It looks like for the most part the Redskins will survive their cap penalty in 2012, but that shouldn’t be too surprising as the Redskins headed into the offseason with a large chunk of cap room. All they lost this offseason was a portion of their cap space. Next season though could be a different story and I wanted to look and see what the Redskins cap situation looked like next year. Now I complied these numbers using various sources (thehogs.net, thewarpath.net, Rotoworld, Spotrac), but on a number of players there would be a discrepancy for the 2013 cap number. In those situations I tried to find the most likely number given all the information, but invariably some of these numbers are going to be a little off. I attempted to balance out going on the low side on some figures, with going on the high side with others, in the hopes that it kept the final number as close as possible. To be safe, I’d say there should be a plus or minus of at least $3 million.
What does this roster mean?:
As you will see I only focused on players under contract for 2013, and only included guys who I think have a chance to be on that team. That is not to say I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that a Lennon Creer will be one of the running backs in 2013, but rather that there is at least a chance given the lack of other more established running backs. I also looked to ensure that I wasn’t overstocking particular positions as I wanted to maintain a realistic roster structure. Now I didn’t want to dig too deep (especially since many of the bottom spots at various positions would be up for grabs), so I only included 44 offensive and defensive players.
Finally, as I mentioned earlier I only looked at players under contract, meaning starters or significant contributors like Fred Davis, Darryl Young, Kory Lichtensteiger, Jonathan Goff, Cedric Griffin, Tanard Jackson etc. aren’t included. While I’d expect some to be targets to be re-signed, the team will obviously have to make room (note: this is especially important if the team were to look to franchise Davis again).
Currently the Redskins don’t have a kicker, punter or long snapper under contract for next season. While Washington will probably spend a little money on these positions, I’ll factor in just $1 million. The $1 million is for either the kicker or punter, and to make it easier I’ll say that the other two special teams positions are the 52nd and 53rd salaries on the roster, since just the top 51 players count towards the cap.
Grand Total: $116.157 million for just 45 players, if you figure that the other 6 players that will count against the cap make $500k apiece that adds another $3 million, making it $119.157 million. That number too is soft, as those 6 players are basically at minimum salaries, assuming the Redskins keep and use their 2nd, 3rd and 4th round picks next year (and those three players make the team over three of these minimal fill-ins) you would add an additional $1 million + to the total.
The cap for 2013 isn’t set yet, but the early reports indicate that it isn’t expected to raise much next season. Given that I wouldn’t expect more than a $2-3 million raise (which could even be optimistic), putting the cap no higher than $123 million next season. If you subtract $18 million from that total, the Redskins would be over $14 million (at least) above their projected cap ($105 million), and that is with allowing Fred Davis to walk, and not bringing in any free agents.
Well the Redskins will have to cut/restructure quite a few contracts to get under their cap, and to have flexibility to add to the team. Players like Santana Moss, Chris Cooley, Jammal Brown, Adam Carriker, DeAngelo Hall and Brandon Merriweather can all be cut given their high price tags and production that doesn’t match the cost. The problem is that the way some of these contracts were structured, the release fee will mitigate a fair amount of the savings. Now you can get around the release fee somewhat by designating players as June 1st cuts, but that only pushes part of the hit to the 2014 cap, at a time when the team will need to extend guys like Orakpo, J. Wilson and Riley.
The other concern is that while these players are overpaid based on their production, they are all at fairly thin positions (outside of Moss) in terms of depth. So if you cut a guy like Hall, you will need to use a portion of that money to sign at least 1 cornerback (and possibly two). Now obviously those cuts still need to be made, but the point is you aren’t saving all of that money that you might think.
The Redskins are going to have to make some tough decisions, and will likely be forced to rely on a number of minimum salary players to fill out their roster and play key roles on the team.