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!