When I looked at the Redskins projected 2014 Salary Cap situation last week I noted that three key players were under contract, but the Redskins were able to void their deals. Those players are WR Josh Morgan, ILB London Fletcher and S Brandon Meriweather. The good news is that by voiding these contracts the Redskins will free up quite a bit more of cap space for next year, but the downside is they will pay significant dead cap penalties, and need to fill three more places. Here is a look at how voiding these contracts will impact the Redskins:
Cap numbers courtesy of Overthecap.com
Current Price: $10.1 million
Dead Cap hit: $3.771 million
Savings Difference: $6.329 million
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If Leonard Hankerson continues to develop the impact of getting rid of Morgan is definitely lessened, but it isn’t totally negated. Morgan is a strong blocker for the run game and a consistent possession receiver. While he’s grossly overpaid the Redskins will miss him, particularly with Santana Moss as a free agent as well. Now it’s a no brainer to void the contract, but the Redskins should definitely gauge his interest on coming back (or extending him) on a 2 or 3 year deal that averages out at $2 million a year. Not only would this help cheaply fill a hole on the team, but by extending him the Redskins could spread out that dead cap hit over two or three years. For example if the Redskins sign him to a new 3 year $6 million deal, they could structure it with $1 million in the first year, and spread this Cap hit over those three years, thereby reducing his 2014 cap hit to $2.257 million, saving the team $1.5 million next year.
Current Price: $6.2 million
Dead Cap hit: $2.1 million
Savings Difference: $4.1 million
Whether it is due to Fletcher retiring or the Redskins just moving on, this is a move that has to happen. His play has deteriorated way too far for him to get anywhere close to this kind of money. His value on the open market would probably be league minimum, so if there is any talk of bringing him back, that is what it should be at. While it won’t change the idea to void this deal, with Fletcher gone that would mean the top four ILB’s this year (Riley, Fletcher, Barnett and Kehl) would all be free agents next year.
Current Price: $3.4 million
Dead Cap Hit: $1.2 million
Savings Difference: $2.2 million
Well this would put a lot of pressure on Phillip Thomas and Bacarri Rambo to step up next year, because this would make the Redskins even thinner at safety. That being said this is definitely the right move. Numerous veteran safeties many more accomplished and with less baggage than Meriweather signed for well less than $3.4 million a year, and many of them signed for less than the $2.2 million in savings. The team could also combined this savings with their other cap room and go sign a bigger name to actually fix the position. Given all the injury issues and drama Meriweather has caused it is unlikely we will see him back in a Redskins uniform next year at any price.
Total Savings: $12.629 million
Total Dead Cap hit: $7.071 million
New Cap Number: $89.986 million for 36 players
It’s good to free up this much money, but you hate seeing $7 million in dead money (there will be additional dead money on top of that) right off the bat. While all these moves needed to be made it is replacing three starters, they might not have been top starters, but you aren’t going to replace them with undrafted free agents, so it will cost a chunk of that savings. Assuming that the cap is around $127 million this year, the Redskins would have $37 million to spend and that is before any additional cuts. Now it can’t be a total spending spree, because the Redskins currently are without 3 starting linebackers, 2 of their top four receivers, and depending on the development of Thomas and Rambo, 4 of the Redskins top 5 defensive backs. That is before any resources would be used to upgrade the defensive or offensive lines. The Redskins are definitely poised to be in a good position next year, but they still have to be extremely smart in their approach.