2014 Off-Season Roster Breakdown

12 Feb

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Here’s a little roster/salary breakdown for you as we head into the 2014 off-season.

With less than a month to go until the NFL League year re-sets (aka Free Agency begins!), I found myself getting frustrated with the various “salary cap space” reports being thrown around. I read that the Redskins would have anywhere from $14 million to $30 million in cap space, but those numbers still didn’t make a lot of sense to me. So I went through the entire roster over at Overthecap.com for 2014. It is the most up-to-date site regarding contracts … and broke everything down for the Redskins, as of February 12, 2014. Hopefully this helps get your brain prepared for what we might encounter come March … and what will follow in the coming days and weeks will be posts discussing various free agents, draft picks, Kirk Cousins trade options, and more. Hope this helps clarify things!

Roster Break-Down: February 12, 2014:

The Redskins currently have 58 contracts on the books that total $97,379,014 … and $7,470,233 in dead money (mainly Fletcher/Morgan/Meriweather’s voided deals that had bonus money due at the end). So that puts the team at $104,849,247 … with $22,450,753 in cap space, assuming the cap is $127.3 million, which is what it has been speculated to be. The actual number won’t be released until the week prior to free agency, but there is speculation that it could rise to $130 million. But for now, for these purposes, I am using the $127.3 million figure.

- These players will be released (4): Adam Carriker (June 1st designation to split money due over 2014/2015), Stephen Bowen, Chris Chester, Sav Rocca

- These players likely won’t be around at their current salary (2): Kerick Golston, Tyler Polumbus

- These players simply are unlikely to be on the final 53-man roster, thus their minimal salaries (which add up!) won’t be on the books (17): Evan Royster, Josh Hull, Ryan Mouton, Kevin Kowalski, David Gettis, Richard Quinn, Adrian Robinson, Robert Malone, Kyle Nelson, Trenton Robinson, Nick Williams, Jawan Jamison, Jeremy Kimbrough, Peyton Thompson, Tevita Stevens, Davin Meggett, Gabe Miller

- Also assume a trade (1): Kirk Cousins

From that, you are left with 33 players that add up to $80,906,999 in salary commitments (including the $7m in dead space). This leaves you with $46,393,001 in cap space to pay for 20 roster spots and 8 PS members. Obviously, this number is MUCH higher than what you will hear in the media. That is because the team signs up to 90 players to come to camp … but the salary cap only kicks in when the 53-man roster is set in September. During the off-season, teams are required to stay under the salary cap with their Top 51 contracts. So right now, the Redskins “salary cap space” is only what is left from the current 58 players under contract. But as I explain above, only about 33 of those will be on the final 53-man roster. So the $22 million being reported today is not an accurate portrayal of how much cap space the team really has.

Here are some important areas where money must be set aside, that cannot be spent in free agency.

- Practice Squad (maximum 8 players @ $105k) = $840,000

- In-Season flexibility to pay injury replacements, part-time roster spots (last year used $1.6m on 17 different players that were on the roster anywhere between 1 week and 5 weeks) = $2,500,000

- Draft pick salary pool (last year spent $3.7m) = $5,000,000 (increased due to higher picks in rounds, built in salary for picks in Cousins trade)

So, assuming you fill your 8 practice squad spots with 1-2 draft picks and some UDFA, you likely have 5-6 draft picks from 2014 that will find their way on to the 53-man. So you can expect to have $38,553,001 in open salary that can go toward about 14-15 roster spots. These roster spots will certainly include any re-signed players like Brian Orakpo, Perry Riley, DeAngelo Hall, Chris Baker, etc. It will also include some premier free agent signings … but will also include some lesser-known additions … veterans or young journeymen who won’t cost a lot of money.

Below is the current roster with the players I mention above taken away. These are the 33 players that account for the $80 million in salaries that leaves around $38.5 million in spending money AFTER accounting for practice squad, draft picks not yet drafted, and in-season roster flexibility. 

