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Need to Know: Looking ahead — The Redskins’ salary cap status

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Need to Know: Looking ahead — The Redskins’ salary cap status

Here is what you need to know on Wednesday, September 26, 12 days before the Washington Redskins visit the New Orleans Saints.  

Talking Points

It’s an early bye week so it’s kind of early to be doing a look at the Redskins’ 2019 salary cap.

But the bye is where it is so let’s take a look at what’s going on in the land of prorated bonuses and dead money for next year. 

All cap info is via Over The Cap

The cap for next year is expected to be around $190 million, an increase of slightly over seven percent. This is consistent with cap growth over the last several years. 

Using that number, the Redskins currently have $25.1 million in salary cap space for next year. That number may decline between now and the end of the year. It counts $10.4 million of rollover from this season. The amount they have to roll over could decline if the Redskins have to dip further into their 2018 cap money to sign more players to replace the ones on injured reserve. That can create a dent in the rollover amount. 

If that doesn’t sound like a lot of money, it isn’t. There are 22 other teams who will have more cap space than Washington. 

If the Redskins decide they need more cap room, there are a few routes they could take. One move that they are unlikely to make is to restructure contracts, pushing some cap money back into 2020 and beyond to create for immediate spending money. The organization has a history of avoiding doing this unless it becomes absolutely necessary. 

The more conventional way of saving cap room is to release high-priced veterans. Before the season started there was a lot of talk about the possibility that Josh Norman could be a cap casualty after this season. The last of the guaranteed money on his contract was paid out this year and the Redskins could save $8.5 million in cap space if they let him go. 

That talk was before the season started and now he is a key player in a defense that is playing well. There is a long way to go but the Redskins may want to hang on to Norman despite his $14.5 million cap number next year. 

There are other veterans who could be released to save anywhere from under one million dollars to around $6 million. There will be plenty of time to talk about those players when the season ends, and we can better estimate the value of their performances was compared to their cap costs. 

One other way they can create more cap space if by extending the contract of Brandon Scherff. He is due $12.5 million on his fifth-year option next year. All of that will hit the 2019 cap. If he and the Redskins agree to an extension that would keep him from becoming a free agent in 2020 they could structure it in such a way that it would create more cap space this year. 

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The Agenda

Today: Bye week

Upcoming: Redskins @ Saints (October 8) 12 days; Panthers @ Redskins 18; Cowboys @ Redskins 25

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One analyst gives a very dispiriting take on what the 2020 Redskins have at quarterback

One analyst gives a very dispiriting take on what the 2020 Redskins have at quarterback

No one will look at the Redskins' quarterback situation and call it superb or even settled, but with a slimmer and more experienced Dwayne Haskins positioned as starter and ex-Panthers signal caller Kyle Allen reuniting with his old staff as depth, fans can at least reasonably hope that things will work out under center in 2020.

NBC Sports analyst Josh Norris, though, doesn't envision a positive outcome for Washington's passers this year. During an interview on the Redskins Talk podcast, he explained why.

First, Norris gave his opinion on Allen. When the Burgundy and Gold initially acquired the former Carolina QB, some asserted that Allen would actually beat out Haskins for the top job. Norris, however, flat out doesn't believe Allen has that kind of talent.

"My lowest moment of 2019 was that two-month span where people tried to make Kyle Allen a starter in the NFL," Norris told Redskins Talk. "It was bogus. It was so ridiculous."

"I understand the production was there and he went on some starting streaks and they won some games," he continued. "But he's at best an NFL backup."

In the end, Norris compared Allen to Colt McCoy. Yes, most rosters need someone like McCoy — hell, he just left the area after a six-year run with the franchise and he's now a Giant, so he's clearly valued — but those kinds of guys aren't the ones coaches want running their offenses for more than a few quarters or so.

