The Redskins face a significant hurdle for 2019 as quarterback Alex Smith will carry a $20 million charge on their salary cap, regardless if he plays a single snap or not.
Many fans think the team should have some recourse to get the money off the cap, as a recent report stated the Redskins are preparing for next season as Smith won't be on the field.
News flash: That won't happen.
There is no NFL bailout coming for Washington to get out of the remaining cash on Smith's contract, either in 2019 or 2020. NFL deals center on guaranteed money, and the definition of guaranteed is that it happens no matter what.
Perhaps there are contract mechanisms that could spread out the money, but until the 'Skins know that Smith definitively will not ever come back from the broken leg sustained last November, don't expect that to happen either.
Yes, some veterans will restructure their contracts to add years on the back end of a deal to spread out the guaranteed money. But Smith's situation hardly seems like the type where either party would add years to the back end of his deal.
Some fans wonder if the 'Skins could do a true salary dump trade, similar to what Houston did with Brock Osweiler a few years back. The Texans sent Osweiler and his $16 million salary to Cleveland, but it required throwing in a second-round pick as well.
Salary dump trades happen all the time in other sports, but rarely in the NFL. Draft picks are much more important in a league with 53-man rosters, and cap space is more precious.
For the Redskins to dump Smith's salary via trade, first they would have to find a willing partner that would have space for his contract the next two seasons. That requires a team in an extreme rebuild mode, and it's hard to see a team in that situation.
Also, what would the compensation be from Washington? At least a first-round pick, and probably more. When Houston dumped Osweiler, it was only a one-year deal worth $16 million, and moving that meant giving up a 2nd-rounder. Smith has at least two years left and more than $50 million due!
There is a nuclear option.
The Redskins could cut Smith now, take a massive cap hit this season and then move on in 2020. Don't expect that though.
Redskins team president Bruce Allen told reporters last week at the Senior Bowl that he believes his club is close to competing on a high level in the NFL. Eat $50 million on the cap, and this team won't compete in 2019. In 2018, the Redskins were in first place of the NFC East more than halfway through the year, and FedEx Field still wasn't full. What will the stands look like if the team can't even fill out their roster due to a crazy salary cap hit?
Face the facts Skins fans. A bailout isn't coming. A trade seems highly unlikely. They won't flip the nuclear switch.
Smith will likely sit out 2019, and the team and quarterback will reconvene for the 2020 season.
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