Current roster of 33:

OFFENSE: 18 of likely 25 needed

QB (1/2): Robert Griffin III

RB (3/3): Alfred Morris, Roy Helu, Jr., Chris Thompson

FB (1/1): Darrel Young

WR (3/6): Pierre Garcon, Leonard Hankerson, Aldrick Robinson

TE (3/3): Jordan Reed, Logan Paulsen, Niles Paul

OT (2/4): Trent Williams, Tom Compton

OG (4/5): Kory Lichtensteiger, Josh LeReibus, Adam Gettis, Maurice Hurt

OC (1/1): Will Montgomery

Re-Cap: If the team trades Cousins for a 2nd round draft pick, you’ll likely find them going after a younger “veteran” to back up Griffin. The team is unlikely to carry 3 QBs … I would anticipate they bring in a veteran backup and use a late draft pick or undrafted free agent to put on the practice squad as the 3rd emergency QB. Running back is set … you could see Thompson challenged by Jawan Jamison or maybe even a late-round pick, but the Top 2 are certainly set. WR has holes all over. The team will likely address the position in both free agency and the draft. I would expect them to spend a 2nd or 3rd rounder on a player who will eventually become their #2 alongside Garcon. While TE is set, as well, the team carried 4 TEs last year. With Fred Davis as good as gone, the team could look to bring in a FA or late-round pick to challenge Paulsen as the #2 TE behind Jordan Reed. The offensive line is where you will see the most turnover. I fully anticipate the team to address RT as a priority signing in free agency. I would also expect them to replace Chris Chester with a top-end Free Agent guard. The team may like what they have in their young OGs, but if the new staff feels they should be upgraded, don’t be surprised if a 2nd, 3rd or 4th gets spent on an offensive guard. The Center position is also debatable. Will Montgomery was great in 2012 but bad in 2013. Whether that was a result of poor OG play is up for debate. Some thing Kory Lichtensteiger can slide over and play OC … so if the team opts to sign a RG in free agency and roll with a draft pick or a young OG (LeReibus or Hurt) at LG, Lichtensteiger could slide to OC and Monty could be released for $2 million in savings. Right now, though, I expect Montgomery to be the starter in 2014.

DEFENSE: 13 of likely 25 needed

DE (2/4): Jarvis Jenkins, Doug Worthington

NT (2/2): Barry Cofield, Chris Nield

OLB (2/5): Ryan Kerrigan, Brandon Jenkins

ILB (2/4): Keenan Robinson, Will Compton

CB (3/5): David Amerson, Richard Crawford, Chase Minnifield

FS (1/2): Bacarri Rambo

SS (1/3): Phillip Thomas

Re-Cap: The defense, coming off a last-place finish in 2013, is in complete overhaul mode. Only two every day starters from 2013 are under contract: Ryan Kerrigan and Barry Cofield. Defense will be heavily addressed both in Free Agency and the Draft. The team was dead-last among 3-4 defenses in the penetration created by their defensive line. Jarvis Jenkins has potential but has yet to show it as a full-time starter. The team is likely to re-sign Chris Baker, who was very solid down the stretch in 2013 … but also expect them to either sign a top-end free agent (Oakland’s 26 year old Lamarr Houston has been a name thrown around) … or use their 2nd rounder on a DE. Many think Cofield is not a natural NT for the 3-4, but he was damn solid in 2013 as a NT. While the team may look to get a young draft pick to groom behind him, he is the starter in 2014. OLB is a mess. I expect Orakpo to be back, but at what cost? He will want $11+ million a year, but he probably isn’t worth more than $8 million per year at this point. Even if you bring back Orakpo, Rob Jackson is also a free agent … as is veteran Darryl Tapp. The team needs to get 3 OLBs either through re-signs, free agency or the draft. ILB is also a huge question. London Fletcher has retired and Perry Riley is a free agent. The team is likely going to re-sign Riley, and try to find a young, cheaper starting option via free agency (Donald Butler, Dekoda Watson) … but Keenan Robinson was drafted in the 4th round last year to be Fletcher’s eventual replacement. Whether he can get there is up to the staff to decide, but the Redskins need depth regardless … and I would expect them to either sign a free agent or use an early draft pick on an ILB that can take over for Fletcher.

