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Jansen, Moss salary cap implications

Jansen, Moss salary cap implications

When I wrote about Jon Jansen's release a week ago, I was imprecise in communicating a number that is important when evaluating the move and I'd like to take this opportunity to clarify.

I said that by releasing Jansen "the Redskins took a cap hit of some $6 million." That's true. The Redskins will take a dead cap charge of $6.1 million.

However, unless you are the one writing out the checks that's not the relevant number to look at when judging the move. Jansen would have counted $4.5 million against the cap had he stayed on the roster. So, the net cap hit was $1.6 million. That is the more meaningful number.

This is not to say that the $6.1 million in dead cap that will be on the 2009 books doesn't matter. The Redskins will be tying up 4.7% of their available cap space in one player who no longer is on the roster.

Add to that the $5.3 million (4.1%) they're carrying on the books as a result of the Brandon Lloyd fiasco and the $2.7 (2.1%) million of prorated bonus left on Shawn Springs' deal and you'll see that the Redskins have over a tenth of their entire salary cap tied up in players who will be playing for other teams.

Certainly, all NFL teams carry some dead cap on their books but the Redskins are annually among the league leaders.

The Redskins "paid" for the Jansen move by restructuring Santana Moss' deal. They converted most of Moss' 2009 and 2010 salaries into signing bonus. So he got a check for $6.2 million to help him celebrate his 30th birthday last weekend and to help the Redskins neutralize the effects of Jansen's release. The move lowered his 2009 cap charge by $1.7 million.

In order to make this work, the Redskins added a year to Moss' deal but that 2011 season voids automatically. All of this means that the Redskins will be facing a 2011 dead cap charge of $5.2 million.

If there is a salary cap in 2011—that is likely but far from certain—the Redskins will redo another player's deal in order to squeeze that dead cap in under the limit.

As long as the cap continues to go up this approach has its advantages. The total cap charge for Moss over the next three years does not go up. You do have to pay the piper but you are repaying him in dollars that are worth less than they were when you spent them. Just two years ago when the cap was $107 million, a $5.2 million dead cap charge would have represented almost 5% of the cap. Should the cap grow at the same rate the next two years as it has in the past two, it will be at $153 million. That same $5.2 million would be just 3.4% of the cap.

Certainly there are drawbacks as well. The Redskins' way of doing things hasn't worked. They have been unable to get out of the NFL's muddled middle.

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Costly cornerbacks, offseason blueprint

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Costly cornerbacks, offseason blueprint

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, February 17, 25 days before NFL free agency starts.

The Redskin week that was

My weekly look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics on RealRedskins.com and NBCSportsWashington.com.

An offseason blueprint for the Redskins—Should the Redskins focus their free agency money on keeping their own? In addition to unrestricted free agents Zach Brown and Trent Murphy, they need to consider extensions for Brandon Scherff, Preston Smith, and Jamison Crowder. That could chew up a bunch of the approximately $31 million of cap space that they have. They may get some help on the market but most of their improvement should come from the draft and from within.

Redskins offseason will hit warp speed soon—With the exception of the Alex Smith trade, which actually hasn’t happened yet, there hasn’t been much going on with the Redskins. That is going to change soon, check out the post for the calendar and how the events matter for the Redskins.

No mixed messages from Alex Smith—In a radio interview, Alex Smith said that he was “jacked” to be a part of the Redskins. Now, the phrase often repeated here is that you shouldn’t listen to what they say, you should watch what they do. And the moment that he signs the reported four-year extension that he has negotiated with the team, a deal that likely would put him in Washington for the rest of his career, we will see his actions backing up his words. Then we will know.

What we know, and what we think, of the Su'a Cravens situation—This will be a true test of the acumen of the front office. It’s a very tricky situation. The Redskins have to decide if they want to keep Cravens. Should they decide to keep him, there will be a lot of smoothing over of ruffled feelings that would need to be done over and trust in Cravens would have to be restored. If they don’t want him around, they have to make it look like they are willing to go into the season with him in order to be able to trade him. Otherwise, teams may just wait for them to cut him and sign him as a free agent. Again, don’t listen to what they say, watch what they do.

Tweet of the week

Quarterback is not the only NFL position with rising salaries. The players teams hire to try to stop opposing QBs, cornerbacks, are getting expensive, too. Bashaud Breeland is a good cornerback, not a great one. His coverage skills are solid, he’s a good team player (if a bit of a hothead at times) and his work ethic is not questioned. For a fourth-round pick who everybody thought left Clemson a year too early, he has done well for himself But he hasn’t made a Pro Bowl and he hasn’t even come close enough to be considered a snub. Breeland has eight interceptions in four years in the league with a high of three in 2016.

The price tag for good at cornerback is likely to be in the vicinity of $10 million per season. And good for him if he gets it. But with the Redskins employing Josh Norman, who has cap hits in the range of $14.5 million-$16.9 million over the next three years, it would be difficult to fit him in. Truth be told, Breeland has probably been destined to leave as a free agent ever since Norman signed his contract in April of 2016.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 12
—NFL Draft (4/26) 68
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 204

In case you missed it

  

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Cousins would reportedly look to file grievance if Redskins use franchise tag on him

Cousins would reportedly look to file grievance if Redskins use franchise tag on him

The Redskins might try to franchise tag quarterback Kirk Cousins to try to get some compensation for him as he leaves. But Cousins’ camp might not let that happen without a fight.

According to Albert Breer of the MMQB, Cousins might file a grievance if he is tagged, saying that the Redskins would be violating the spirit of the rules regarding the use of the franchise tag. He would be seeking to have the tag voided because the team clearly isn ’t interested in reaching a long-term deal with him given the acquisition of Alex Smith. The tag is supposed to be used to buy time to get an agreement done, not to squat on a player’s rights in order to trade him.

There is precedent for the tag being used in order to facilitate a trade. In 2009, the Patriots tagged quarterback Matt Cassel. They clearly had no intention of keeping him as they had Tom Brady on the roster. But New England pulled it off, shipping Cassel and linebacker Mike Vrabel to the Chiefs for a second-round pick.

But it is up to the player to object to being tagged and for whatever reason Cassel and his agent went along with the tag and trade rather than fighting for free agency.

It looks like Cousins ’camp won’t go as quietly.

It’s up to the Redskins to make the first move. The window to be able to tag a player opens on Tuesday with the deadline coming on March 6. We will see how things play out after that.

MORE REDSKINS: THE EXPECTATIONS GAME

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page

Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS

and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS