As of right now, the Redskins are among the poorer teams in the NFL when it comes to salary cap space. There are 23 NFL teams that have more space than Washington does right now. They will gain a big chunk of cap space when the release quarterback Robert Griffin III but they will spend all of it and possibly more to hold on to Kirk Cousins Yes, the Redskins can create more cap space by releasing some players and renegotiating some contracts. But so can the other 31 teams in the league.
But is not having much cap space necessarily a bad thing? General managers with money to spend might not have too many players worth spending it on. This is from a recent post on NFL.com:
So what does a general manager with money do this offseason? Theoretically, the "best" available free agents after franchise tags and long-term deals in the exclusive negotiation period, could be Broncos defensive tackle Malik Jackson and linebacker Danny Trevathan, Chargers safety Eric Weddle and Bears running back Matt Forte, though several talent evaluators are mixed on the safety market and Weddle's ceiling in particular.
So the top players available are a defensive lineman who wasn’t a full-time starter until 2015, an inside linebacker who has never been to a Pro Bowl and two veterans who are on the wrong side of 30. It doesn’t look like much to get excited about. And if that group represents the cream of the crop, well, it's pretty slim pickings all the way down the line.
So suppose you’re GM Jerry Reese, whose Giants have over $58 million in cap space to spend. New York is coming off of back-to-back 6-10 seasons and they are without a playoff appearance since 2011. The fan base is expecting him to spend to improve the team but what if spending isn’t likely have much of an impact on the team’s winning percentage?
"Whoever makes it to the market, makes it to the market," Reese said. "We have a little bit of money to spend this time, and we'll try to spend it wisely on the players that make it there. I'm sure they'll be plenty of players who don't make it, teams like to keep their best players. But whoever is out there, we'll try our best to try and get some of the best players available."
The best way to spend cap money is on retaining your own good players. But other than Cousins the Redskins don’t have any free agents they must keep. They might work out a contract extension with tight end Jordan Reed, who is slated to become a free agent in a year. But their other young, rising players, such as G Brandon Scherff, OLB Preston Smith, and CB Bashaud Breeland aren’t yet eligible to get new deals.
Anyone who has been paying attention to the Redskins since the advent of unfettered free agency in 1993 knows that they have had very limited success despite some very large expenditures. In many cases this year they may be better off getting their draft picks and other young players more playing time instead of plugging holes with free agents.
Sure, they will get some guys who can help out here and there. But not having much cap space in a year where you don’t have a lot of your own players you need to retain and the quality of the free agency pool is highly suspect may not be a bad thing.