The secondary was putrid in 2013, but a lot of analysts point most of that blame at the safety position and lack of pass-rush. The team’s CBs were actually quite good. DeAngelo Hall is a free agent and is likely to be back. There are rumors that the team might go after some of the younger CBs in free agency, since there are so many available. It is also possible that the team adds a CB in the mid rounds of the draft to eventually replace Hall as the starter opposite David Amerson and Richard Crawford (if healthy). SAFETY is a mess, though. Phillip Thomas had lisfranc injury in the pre-season and never saw the field as a 4th rounder SS that was supposed to be a playmaker. The book is still out on Thomas … the 2nd year player from Fresno State, if healthy, should get a chance to start. But FS is another story. Bacarri Rambo, last year’s 6th rounder, showed some flashes but otherwise played poorly as a rookie. With so many quality Free Safeties available in free agency, the Redskins are likely going to target either Jairus Byrd, Mike Mitchell, Antoine Bathea or Malcolm Jenkins to come in and be the every-day starter and finally solve the FS problem that was created when Sean Taylor was murdered.

SPECIAL TEAMS: 2 of 3 needed

K (1): Kai Forbath

LS (1): Nick Sundberg

 

Re-Cap: ST can not be overlooked. The team seems to be set at Long Snapper and Kicker, but Punting was awful in 2013. Sav Rocca is old and will certainly be released. Look for a late-round draft pick or a free agent to come in and solidify the position. In 2013 the Redskins had a historically bad coverage unit and that all started with the punting. The team will also be looking to add back-ups and possibly some draft picks that will be able to help on ST … since 2013 saw a rash of injuries to players who would have contributed. 

*Note: Of course, there are players on here that could miss the 53-man. I still have Licthensteiger and Montgomery on the roster …and they’re far from locks. I think the Redskins will replace at least 2 starters, if not 3 along the line, but I’m not comfortable starting the off-season roster with all 4 starters gone and needing replacing. That said, Lichtensteiger only saves $1.1 million if released, so he might be a serviceable utility guy to keep around … but whether or not that’s at the expense of one of the younger guys is something that should be debated. If we sign a RG in free agency and draft a LG … you aren’t going to keep 6 OGs … so does Licht slide to OC and Monty goes? Or do you keep Licht around and let go of Gettis or Hurt, when Licht is likely gone after 2014 anyway? Just some things to ponder, but the above break down is what I am most comfortable with right now.

 

Stay tuned for some more roster breakdowns as news develops … as well as targets in free agency … including a list of players and their expected salary demands in free agency … draft tidbits and of course, many mock off-seasons! 

Redskins Draft Version 1.0

18 Feb

The Redskins hamstrung themselves a little bit in the 2013 and 2014 drafts by trading their first round picks in each respective year to move up and draft Robert Griffin III. I don’t think you would find any Redskins fan or NFL analyst who will say they regret that decision. RGIII is a franchise quarterback who set the rookie record for Quarterback Rating, Rushing Yards and fewest interceptions in a season, not to mention the AP Rookie of the Year and leading the Redskins to their first NFC East title since 1999. Okay, now that that’s over with, on to the 2013 draft, which is a pick short (1st rounder) due to last year’s trade. The Redskins gained the NE Patriots 5th round pick by trading them Albert Haynesworth in 2011. With those seven picks between the 2nd and 7th rounds, the Redskins are likely to address the secondary, offensive line and offensive playmakers, with depth at other positions sprinkled in depending on who the best available player is.

