With the salary cap figuring to be around $123 million in 2014 the Redskins project to have $45 million available to spend next year. While that seems like quite a bit the Redskins might not want to plan their shopping spree just yet. They have to fit 24 salaried players under the Rule of 51 (top 51 contracts), and many of which are starters or significant contributors. Among the players currently under contract the Redskins are lacking the following positions:
Now it is true that some of these starting or significant contributing positions will be filled by current back-ups or draft picks over the next two years (which could cost a upwards of $9 million to have both of those classes under contract), but many of those other positions will need significant resources spent on them to be filled. Re-signing guys like Brian Orakpo, Perry Riley and Josh Wilson alone could account for between $15-20 million.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the Redskins will need to shift money from 2013 to 2014, in my most recent salary cap breakdown, I had the Redskins pushing $5.19 million into the 2014 cap year. Also I highlighted how extending guys like Josh Morgan, Santana Moss, Josh Wilson, and Brian Orakpo could save money in 2013. If those four players were all to be extended it would push an additional $3 million into 2014 before you even account for any of their actual salaries. The other issue is that I used a moderate restructuring approach, spreading out the money in a way that wouldn’t make any of those players cost prohibitive or force too much guaranteed money for any one player. I was able to do that based on a premise that the Redskins would get much of their cap savings from the release of CB DeAngelo Hall and Adam Carriker. If the Redskins were to keep one or both (even re-signing Hall at a reduced rate will make it tough), they would need to push additional money from either restructures or new contracts into 2014. On the other hand if they were to cut Hall and Carriker before the 2013 they would be in a far better position for 2014.
Combined Hall and Carriker are set to count for $15.75 million against the cap in 2014, meaning if the Redskins cut them this offseason, they drop their cap commitments to $61.997 (for 25 players). That money is almost like getting an additional cap penalty back (though this one was self inflicted with bad contracts). That would essentially give them half the salary cap to fill half the roster, which is far better than trying to fill basically half the roster with just 37% of the cap space remaining, like the Redskins situation currently sits. Another advantage with releasing these players this year is, it could allow the Redskins to not push so much money forward, or they could spend under the salary cap and have a cap credit applied to next season.
The Redskins are poised to have some comfort under the cap in 2014, but if they need to push too much money forward and don’t release some of their bigger contracts, it won’t be a good situation. If the Redskins show fiscal responsibility in 2013 and don’t over-commit to future years, as well as cut some players with big contracts they could set the table to have a windfall in 2014 that allows them to add the pieces they need for a serious Super Bowl run.