I’m not suggesting that all of these players be released; just trying to give a fairly full accounting of anyone who could be cut that would save the Redskins some money. Fletcher isn’t a candidate for release, but would have the same cap savings if he were to retire.
Some of these players could maybe be signed to extensions (more on them later), but I wanted to give a perspective on the difference between cutting a guy and extending him.
To me Hall has to be released given the high cap number and the fact that there is almost no cap penalty. Cutting Hall saves about as much as cutting any two other players, and it also gets his $9 million dollar 2014 salary off the books to help clean up next year’s cap. Jammal Brown’s contract is being voided so that decision has already been made, but the other decisions aren’t so easy.
Santana Moss and Josh Morgan both had productive seasons and seemed to be in sync with Robert Griffin III. Moss has the added advantage of being the only guy who really worked in the slot this past season for a significant amount of time. Both are seen as team leaders and with both in the final year of the contract it may not make sense to eat the dead cap for their loss of production. It’s possible that one could be released given how many resources are spent on the receiver position compared to how often the Redskins throw, but it isn’t a lock.
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Josh Wilson should stay around given that he’s not overpaid, and with Hall’s impending release the corner position is incredibly thin. Wilson has given the Skins two good seasons so far, and there is no reason why he shouldn’t give them a third.
Adam Carriker is more likely to be released than kept in my book. Not only would it save $2.500 million against this year’s cap, but it would save $6.750 in cap space each of the next two seasons. The fact that Jarvis Jenkins filled in pretty well for Carriker, also makes this decision easier. Also, it should be noted that Carriker’s spot is the first one subbed out on passing downs, making him more of a role player than a full time guy. That makes it a lot harder to justify paying Carriker good starting money.
The safety spot is another interesting situation. Given the small difference in savings, you would think that Reed Doughty would be automatically cut, but it might not be that easy. Brandon Meriweather is coming off a major mid-season knee injury and he’s had his share of on and off the field issues. Doughty on the other hand is a leader, and a core special teamer. If the Redskins find a starting caliber SS in either free agency or the draft then I think Meriweather will be released. If they don’t then Doughty is probably more likely to be cut. Either way though I don’t think the Redskins will release one of them until after signing/drafting someone.
One final thing to remember with cutting these players is that they will need to be replaced on the roster by at least a rookie minimum guy (i.e. UDFA) for $0.405 million per spot. Obviously the team could go with a guy who makes more than that as well. I’m not factoring that in just yet given that we don’t know how it will be allotted. For example in yesterday’s exercise of tendering restricted free agents and re-signing veterans, some players (Aldrick Robinson, Tom Compton etc.) who make more than the rookie minimum no longer counted to the Rule of 51 after the re-signings. But if a couple guys are cut they now count again in regards to the cap, and the UDFA guy doesn’t. While I’m not accounting for it just yet, it is something that should be taken into account when determining whether to cut a guy versus extending him and restructuring the contract.
The Redskins need to free up $16.6 million through cuts and restructures just to get under the cap, sign their unrestricted free agents and extend offers to their restricted free agents. They also are going to want to free up some additional room to sign some moderate free agents as upgrades.
Fletcher is a big x-factor here, but right now I’m thinking that he comes back. Cutting Hall, Carriker and Bown will save the Redskins $12.05 million putting them well on their way to getting where they need to be.
Moss could be a candidate to be extended (breakdown in part two), but it also wouldn’t shock me if he ended up being cut. Moss expressed some frustration over his lack of snaps, particularly when Garcon was out, and he might not want to stick around if he doesn’t feel he’s been given the chances to succeed. If he doesn’t extend, then I think he will get released as well, saving an additional $4.5 million.