 

There have been a number of rumors this early off-season that the Redskins plan to target the offense, and not the defense, during this year’s NFL Draft. The thinking, at least on the part of the Shanahans, is that the offense is one or two pieces away from being unstoppable, while the defense, with a few key additions, could be good enough to support a Super Bowl run.

 

The draft can be tricky to predict this far out, as we still have to go through the entire free agency signing period. We don’t know what holes will be filled through that process, so this is just going to be the first of a few articles on the Redskins’ draft plans, as the situation is clearly fluid. But if you are hankering for you’re like me your browsing history is full of mock drafts dating back to the Monday after we were eliminated from the playoffs, grasping at who may be there at pick 51 that may be the difference maker next season. Below are my predictions, as of mid-February, for the Redskins draft in late-April.

 

Free Agency: I plan to do an entire article on free agent targets, but I generally think the Redskins will add 2-3 pieces through free agency. I also think they’ll be able to retain Rob Jackson, Lorenzo Alexander, Fred Davis, and Kory Lichtensteiger, all potential starters or key role players from 2012. I think the team will enter 2013 with Brandon Meriweather at SS while addressing the FS position via free agency. I’m not talking about a top-flight FS, but rather a young role player the team may target who can step into situational roles and compete with a player to be drafted. Signing a guy like Corey Lynch lessens the need of drafting FS in the 2nd round and signing a guy like Jairus Byrd from Buffalo (a top free agent) would likely diminish the need for a FS and bump SS and CB into the priority in the secondary. Personally, I think the Redskins will address FS somehow during free agency. Brandon Meriweather is basically penciled in at SS, so suddenly the safety position doesn’t become a dire need, but depth at one or both could still be targeted during the draft.

 

I am working this version of my “Redskins Mock Draft” under the assumption that the team finds a starting FS in free agency and mitigates the TE situation. By that, I mean they will either re-sign Fred Davis or target a low-cost replacement like the Texans James Casey. Thus, FS and TE, two current needs, are not emphasized as much in my draft projections. I am also working under the assumption that London Fletcher retires, Santana Moss is released and DeAngelo Hall is restructured to reduce his cap hit. Rob Jackson and Lorenzo Alexander are also brought back.

 

1)       Cornerback – The Skins will likely restructure DeAngelo Hall … and could target Steelers CB Keenan Lewis in free agency. Even so, Josh Wilson is in the final year of his contract, and while I expect the team to extend him this off-season, a little depth at CB can’t hurt.

2)       Wide Receiver – The team’s WRs performed well, when healthy, in 2012. But Santana Moss is likely to be a cap casualty and is turning 34 this year. Joshua Morgan is in the final year of a 2-year contract. If you look to 2014, only two players are actually under contract: Pierre Garcon and Leonard Hankerson. Shanahan knows he could use a young breakout star at WR, but he doesn’t have a first rounder or cap space to find that guy. Fortunately this draft is deep, and the Redskins will almost certainly go for a WR in either the 2nd or 3rd round, not because it is a dire need, but because the team can be explosive with an additional playmakers and it bodes well for the unit’s future.

3)       Strong Safety – Brandon Meriweather, when healthy, is a hell of a SS. His impact was seriously felt in the one half of healthy football he played in 2012. Signed to a three year deal last off-season, Meriweather could be released to save cap space, but for just over $2 million he provides a decent option to return at the position. Meriweather’s health was a huge reason the Skins struggled last year, and the players that were brought in to replace him were not ready for the pressure. While they now provide decent depth, it was clear that the SS position was a huge weakness that needs addressing in 2013

4)       Inside Linebacker – The Redskins need to replace London Fletcher. Keenan Robinson, last year’s 4th round pick, is a popular choice to replace him immediately. But Robinson was hurt in 2012 and is unproven off the practice field. Depth would be a concern, as I expect Fletcher to retire, so the Redskins will surely target an ILB in the draft to spell depth and compete for playing time.

