The Redskins acquisition of Andre Roberts, who was released today, started to go wrong before it ever really had much of a chance to go right.
Less than a month after the Redskins signed the former Cardinal as a free agent, giving him a four-year deal worth $16 million with $8 million guaranteed, the Eagles released DeSean Jackson and the Redskins pounced on him. Roberts immediately was demoted from No. 2 receiver to No. 3.
He still played a lot at slot receiver but he was not the weapon that the Redskins envisioned. In 2014 Roberts had problems catching the ball. Quarterbacks targeted him 73 times and he caught just 36 passes and he was charged with seven drops. Things got worse in 2015 as he played in just nine games and caught 11 passes for 135 yards. His season ended early as he was placed on injured reserve
Hoping to get some more value out of Roberts they used him as their primary punt and kickoff returner. Roberts averaged just 7.4 yards per punt return and his only notable big play came on a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown last year against the Panthers.
With his base salary increasing to $4 million this year, it was somewhat surprising that Roberts survived on the roster through the free agency period. After the Redskins took Josh Doctson in the first round of the draft the release of Roberts seemed to be inevitable and just a matter of time.
The expectation is that the Redskins will designate Roberts as a post June 1 release. If that is the case they will save a net of $4 million in salary cap space this year with the remaining $1 million of his prorated signing bonus charge going to 2017 as a dead cap charge.
According to the rules of releasing a player with the June 1 designation the players contract stays on the books until after June 1 so the Redskins will not realize any savings until then if they did utilize the designation.
Should they handle the Roberts release as a regular release they will save a net of $3 million this year with no charges going to 2017. The savings would become available immediately.
In any case, the move removes Roberts’ 2017 salary of $4 million from the books, increasing their future available cap space.
According to www.OvertheCap.com the Redskins had $1.2 million in 2016 cap space prior to the Roberts move. If the June 1 designation was used, at the start of next month they will gain the $4 million from Roberts. They already are slated to add $8 million in cap space due to the release of Chris Culliver with a June 1 designation. That will send them into the summer with $13.2 million in cap space.
They already have taken care of one of their top offseason priorities in signing Jordan Reed to a contract extension. All of the draft picks have signed with the exception of third-round pick Kendall Fuller, who will cost only a minimal amount of net cap space.
They also would like to sign Kirk Cousins to a long-term extension. That is a move that likely will save 2016 cap space, however, since Cousins already counts $19.95 million against the cap this year and a new deal likely would cost less than that.