Now, here's the part where it gets dispiriting: While Norris doesn't think much of Allen — in addition to the McCoy comparison, Norris labeled Allen inaccurate and too susceptible to pocket pressure — he still expects him to start for team in 2020. That stems from Norris also doubting what Haskins will be able to do in his second season as a pro.

"We still don't know who he is," Norris said of the 2019 first-round pick.

LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW BELOW

Yes, Haskins improved as a rookie in a situation that was largely a catastrophe, so it's not crazy to conclude he should continue to ascend now that the organization is more settled. Norris himself acknowledged the growth Haskins made.

However, even with that maturation, as well as Norris' positive feelings about Ron Rivera, Scott Turner and many other aspects of Washington's potential turnaround, the analyst still sees a glaring weakness that'll directly affect Haskins and could contribute to a less-than-stellar campaign for No. 7.

"What is possibly the most important part of quarterback success is offensive line play, and I think it's fair to question the Washington Redskins' offensive line right now, especially the left tackle spot," Norris said.

In the end, Norris anticipates Haskins having issues for a certain number of weeks, Allen stepping in after and the Redskins overall being unhappy with their collective output at QB. 

"We've seen NFL storylines repeat themselves," he said. "A [staff] goes to a new organization and brings a quarterback that may not be starting caliber but understands exactly what they want to do and he ultimately ends up starting a handful of games because of that, because they want to stabilize the situation as much as possible."

How stable does that really sound? The answer, of course, is not at all. 

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Why Cam Newton remains unsigned, according to his former coach Ron Rivera

Why Cam Newton remains unsigned, according to his former coach Ron Rivera

As the calendar turns to June and most NFL teams have settled on the first phase of their roster makeup, one notable name remains on the market. Cam Newton, the former Carolina Panthers quarterback and 2015 league MVP, is still unsigned as the 2020 season fast approaches.

Despite his past success and dual-threat skills, the 31-year-old has not sparked much interest, specifically as a starter, from NFL teams. Why could that be? One person who may have an understanding of the factors contributing to Newton remaining off a roster is Redskins head coach Ron Rivera.

Rivera and Newton spent nine seasons together as the quarterback-head coach duo for the Carolina Panthers, a run that came to an end following the 2019 campaign. Rivera has a fresh start in Washington, and Newton is looking for the same after being released earlier this year. Barring a major change, it most likely won't come with the Redskins.

However, the head coach still has solid insight on the situation. Based on what Rivera knows about Newton and has seen from him in the past, he believes there is one major factor that has teams hesitant to bring him in: Health.

“I think that’s probably the biggest thing, more than anything else," Rivera said of Newton's injury concerns on Fox Sports' 'Fox Football Now' with Jay Glazer. "You’ve got to know. The foot and the shoulder will be the two biggest concerns everybody has."

As Rivera alluded to, there are question marks surrounding Newton following a 2019 season that saw him only appear in two games. Specifically, consistent shoulder problems have messed with throwing motion will continue to be a concern for any team interested in bringing him on. Nagging foot injuries don't help. 

Time off and surgery have been beneficial to his recovery process, but Rivera understands that it's hard to truly judge a player until you see him in action once again. However, he has heard some rave reviews of Newton's physical shape as of late.

"I will say this, though, from the people that are around him that I know, they’ve all said the same thing to me. They’ve said, ‘Coach, he looks great. He really does,'" Rivera said.

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Rivera added that it isn't just his physical presence that is encouraging, but his mindset as well. Being released from the team he spent his whole career with and took to the Super Bowl, coupled with doubt from others around the NFL, has given Newton a new edge.

"He’s a little bit different. His whole attitude -- he’s got something to prove," Rivera said he's heard.

Rivera's words are encouraging, but only time will tell where Newton ends up and when he'll get another chance to prove himself in the NFL. There is one thing Rivera knows: whenever that opportunity does arise, Newton will make the league remember just how talented he is.

"And I will say this -- the one thing about Cam Newton with an edge for something to prove, don’t ever bet against him.”

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