Now that the 2012 roster was set and with the release of Chris Cooley I wanted to look at where the Redskins stood against the salary cap in 2013. I will take into account every salary of a player under contract for 2013 (on the current 53 man roster), any dead cap money owed, the cap penalty, and the projected cap credits for next year. Given the injury status of Jammal Brown, I decided to not count him as I believe he will be released (his dead cap charge will be counted though. Though i researched using a number of sources (thehogs.net, thewarpath.net, Rotoworld, Spotrac), for uniformity I went with Spotrac since they give some very good breakdowns and have a pretty good standing for accuracy. There are still some discrepancies, but it should be noted that some compared to other sites are lower, so it probably evens out for the most part. To be safe, I’d say there should be a plus or minus of at least $3 million against my salary cap projection.
What does this roster mean?:
As you will see I only focused on players under contract for 2013, and didn’t include any potential restricted free agents or unrestricted free agents. Meaning starters or significant contributors like Fred Davis, Darryl Young, Kory Lichtensteiger, Cedric Griffin, Madieu Williams, Lorenzo Alexander, Sav Rocca 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 salary cap.
Grand Total: $100.79 million for just 34 players ($101.79 and 35 if we add in the special teamer). If you estimate a bare minimum of $500K for the 16 remaining spots (of the 51 that count vs the cap), you add another $8 million, for a total of $109.79. That number too is soft, as those 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. Not to mention if say any of the Redskins restricted free agents (Darrel Young, Logan Paulsen, Brandon Banks, etc.) are offered tender offers, their individual amounts would all exceed over a $1 million.
Cap Credit versus Dead Cap:
One benefit of the new system is that you can carry over any excess cap room from one year to the next. Currently the Redskins are $7.5 million under the cap, now that number could dip a bit as they might need to sign some players throughout the season. Let’s assume $7 million makes it to next season. The Redskins are already going to face a cap hit of $1.83 million for Chris Cooley next year and another $3.3 million (again there are some discrepancies with this number and it could be higher) for releasing Jammal Brown as I assume they will. So the $7 million, is now down to $1.87 million. Of course if anyone else is released the cap bonus would fall even further.
Where do the Redskins Stand: The salary cap is projected to be $121 million next year, adding in the $1.87 carry over, gives the Skins a cap number of $122.87. When you subtract the $18 million cap penalty, the Redskins available cap for next season is just $104.87. Which means the Redskins wouldn’t even have enough money to fill out their roster with minimum salary players, much less tender contracts to restricted free agents.
The Redskins would be forced to cut or restructure a number of contracts to get below the cap to allow them to draft and fill out a roster. The problem with that is restructuring deals would only push more money into future years, and releasing players would create some dead cap charges, while weakening an already thin roster. The Redskins will have no choice but to do this, but it isn’t an ideal situation.