torn pectoral muscle. That could open the door for Holsey, a seventh-round pick. Even if Moreau is healthy for Week 1, Holsey or Phillips could be kept as the sixth cornerback.

Safety (6)

Starters: D.J. Swearinger, Su’a Cravens

Backups: DeAngelo Hall, Will Blackmon, Deshazor Everett, Montae Nicholson

Bubble: Josh Evans

Evans could get a spot if they decide that Nicholson, a fourth-round pick who is athletic but raw, isn’t ready yet. Everett is likely to be a lock because of his special teams play but an injury at this position or at cornerback could push him off the 53

Specialists (3)

LS Nick Sundberg, K Dustin Hopkins, P Tress Way

With no challengers, there is no bubble here. Both Way and Hopkins need to bounce back from sub standard 2016 performances.

Defensive breakdown: 25 players, four rookies, a total of eight new to the organization.

Full roster breakdown: 25 offense, 25 defense, three specialists. Eight rookies, A total of 13 players new to the Redskins.

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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