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Need to Know: Washington Redskins' cap space dwindling but they have some options

Need to Know: Washington Redskins' cap space dwindling but they have some options

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, March 12, 37 days before Washington Redskins start offseason workouts on April 17.  

Timeline

Days until:

—NFL Draft (4/27) 46
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 73
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 125
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 182

Redskins’ cap space dwindling but more can be created

The Redskins have not gone after any big names in the opening few days of free agency but they are getting a little low on cap space.

The biggest chunk of cap space was consumed by Kirk Cousins’ $23.9 million franchise tag. That counted against the cap from the moment it was applied. When Cousins signed it on Friday it became fully guaranteed.

The Redskins have signed five unrestricted free agents including one of their own in Vernon Davis. They also tendered two restricted free agents. Will Compton got the low tender while Chris Thompson got a tender that would trigger a second-round pick as compensation if the Redskins chose not to match an offer sheet.

Here are the 2017 cap charges of those free agents:

Terrelle Pryor $6 million
Terrell McClain $3.7 million
Vernon Davis $3.3 million
D.J. Swearinger $3.3 million
Stacy McGee $3.2 million
Chris Thompson $2.7 million
Will Compton $1.8 million

This leaves the Redskins with $14.3 million in cap space. They probably need to set aside $5 million to sign a defensive lineman such as Bennie Logan, who visited yesterday. A team wants to plan on have around $5 million in cap space going into the season to cover players on injured reserve and practice squad salaries. The also will need about $2 million to sign their draft picks (for guidance on how they will be able to sign about 10 players with $2 million in net cap space see this from last year) That leaves them with about $2.3 million to work with.

If they want some additional flexibility they do have options. If they sign another defensive lineman they would have to look hard at the $3 million they could save by moving on from Ricky Jean Francois. It seems that regardless of any other moves they will either release safety DeAngelo Hall, saving $4.25 million or negotiate a reduction in his $4.25 million salary.

There has been talk of moving on from guard Shawn Lauvao, a move that would save $4 million. But the organization may be hesitant to do that until they have a solid replacement for him. He may or may not be around in Week 1 but if they move on from it it likely will be during OTAs at the earliest and perhaps during training camp. 

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 5.0

The biggest chunk of savings could come from changing Cousins’ franchise tag into a long-term deal. The prospects for being able to strike a deal are very uncertain but if they do manage to get one done a contract possibility outlined here would reduce Cousins’ cap hit to $15 million, creating $9 million in cap space.

The Redskins don’t like to restructure contracts, deals that give players with large salaries some or all their money up front, converting their salaries to signing bonuses, and pushing some of the cap charges into future seasons.

For example, they could restructure Trent Williams’ deal and cut him a check for most of his $11.25 million salary and convert it to signing bonus. That would save them about $8 million but it would increase his cap number by about $2.5 million in each of the three remaining years of his contract. Again, they don’t like to do it but it is a tool that is available to them should an emergency or opportunity arise.

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

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—All-Redskins mock, fast-fading interest in Dez

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—All-Redskins mock, fast-fading interest in Dez

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, April 21, five days before the 2018 NFL draft.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins and NBC Sports Washington

Should the Redskins pursue Dez Bryant? This topic was one like a meteor, very hot for a short period of time before it quickly faded out. It started to heat up as soon as the Cowboys cut Dez (about a month too late) and when it was reported that he wanted to play against Dallas twice a year it really picked up steam. But then people started to actually think and figured out that signing Bryant didn’t make much sense for the Redskins. Add to that the reports that the Redskins had no interest and would not look into signing Dez in the future and the Redskins fans quickly lost enthusiasm for the topic.

Seven-round Redskins mock draft—I think that most Redskins fans would be happy with this mock. Well, I’ll say some Redskins fans, most is a pretty strong word in this case. 

Is the draft pool deep enough for the Redskins to trade back? There is plenty of talk about the Redskins trading down in the first round to recoup the third-round pick they gave up in the Alex Smith trade. But they need to be careful. Many consider the draft to be top heavy and they may lose their chance to pick up an impact player if they trade back too far. The question then becomes one of quality vs. quantity. 

Three questions as offseason workouts get underway—There will be plenty more questions that we can ask about this team. But we don’t really know what to ask before the draft, particularly when it comes to the defensive line and running back. One the personnel settle into place we will know what we don’t know. 

Tweet of the week

On Chris Cooley’s thought that the Redskins might try to trade back and get Da’Ron Payne in the draft and the use the assets obtained to move up to get Derrius Guice. 

This is related to the questions about trading back. On paper it looks like a good idea, assuming the Redskins want Payne. We’re pretty sure they would like to have Guice but we haven’t heard as much about the Alabama defensive lineman. 

I had many reply that Guice won’t be there in the second round. It’s possible, perhaps even likely, but you just don’t know. There was zero chance that Jonathan Allen would be there at No. 17 last year, right? 

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:

—OTAs start (5/22) 31
—Training camp starts (7/26) 96
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 141

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Redskins' schedule "rest disparity" is very fair in 2018

Redskins' schedule "rest disparity" is very fair in 2018

The NFL started taking into account a new factor when putting together its schedule this year. The concept is called rest disparity. It stems from a complaint made by the Giants last year. And, of course, when the Giants have a cold, the NFL sneezes and immediately does whatever it takes to cure the cold. 

Here is how Peter King laid it out this morning on the MMQB:

Last year, I heard the Giants were not pleased with their schedule because they felt they were too often playing teams more rested than they were. In consecutive October weeks, they played teams coming off byes, for instance. The NFL calculated a figure for every team based on the number of combined days of rest for their foes or for the team, calculating, for instance, in those two weeks, the Giants were a minus-14 (minus-seven for each of the foes, Seattle and Denver, coming off byes). In all, by my math, the Giants were a league-worst minus-22 in “rest disparity.”

So the schedule makers worked to minimize the rest disparity this year. According to King, the worst rest disparity in the league this year is minus-11. The Giants are minus-eight. 

The question that Redskins fans will have immediately here is if the Giants’ rest disparity was reduced at the expense of the team in burgundy and gold. The answer that will surprise many is no. 

The Redskins rest disparity in 2018 will be either minus-one or zero. The variance is due to the possibility that their Week 16 game in Tennessee will be flexed to a Saturday game (see details here). If the game stays on Sunday, they will be at minus-one in rest disparity. If it gets moved, they will have had exactly as much rest over the course of the season as did their opponents, in aggregate. 

If you're interested in the nitty-gritty, here is how it breaks down. In eight or nine of their games, they will have had the same amount of rest as their opponents. They play one game coming off of their bye, a Monday night game in New Orleans. The Saints play the previous Sunday, giving Washington a plus-seven in days of rest. That is canceled out when they play the Falcons in Week 9 after Atlanta’s bye. 

Due to their Thanksgiving game, they get three extra days off going into their Week 13 Monday night game in Philadelphia. Two weeks later the Jaguars will have those three extra days of rest when they host the Redskins, having played on Thursday in Week 14.

They lose a day relative to their opponents coming off of those Monday night games against the Saints and Eagles. The Redskins get an extra day prior to visiting the Giants in Week 8 as New York has a Monday night game in Week 7. 

So far, that comes to minus-one in rest disparity. That will remain in place if they play the Titans on Sunday, December 23. If the game is flexed to Saturday, they will gain a day of rest on the Eagles in Week 17, zeroing out the rest disparity for the season. 

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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.