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Redskins Salary Cap Series: Importance of Clearing Future Cap Space

Steve Shoup

Part 1: Redskins 2014 Salary Cap Commitments 

Part 2: How the “Rule of 51” Creates Additional Cap Flexibility

Part 3: Potential 2014 Cuts

Salary Cap numbers courtesy of

In Yesterday’s post on the Potential 2014 Cuts the focus was on the over $17 million in cap room this season created by releasing those 10 players. Many though focused on the fact that the Redskins would be paying over $15 million in dead money next season to dump these 10 players and some wondered if it was such a good idea.

As a refresher the 10 players the Redskins should cut are: DL Adam Carriker, DL Stephen Bowen, OL Chris Chester, OL Kory Lichtensteiger, OL Will Montgomery, OL Tyler Polumbus, TE Logan Paulsen, P Sav Rocca, LS Nick Sundberg, DL Kedric Golston.

While that is a good chunk of dead money, the moves would give the Redskins $42 million to fill these holes and others. That is better than having less money to work with and hanging on to these players who just aren’t good enough to warrant their salaries. While the Redskins won’t be able to fix every hole, the fact is these guys are still “holes” if they remain on the team. If the Redskins were to keep Chris Chester, Will Montgomery and Kory Lichtensteiger, they would still need to fix those positions long term and honestly none of those guys should be guaranteed jobs in 2014. By cutting them (and everyone else on the list), the Redskins would significantly clean their cap going forward.

While the $17 million in cap space this year is a nice reason to make the cuts the real benefit comes from the cap space cleared going forward. If the Redskins cut these 10 players the reduce their cap burden the following amounts in the coming seasons:

2014: $17.328

2015: $32.255

2016: $5.713

2017: $4.050

That is a total of $59.346 million over those 4 years, so really to take $15 million cap penalty this year the Redskins free up nearly $60 million in cap space. That cap space is so important for the Redskins going forward as it not only allows them the flexibility to bring in some key free agents, but it means that they can retain any of their top guys who will be needing contracts in the coming years (Orakpo, Trent Williams, Alfred Morris, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Kerrigan). Not only does this add extra money to reward their key players with new contracts, but it allows them flexibility with how they structure them. Since 2016 and beyond are going to be the most expensive years for the group above, the Redskins can use this money the next two years to prepare for it. They could Reward Orakpo with big upfront payments in the first two years of the deal, making it higher than the annual average to reduce his cap hit going forward (also offering him more upfront money will likely reduce the overall package). The same tactic could be used when working out some extensions next season for guys like Trent Williams, Ryan Kerrigan, Alfred Morris. Also with the way the cap is structured now teams can carryover money to future years. So If the Redskins don’t use all of their cap room this year or say next year, they can carry it over going forward to be used to pay for players extensions when they come due.

Now some would say that the Redskins could still achieve some significant cap savings if they keep some of these players this year and wait to cut them next year. Here would be the difference if they kept any of the big money guys on their cap room for this season and next season (I’m not including guys like Golston/Sundberg because they are cheaper guys that can be cut at any time):

Adam Carriker:

Less cap Room In 2014: $2.990

Dead cap hit in 2015: $1.760

Cap Room in 2015: $5.000

Stephen Bowen:

Less cap Room In 2014: $1.980

Dead cap hit in 2015: $2.520

Cap Room in 2015: $5.500

Chris Chester:

Less cap Room In 2014: $2.700

Dead cap hit in 2015: $0.800

Cap Room in 2015: $4.000

Will Montgomery:

Less cap Room In 2014: $1.925

Dead cap hit in 2015: $1.000

Cap Room in 2015: $2.925 

Kory Lichtensteiger:

Less cap Room In 2014: $1.100

Dead cap hit in 2015: $1.650

Cap Room in 2015: $2.950

Logan Paulsen:

Less cap Room In 2014: $1.503

Dead cap hit in 2015: $0.367

Cap Room in 2015: $1.750

Total less cap room in 2014: 12.198

Total less cap room in 2015 (add up the dead cap hit’s): $8.097

Combined Less Cap money to work with: $20.295

Now obviously you could go A la carte and only keep 2 or 3 of these guys, but regardless of how many you are keeping in the end you are lessening your cap flexibility in both 2014 and 2015 (and this assumes you would actually cut the player next year). The best thing to do is to clear the cap as soon as possible. This allows the greatest amount of cap space both now and in the future and gives you the easiest path to fixing your team needs and retaining your own players that you want.



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