5)       Right Tackle – I expect the Skins to address RT in free agency. They will likely bring in a cheap veteran to compete with last year’s 6th round pick Tom Compton. That said, the team would certainly benefit from the additional depth, youth and competition that a draft pick would bring. Compton has the early confidence from Shanahan, which says a lot for a lineman in his system, so my inclination is to trust his judgment. So while an early pick could net a starting RT, the Redskins may not be looking for that right now at this position, so a 6th or 7th round pick could be enough to do the trick.

6)       Free Safety – This could shoot up to #1, obviously, if the team does nothing in free agency to address the position. I am under the impression that the Redskins are going to target a top FS in free agency. If that is the case, this need drops off completely from this list. However, I am keeping it here in case the Redskins go cheap and sign someone like Corey Lynch, who is a great cover safety, but could use competition and depth, to justify a 3rd-5th round pick.

So, without further ado, here is my Redskins mock draft Version 1.0:

 

2nd: Tavon Austin, WR WVU

3rd: Robert Lester, SS Alabama

4th: Kenyon Barner, RB Oregon

5th: Kyle Long, OT Oregon

5th: Kevin Riddick, ILB UNC

6th: Tyrann Matheiu, CB LSU

7th: Phillip Steward, 3-4 OLB Houston

 

Here’s why I would give this draft a 100% A+ …

1)       Tavon Austin would be a good value at pick #51, not to mention he fills the void left by Santana Moss and is a perfect fit in the slot. He is a young talent that can be explosive and will quickly build a report with RGIII. He is a deadly weapon that can make the offense much more dynamic

2)       Robert Lester would provide depth at SS behind Brandon Meriweather and would likely take over as the starting SS in 2014 when Meriweather’s contract goes off the books, or earlier, if Meriweather has injury issues again as he did in 2012.

3)       The Redskins lacked a change-of-pace back for Alfred Morris in 2012. Morris will still be the feature back, but Barner brings incredible speed and adds a new dynamic out of the backfield for the Shanahans to play around with. Word has it that the Redskins want to upgrade speed in the off-season and bringing in Barner and Tavon Austin would instantly take this offense to the next level, which is scary to think about.

4)       Kyle Long is a perfect fit for the Redskins zone-blocking system. He is large, athletic and raw in talent, so this would be a perfect project pick and reminiscent of Shanahan’s past drafts. Long would immediately compete with Tom Compton (last year’s 6th rounder) for a starting spot, or provide great back-up at LT and RT if the Redskins choose to address RT in free agency (Ryan Harris)

5)       Kevin Riddick would be a perfect project to provide depth behind Keenan Robinson and Perry Riley. He could conceivably compete to start with Robinson, but in all likelihood would be given 2013 to learn the defense so that he could compete for major playing time in 2014 and beyond. This pick would almost be imperative if Fletcher retires, but would still make sense even if Fletch sticks around another year, as he could come in immediately in 2014 to compete for PT.

6)       Tyrann Mathieu, aka Honey Badger. Why I would love this pick: POTENTIAL. He may be a bit of a head case and have a sketchy track record, but at least his issues were with pot and not violence or more sinister criminal activity. Mathieu would immediately compete for the PR and KR slot and would provide depth at both CB and FS. This pick is perfect. In my scenario I have the Skins addressing FS in free agency, but a Mathieu pick could be viewed as both a FS depth acquisition and a potential nickelback starter. This could be looked to as the steal of the draft.

7)       Phillip Steward is a raw, but talented, 3-4 OLB. He would be a perfect 7th round project to back-up Orakpo, Kerrigan and Rob Jackson.

This draft would immediately upgrade the offensive weapons, address the RT issue (if it even exists), and would provide depth and potential to the secondary and linebacker corps. Assuming the Redskins address TE and FS in free agency, and add the typical lower-end depth along the offensive and defensive line to create competition in camp, this draft would round out the off-season, essentially fill all the holes, and set the Redskins up nicely for a 2013 SB run as well as a 2014 free agent cycle when the money flows back in!

