How the Redskins Can Add Talent in Free Agency?
The Washington Redskins face some new realities with the cap penalties and the recent trade for the 2nd overall pick, but that doesn’t mean they can’t still find a way to build a highly competitive team capable of contending in the near future.
The loss of draft picks combined with the loss of money makes things harder, but not impossible. And if the Redskins take the proper approach, they can still come out on top. There will be some tough decisions to be made and some cap maneuvering to be done, but that is what the Redskins have to do.
Now it is important to realize that the cap can’t be treated as a single year entity, future cap space or lack their of needs to be considered in all deals. Just because a player signs for a contract that has an average of $5 million a year, it doesn’t mean that $5 million will come off the cap in that first year. Now given the current situation, the Redskins will have to assume more risk and put more money into future years. But if they do it well, it shouldn’t be a problem.
Ways to Save Money:
Cut Jammal Brown:
Now Jammal Brown doesn’t save any more money this season (and in fact could even cost them some money), but he saves them a nice chunk of change $4.4 million next year. Where as if they cut him next season he only saves them $1 million next year. By saving this money for next year now, the Redskins can more easily budget new contracts to reflect that.
Cut or Trade Deangelo Hall:
Hall is part of the reason the Redskins are in this mess, but the good news is cutting or trading Hall, will save the Redskins $6.2 million this year and $8 million next year. Which gives Washington plenty of flexibility to sign multiple free agents. Now trading him could be a stretch, but there might be a team or two that perfers a shorter term no risk contract with Hall (any team that assumes the contract could cut him without penalty) over signing a free agent and shelling out guaranteed dollars. Washington shouldn’t expect more than a 5th or 6th rounder, but it would be a nice parting gift.
Trade Santana Moss:
Moss is coming off his worst NFL season (since becoming established) that was filled with injuries and disappointments. He also carries a moderate sized contract that the Redskins probably wish they could get out from under. Now trading Moss only frees up $1 million and change this year, but does free up an additional $6.3 million in 2013. Now again there shouldn’t be much of a trade market, but the rumor is he’s being shopped so maybe the Redskins can get something for him.
Now those three moves only save a little over $7 million against this year’s cap, but save $18 million + off the 2013 cap which is huge.
Williams carries a very high $13 million cap figure that has to be reduced. The Redskins should look to convert $8 million of his $11 million salary into a signing bonus, that will be evenly distributed to the 4 remaining years of his contract. This saves $6 million in 2012, but adds $2 million next season (though is contract and cap hit for next year are down so it is doable).
Now this one is harder because essentially you need Chris Cooley to agree to give money back, because his cap hits the next two years of $6 million and $5 million are unsustainable. What the Redskins could offer, is a guaranteed 2014 salary of $2.5 million, in exchange for him sacrificing $2 million each of the next two years. It’s a risk, but one that Cooley could be agreeable to, since it guarantees him a spot on the Redskins.
These two restructurings would save $8 million in 2012, and break even in 2013.
Sign Fred Davis to an Extension:
Davis’s Franchise tender accounts for $5.4 million, but if the Redskins sign him to a long term extension they could reduce that number by $2.5-3 million. Yes it of course adds future money, but you were planning on doing that anyways.
Saves $2.5-3 million
Let London Fletcher Walk:
This is a tough one no doubt about it. But with less money to play with, its a lot harder to fit London Fletcher under the salary cap, unless he signs an extremely team friendly deal. The problem with Fletcher is due to his age and a short term contract there is no where to ‘hide the money’ so to speak. If Fletcher was signing for a $7 million average, over 5 or 6 years ($35 or $42 million) you could more easily fit him into the cap, by having just a $3 million cap hit in 2012. If you try to do that for a 2 or 3 year deal, you are looking at either $11 or $18 million remaining over the rest of the contract, at a time where his skills could be declining.
Given the number of young talented inside linebackers out on the market, the Redskins should look to save money and spread out the payments over more years.
So who should they sign? Here are my top targets now as free agency begins:
QB – Shaun Hill:
Good cheap veteran who can fill in until Griffin is ready, and be a very capable back-up.
WR – One of Eddie Royal, Early Doucet or Josh Morgan:
Royal has the connection with Mike Shanahan from Denver but his numbers have been falling. Morgan has the most upside, while Doucet is a solid fall back option.
OT – Eric Winston:
He knows this system and Kyle Shanahan worked with him in Houston, making this a no-brainer. He’ll be a bit more pricey, but with the extra cap room in the next two years they can afford him and he should be their top target.
OG – Ben Grubbs:
It might not be easy to sign both Grubbs and Winston, but if they did, their offensive line would quickly become a strength. Again the extra cap room will help, and these signings will make the RGIII transition a 1,000 times smoother.
ILB – Stephen Tulloch:
Tulloch is a great replacement for London Fletcher, he’s younger and excellent in coverage while still possessing first rate instincts and tackling skills.
FS: Dwight Lowery:
Lowery is a converted CB, who has very strong coverage skills. He’ll get overlooked on the market but make our secondary much better
SS – Craig Steltz:
Steltz was a very effective starter for the Bears down the stretch last year, and has some promise to be at least above-average in that department.
CB – Richard Marshall:
I’d like to see the Skins make a run at Brandon Carr, but not at the expense of hurting the offensive line. Marshall is a good solid corner who will come for much cheaper than what the Skins are paying Hall. He’s not elite, but he’ll help them have a decent secondary going forward.