The Redskins have $8.1 million in remaining cap space and 10 picks in the upcoming draft. At first glance it may look like it will be a tight squeeze but it really won’t be. Here’s why.
The Redskins top draft pick is the 17th overall selection. Due to the NFL’s rookie slotting system, we know that player will get a four-year contract worth $11.6 million (all salaries rounded to the nearest $1,000). The 2017 cap charge for that contract will be about $2.1 million (cap information via Over the Cap).
The Redskins’ next pick comes in the second round, the 49th pick overall. That deal will be cost $968,000 in 2017 cap space. Here are the remaining deals, rounded to the nearest $1,000.
Round 3 (81 overall)—$671,000
That totals $7.5 million (may not be exact due to rounding). If you subtracted that from the $8.1 million in remaining cap space the Redskins would not have enough cap space left to get through the season.
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But you don’t subtract nearly that much from the remaining cap space due to the Rule of 51. That rule applies during the offseason, from the start of the league year in March until Week 1 of the regular season. Teams must be under the NFL salary cap of $167 million during that time, but since they can carry up to 90 players on the roster they can’t count everyone towards the cap. So the rule is that only the top 51 cap hits on the roster count towards cap during the offseason. When a player is signed to a deal that would be in the top 51 cap hits, the player with the 51st-highest cap hit is taken out of the calculation.
So, when the Redskins sign their first-round draft pick, safety Earl Wolff, who has a cap hit of $615,000, will drop out of the top 51, so you subtract his money from the cap total. So that deal with the 2017 cap hit of $2.1 million counts a net of just $1.485 million.
Signing the second-round pick to that deal with the 2017 cap hit of $986,000 pushes A.J. Francis and his $615,000 cap number off the list so the net effect on available cap space is just $353,000.
The process continues through the third and both fourth-round picks. Then you get to the fifth-round pick. That cap number isn’t high enough to make it into the top 51 so it’s “free” for offseason salary cap purposes. The same applies to the rest of the draft picks.
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Going back up to the contracts that will count against the cap, the total 2017 cap charges for those is $4.989 million. Those five contracts will push players with total salaries of $3.075 million out of the cap calculation. That makes the net cap charge $1.914 million. That will be the amount of money subtracted from their available 2017 space.
That will leave the Redskins with about $6.2 million in cap space. They are likely to gain some more space with a renegotiation of DeAngelo Hall’s contract, which has a $4.25 million salary that is likely to be substantially reduced.
That would leave them with enough remaining cap space to get through the season and perhaps sign a player like Morgan Moses to a contract extension.