WILDCARD!!!! Version 1.1!!!

Anyone who has followed the Redskins over the last few seasons has certainly noticed their desire to add as many picks through trade downs as possible. Every time you think your favorite player is there and they are going to take him, the trade is announced and the Redskins move down. That happened in 2011 (thank GOD, Shanny passed on Blaine Gabert at 10 and got Kerrigan at 16). So, here is a scenario that I think is VERY possible. And it actually works out perfectly for the draft charts, though this specific example is just listed because it makes sense. It could involve any number of teams…

So the Redskins sit at pick #51 … this is a very deep draft … and a player is there that another team that has already picked in the 2nd wants. Enter the Miami Dolphins, possessors of the #77 and #82 picks in the draft. The Dolphins have glaring needs at CB, FS, OG and WR. They may not address all of those via free agency, and the draft is deep at each position. I could see them addressing OG in the first, WR in the early 2nd, and jump back up to the 2nd to take a FS or CB. Now, that’s getting very specific, but I just want to prove that the need could be there for someone to jump. The Dolphins’ two 3rd round picks are valued at 205 and 180 on the points chart. The Redskins 51st pick is valued at 390. The two picks the Dolphins would trade would equal 385 … almost a perfect exchange for Washington’s 390 point-valued 51st pick.

So now Washington will hold two additional picks in the 3rd round, giving them three total thirds. That sounds bad for a team that has some potential glaring holes … but let me explain. This draft is deep in almost every position Washington needs to address. FS is the obvious hole, but if the team signs a FS in free agency (likely), they suddenly don’t HAVE to use a 2nd on that position. Trading down and getting an extra pick to use toward an impact player would be phenomenal. Now, let’s take a look at what could happen!

3rd (77): Robert Lester, SS Alabama (from Miami)
3rd (82): Markus Wheaton, WR Oregon State (from Miami)
3rd (85): Kenjon Barner, RB Oregon
4th (116): BW Webb, CB William & Mary
5th (147): Kyle Long, OT Oregon
5th (155): Steve Beauharnais, ILB Rutgers
6th (181): Tyrann Mathieu, CB/FS LSU
7th (211): Phillip Steward, 3-4 OLB Houston

Why this draft would, well, be amazing:
Robert Lester would be a quality pick at this spot, a strong safety to provide depth for Meriweather, and push to be his replacement heading into 2014 if the Skins decide to part ways with the Meriweather project. Markus Wheaton is another riser, but early-to-mid 3rd round would be realistic at this point. He has high value as a slot receiver and would take over for Moss and eventually work his way onto the field as a burner on offense and another weapon for RGIII. Barner could be had in the 4th, but likely not where the Redskins will pick toward the end of the 4th round, so grabbing him with their own 3rd round pick would be a high-value addition. His speed would add a breakaway dynamic at RB that the Redskins lacked in 2012. BW Webb is a small-school prospect with a TON of upside. He could eventually start opposite Josh Wilson at CB, but at the least could compete with Richard Crawford and Chase Minnefield for the nickel slot in 2013. Kyle Long, as addressed in Version 1.0 is a perfect fit for the ZB scheme and would compete immediately at RT and provide depth at both RT and LT. Beauharnais is a talented prospect that could be groomed to step in at ILB and compete with Robinson for London’s old spot. Mathieu, addressed above, would provide competition at CB and potential depth at FS. Steward would compete for a roster spot and provide depth at OLB behind Rob Jackson, Orakpo and Kerrigan.

