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The Redskins aren't spending enough on player salaries--wait, what?

The Redskins aren't spending enough on player salaries--wait, what?

Stop the presses (or unplug the Internet, or whatever the 2015 equivalent of that expression is). The Redskins are not spending enough cash on player salaries.

According to numbers provided by the NFL Players Association, the Redskins are among 10 NFL teams that are currently spending at a rate that is under the minimum amount of cash that they need to spend on player salaries from 2013-2016. All NFL teams are required to spend at least 89 percent of the cap in cash over that four-year span. After two years, the Redskins have spent 87 percent.

But wait, you say. The Redskins barely scraped by on the cap in each of the last two years. In 2013 they actually ended up in the red due to some bonuses that players earned. Last year they had to restructure a contract late in the year to push a relatively small amount of money into future years to barely get by under the 2014 cap. How can they possibly have spent more money?

The key to understanding this is that the requirement involves cash expenditures, essentially new money. For example, in 2013 and 2014 the Redskins had over $6.9 million in cap charges due to Robert Griffin’s prorated signing bonus. But since the money was paid to Griffin when he signed his contract in 2012, the money does not count towards the cash requirement.

Add in signing bonus charges paid prior to 2013 to players like Trent Williams, Pierre Garçon, Barry Cofield, and others and it adds up to a lot of cap room being consumed by money already paid out and not quite enough left to spend in cash.

The good news here is that this is not a huge issue for the Redskins. The two percent that they are behind in cash spending represents only about $5 million and they have two years to make it up. It should not be difficult.

So the Redskins don’t have to go on a major free agent spending spree or anything in order to make up the shortfall. Some teams like the Raiders, who are $40 million behind the cash spending pace, will be forced to be aggressive.

In fact, the Redskins don’t have to bring in a single free agent. They could invest some signing bonus money in some of their own players like Williams and Ryan Kerrigan and easily get into compliance.

If for some reason the Redskins don’t get up to the cash minimum by the end of 2016 the penalty is not that severe. They would simply have to cut a check for the difference between the requirement and the amount of cash they laid out and hand it over to the NFLPA. The union will distribute it to current and former members of the team.

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Need to Know: Washington Redskins free agency needs—Offense

Need to Know: Washington Redskins free agency needs—Offense

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, February 23, 14 days before the March 9 start of NFL free agency.  

Timeline

Days until:

—NFL Franchise tag deadline (3/1) 6
—NFL Combine (3/2) 7
—Redskins offseason workouts start (4/17) 53
—NFL Draft (4/27) 63
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 199

Free agent moves—Offense

Free agency starts two weeks from today. The Redskins have plenty of needs, both big and small. Let’s take a look around and see what offensive positions they might be looking to bolster when things get going. I’ll follow up with the defense in the next few days.

Quarterback—It could be a yawner at this position or there could be plenty of drama. If Kirk Cousins gets franchise tagged or defies current expectations and signs a long-term deal, the depth chart will remain the same. If he is gone via a trade, things could be shaken up. While they may draft a QB in late April they could go for a mid-priced veteran as insurance.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 3.0

Running back—The Redskins have a depth chart loaded with young, unproven talent at this position. If they want a veteran presence in the meeting room they could look at someone like Robert Turbin (McCloughan had a hand in drafting him in Seattle in 2012) or maybe Knile Davis.

Wide receiver—Things will get very interesting if the word on the street comes to pass and both Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson are gone. They have a presumably healthy Josh Doctson in line to replace one but they would need a veteran. Maybe Kenny Stills or Kenny Britt, both young and productive, could be under consideration. If one of the veterans stays they likely will get depth in the draft.

More Redskins: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice for his own good?

Tight end—Vernon Davis seems likely to be back. If he’s not, the Redskins probably would rather have an alternative to Niles Paul as Jordan Reed’s primary backup. The probably won’t swim in the deep end of the pool with Martellus Bennett and Jared Cook. But maybe they will look at Jermaine Gresham, who made the Pro Bowl twice in Cincinnati while Jay Gruden was the Bengals’ offensive coordinator.

Offensive line—Yesterday, JP and I discussed what they might do at left guard if they want to upgrade from Shawn Lauvao. Perhaps they could go for Kevin Zeitler, another Bengal who played under Gruden. But he will command a contract in the $8-$10 million range and with Brandon Scherff coming up for an extension next year that might be too much to spend at the guard position. Look for the Redskins to take an eventual Lauvao replacement in the draft.

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In case you missed it

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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If Redskins trade Kirk Cousins to 49ers, 5 prospects to consider with No. 2 pick

If Redskins trade Kirk Cousins to 49ers, 5 prospects to consider with No. 2 pick

It still seems like a long-shot the Redskins trade Kirk Cousins, but if there is one persistent rumor, it's that the San Francisco 49ers want the Washington passer. The story is too familiar at this point: New Niners coach Kyle Shanahan was in D.C. when Cousins was drafted and wants the quarterback to come run his offense in San Francisco. With the second overall pick, the 49ers have a tremendous asset they can dangle in trade talks.

<<<CLICK HERE TO SEE 5 PROSPECTS FOR THE REDSKINS AT NO. 2 PICK>>>

Whether or not any of this rumor is true, it sure makes for engrossing speculation. With the NFL Draft Combine next week in Indianapolis, NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah said he wouldn't be shocked to see the trade go down.

That's the backdrop. Beyond the debate of the merits of trading an established QB like Cousins, which is a very serious debate, there's also the notion of what player the 'Skins would select with the second overall pick.  

MORE REDSKINS: 2017 top heavy Cap could be a problem

It's worth examining the impact players available to Washington with the second selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, and the options are varied, including perhaps a new QB. Check it out. 

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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