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What are the Redskins' options for creating more cap space?

What are the Redskins' options for creating more cap space?

The Redskins don’t have any breathing room under the NFL salary cap and Bruce Allen said that the team needs to create some.

Allen confirmed that the team has around $2 million in cap space remaining and that’s not enough. “Obviously we’re going to have some injuries during the year that will eat that up,” he said. “We’re going to make those adjustments and look at different options after the third preseason game.”

The probably need about another $2 million in cap space to cover players on injured reserve, handle any injury settlements that come along, and to pay their practice squad players. What options does the team have available? There are many ways to skin that cat; here are a few of the possibilities.

The most straightforward way to reduce you salary cap expenditures is to release a high-priced player. The player who seems to be the most likely candidate here is Stephen Bowen. Since it is after June 1, the major portion of unaccounted for bonus money on his contract would not hit the cap until 2015. Releasing Bowen, who has been battling to get off of the PUP list after undergoing microfracture surgery last year, would save $4.4 million in cap space.

Bowen could also be asked to take a reduction in his salary this year. He would have to agree to do so but the team could present options where he either takes a reduction in pay or gets released.

Yes, the NFL can be a cold, hard business. The team could soften the blow by giving Bowen an opportunity to earn back part or all of the amount of his reduction in pay by putting in some incentives.

Bowen is the only player making a significant amount of money who is not in the team’s plans as either a starter or as a top reserve. If they don’t do something with his contract there are other options.

They could also restructure a player’s contract to reduce the cap hit this year while increasing it in future years. Pierre Garçon is a possible candidate here. They could convert some of his $7.1 million salary to signing bonus and spread the cap hit out over the three remaining years on his deal.

The team could also try to negotiate a contract extension with Trent Williams, a move that could possibly reduce his cap hit of nearly $11 million this year. But that might be difficult to get done in the next couple of weeks and the cap savings could be minimal.

Allen and company will figure out a way to get it done but there are no easy choices. Perhaps they will end up creating the space with a series of smaller moves rather than with a dramatic stroke. We should find out in the next few weeks.

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Need to Know: Redskins' Gruden's fate hinges on Manusky, McCloughan

Need to Know: Redskins' Gruden's fate hinges on Manusky, McCloughan

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, January 24, 36 days before the NFL franchise tag deadline.

Timeline

Days until:

NFL free agency starts 44
—NFL Draft 93
First Sunday of 2017 season 229

Gruden's fate rests on Manusky, McCloughan

In his press conference the day after the Redskins lost to the Giants to end their season, Jay Gruden talked about the decision-making process that would unfold if there were changes in the coaching staff.

“Ultimately I would think it is my call – our call,” he said. “Bruce [Allen] will have some input, Dan [Snyder] will have some input, Scot [McCloughan] will have some input, but from a staff standpoint, I like to think I have a lot of pull on that one.”

That doesn’t make it sound like he was completely free to replace the fired Joe Barry and new Rams head coach Sean McVay with whomever he chose. Others could make suggestions and have input and possibly veto power.

The decision to make Greg Manusky the defensive coordinator likely was influenced by and/or had the approval of, McCloughan. Manusky ran the defense in San Francisco when McCloughan was the GM there. McCloughan was instrumental in getting Manusky to come to the Redskins to coach the outside linebackers a year ago, after he was fired as the Colts’ defensive coordinator.

Related: Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Greg Manusky

Having McCloughan’s approval for the hire provides Gruden with some degree of security. If it doesn’t work out, if the Redskins upgrade the talent on defense and still don’t get better results, the heat will be on McCloughan as well as Gruden.

Still, Gruden will be the one in the spotlight this season. When the annual media lists of coaches on the hot season in 2017 come out, Gruden is sure to be atop many of them. It’s simple math, really. In Gruden’s three seasons the team has gone 4-12, 9-7, and 8-7-1. A return to double-digit loss territory would be a regression and there would be legitimate concern over whether Gruden is the guy who can make progress and then maintain it and build on it.

Did Gruden get his first pick for the job? Probably not. It seems that Gus Bradley was the favorite, having built the aggressive Seattle defense and having ties with McCloughan from there and with Gruden and Allen from Tampa Bay. But he decided to head west and take over the Chargers’ defense, perhaps wondering about Gruden’s job security. If Bradley didn’t top the list, then Gruden’s top choice probably was Cincinnati defensive coordinator Paul Guenther. But he is under contract and the Bengals denied permission for him to talk about making a lateral move.

More Redskins: Redskins stay in house

Wade Phillips decided to go to the Rams, who have decidedly better defensive personnel than the Redskins, before he had a chance to meet with Washington. We’re not sure how seriously Gruden pursued Phillips but it’s possible that he would have taken him over Manusky if he had the chance. That means that Manusky was at best Plan C or Plan D.

But that’s water under the bridge. Gruden’s fate now lies in the hands of Manusky and in the hands of McCloughan, who must set out to get the new defensive coordinator a significant talent upgrade. If Gruden gets a better defense and can maintain a top offensive attack (given Kirk Cousins’ contract status, he needs McCloughan’s help there, too) and the Redskins can take the next step he should be expecting to start serious extension talks in 2018.

If the Redskins spin their wheels and end up around .500 again or if they regress and post double-digit losses like they did for five out of six years from 2009-2014 they could be cleaning house and starting over again. That wouldn’t be a good scenario for anyone. The organization is counting on Manusky, who was Plan C, and McCloughan to help Gruden get things on track.

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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.

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The Redskins newest coach has a rap video in his honor

The Redskins newest coach has a rap video in his honor

On Monday morning, the Redskins made several new coaching hires official, including Jim Tomsula as the new defensive line coach.

Tomsula was out of football in 2016 after serving as the 49ers head coach for the 2015 season in which the team finished 5-11.

Despite struggling as a head coach, Tomsula gained an odd, if not heavy cult following. It made little sense considering he has the look and demeanor of someone who was put on this earth to coach football and coach football only. But through the glories of the internet came this:

The Jimmy Tomsula rap song.

RELATED: MOST IMPORTANT REDSKINS' FREE AGENTS

It's just a demo, and I suppose the full version could be out there somewhere since this song is over a year old. But there's something hypnotizing about 60 consecutive seconds of "Open up my shirt like im Jimmy Tom-Sula."

How long before we begin hearing this song at FedEx Field on Sundays?