Washington Redskins 2013 Cap Situation

13 Feb

If you’re reading this, you know that I am a die-hard Redskins fan. If you are reading this, there’s a good chance I have talked your ear off at one time or another about the upcoming Redskins off-season. After all, for the first time in what seems like forever, the Redskins are relevant, and winning the off-season is no longer about spending the most money, but making the smartest moves. Today I bring you a break down of the 2013 Redskins cap situation. Foremost, I must mention that most of these numbers are taken from a series of articles by Steve Shoup on HogsHaven: http://fanspeak.com/washingtonredskins/2013/02/07/washington-redskins-salary-cap-for-2013/

If you’re interested, you can check out his articles to see how he breaks down various players and where they may be cut, restructured, retire, etc. In this case, I am going through what I think will happen, or rather, what I think the Redskins should do, to free up cap space.

First, let me answer a few questions:
1) How much cap space do the Redskins have? Well, thanks to the prying of the Eagles and Giants following the lockout, the Redskins were docked $18 million in salary cap space for 2012 and 2013. The bad news? The Redskins have lost every appeal to get that money back and are going to be hindered again this off-season to acquire talent. The good news? The Redskins won the NFC East in 2012 with a payroll almost $20 million less than the league cap, and when the sanction lifts in 2014 the Redskins will have a TON of cap space to work with. So after the long description, the Skins actually sit at $104.223 million in payroll. The 2013 NFL Cap is set at $120.9 million. Take away $18 million in sanctions, and the Redskins cap sits at $102.9 million. So as of now, the Redskins are about $1.4 million over the cap.

2) What about the so-called carry-over cap from 2012? Well, the Redskins didn’t use $4 million of their cap space from last year so that rolls over. The Redskins payroll would otherwise be at $108.223 but that $4 million in rollover money reduces the current payroll to $104.223. The fact that the Redskins were able to go out and sign some key free agents last year despite being under the first of two years of cap purgatory is impressive and furthers my belief that Shanahan and Allen know what they’re doing. Gone are the days of big free-agent splashes, veterans beyond their prime. Today we see the team signing guys in their mid-20’s, entering their primes, to contracts that are fair in their awarding but below what many would earn after 2-3 years of that contract. Guys like Stephen Bowen, Barry Cofield, Pierre Garcon and Josh Wilson come to mind. I fully expect the Redskins to be able to address all of their holes this off-season, both through the draft and through free agency.

The following numbers are, for the most part, taken from the Shoup article linked above.

WHO TO CUT:
1. RT Jamal Brown is already gone. His release saved the Redskins $1.55 million in 2013.

2. WR Santana Moss will either be restructured or released. At 34 Moss is past his prime. The Redskins are expected to target a WR in the 2nd or 3rd round, likely in the slot position that Moss currently occupies. Releasing Moss would save the team $4.5 million in 2013. His total payout of $6.4 million is not worth the sentimental value he brings or the SWR contributions.

3. ILB London Fletcher. Let me be clear, this is not a cut, but rather a retirement. I really think London is going to hang it up. Word is he is pretty banged up and at 37 he could be determining whether to play another year or walk in 5 … London is a smart man, and I expect him to take the retirement train. With Phil Daniels leaving as the team’s development coordinator, expect Fletcher to stick around in a mentoring roll on the Skins staff. London’s retirement would save the Redskins $4 million.

WHO TO RESTRUCTURE:
1. CB DeAngelo Hall will either restructure or be released. It’s that simple. Hall has indicated that he’d like to stick around, so I’m inclined to think he will restructure to a pretty friendly deal, given his age and inconsistencies of late. Hall is currently owed over $8 million in 2013 and a restructure would save the team at least $4.5 million.

2. Barry Cofield is set to be one of the highest paid players on the team in 2013 and a prime candidate to get re-upped to lessen the 2013 blow. Cofield’s restructure would save the team $2.475 million.

3. Trent Williams makes the most money on the team. He is a dominant, pro-bowl caliber LT, but he can certainly be fit into a new, long-term deal to get his cap hit down a bit. Restructuring his deal would save the team $2.83 million in 2013.

