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Need to Know: Looking ahead at the Redskins' 2018 salary cap situation

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, October 5, 10 days before the Washington Redskins play the 49ers at FedEx Field.


Today’s schedule: Bye week  

Days until:

—Monday night Redskins @ Eagles (10/23) 18
—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 24
—Redskins @ Seahawks (11/5) 31

Looking ahead at the 2018 salary cap

Normally we start looking forward to the upcoming opponent here this time of week. But with the bye week here, it’s a good time to look further forward, to the coming offseason. Today it’s a look at the Redskins’ 2018 salary cap situation. Friday we’ll sort out the Redskins’ pending free agents and see who the priorities will be.

The news for the Redskins 2018 salary cap is very positive. According to, they have $119.3 million in expenditures committed (for now, anyway) to players in 2018. This mostly consists of salaries, prorated bonuses,  incentive bonuses that are considered likely to be earned, and about a half a million dollars in dead cap money. The dead money comes from prorated bonus charges for three players who were released during their rookie contracts, RB Matt Jones, G Arie Kouandjio, and WR Robert Davis.

The 2017 cap is undetermined at the moment. Based on the growth patterns over the last several years, Over the Cap estimates that the number will be $178 million. It could be a few million higher or lower but as you’ll see that won’t matter a whole lot to the Redskins.

Subtract the expenditures from the cap number and you get a total of $58.8 million in cap space. But, wait, there’s more.

The Redskins have a shade over $6 million in cap space remaining in 2017. That will diminish by the time the season is over but they still should have $5 million or so left. They can roll that over to 2018, which would give them just about $64 million in space to work with.

It’s hard to tell you where that ranks in the NFL as the rollover amounts are not calculated in until after the season ends. But it’s safe to say that not too many other teams, maybe ten or so, will have more working capital in the offseason than Washington.

There are ways to create more cap space. However, unlike in past years the Redskins do not have an extensive list of potential cap casualties who could create significant cap space. Of the 10 players with the biggest 2018 cap hits, the only ones who could make a big difference in cap space by being cut are core members of the team—Josh Norman, Trent Williams, Ryan Kerrigan, and Jordan Reed. Of course, things can change between now and the end of the season but as of right now there are very few potential money-saving moves.

They can restructure some of those deals to push money from 2018 into future years but the team doesn’t like to use that tactic unless it’s necessary. With that much cap space it shouldn’t be needed. They also could ask some veterans to take pay cuts. It’s too early to make a guess as to who might be on that list.

It should be noted that the Redskins have only 40 players under contract so a chunk of that cap space will go to building the roster up to 53. They also have a lot of free agents, including a quarterback who will be very expensive to re-sign (and if they don’t bring him back, his replacement will be costly). We’ll look at those free agents here tomorrow.

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

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