4. Pierre Garcon signed a big contract last year, but he is young and could certainly be extended beyond what his current contract sits. Re-structuring Garcon’s deal would save the team $3.45 million in 2013. Note, I am not sure as to whether or not Garcon would restructure so soon after signing his original deal, but the fact is that he is owed over $8 million in 2013 and he may be willing to sacrafice a few million in 2013 to add 1-2 years to the contract, considering he spent over half of 2012 injured.

5. Chris Chester is entering the second half of his original contract and could certainly be inked to an extension given his consistency on the OL. A restructure of Chester’s contract would save the team $1.5 million in 2013.

6. Brian Orakpo needs to be extended. He is in the final year of his original contract. Coming off of an injury-plagued season, this is a ripe time to sign Orakpo before he has a breakout 2013 season and demands a strong contract next year. Extending Orakpo could save the team $1.525 million in 2013.

7. Josh Wilson is in the final year of his contract as well. He is due over $5 million. He has been a serviceable if not strong #2 CB and is young enough to extend another contract to. Getting him locked in long-term would ultimately save the team $2.362 million in 2013.

SO WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
Cutting Santana Moss and Jamal Brown and the retirement of London Fletcher saves the Redskins $10.05 million in 2013. The restructuring of Hall, Cofield, Williams, Garcon, Chester and the extension of Orakpo and Wilson would save the team an additional $19.142 million in 2013. It is important to mention that those restructures, in total, would add just over $7-10 million to the current 2014 payroll. Not bad, when you consider both Wilson and Orakpo would come off the books anyway and be in need of new contracts anyway. Considering the Redskins will likely have over $40 million in cap space in 2014, adding even $10 million to the 2014 payroll is not a bad deal if it means freeing up space to re-sign players and hit a few HRs in free agency.

REALITY OF IT ALL:
If the Redskins pursued all of the above moves they would save a total of $29.192 million. Now, are all of those deals going to take place? It’s doubtful. I personally think it would be hard to restructure Pierre Garcon while the ink is still drying on the deal he signed in 2012. But I think it is very reasonable to expect Hall, Cofield, Williams and Chester to restructure. It is in THEIR best interest to do so. While Hall may be the only one facing an immanent release if he refuses to restructure, the others would certainly benefit from adding 4-5 years to their contracts that are nearing their end. Orakpo, given his 2012 injury, is likely to extend early … and so will Josh Wilson, who has played well, but likely not well enough to command a contract greater than what the Redskins could likely offer an extension.

DeAngelo Hall COULD be released and save a total of $8 million, but I think he will take a pay-cut to stick around. London Fletcher is the wild card, as he could return, but I still think he ends up retiring. For now, I am going to go with my gut, and keep that $4.0 million in savings in my calculation. Finally, while I think Moss may be willing to restructure, Skins fans need to get over the sentimentality of letting him go. Simply put, for $6.5 million he is not worth keeping around. As I will discuss in later posts, I fully expect the Redskins to either pursue Percy Harvin (pipe dream) via trade or draft a slot WR in either the 2nd or 3rd round, which would make Moss irrelevant. Cutting him would free up $4.5 million that can be spent much wiser elsewhere!

All in all, the Redskins would reduce their 2013 payroll from $104.223 million to $75.031 million if they made the moves I list above. With the Redskins penalty-impaired Cap set at $102.9 million, these moves would place the Redskins at $27.869 million UNDER the cap before targeting their own restricted and unrestricted free agents, signing draft picks or pursuing other team’s free agents when the signing period starts in March.

**Note, I want to emphasize that I took all of the numbers, except for DeAngelo Hall’s estimated restructured savings from Steve Shoup’s piece on Hogs Haven. I found his numbers to be very useful in determining the course of the Redskins off-season, which I will catalog in a series of upcoming posts. I can’t validate that accuracy of his numbers but I think he had a very solid understanding of what goes into restructuring a deal, so I’m rolling with those numbers for now, because I honestly don’t know the specifics of cap maneuvering, only that the Redskins have historically been very good at it.

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