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How much cap space will the Redskins need to sign their draft picks?

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How much cap space will the Redskins need to sign their draft picks?

After signing Josh Norman, the Redskins go into the draft with about $4.2 million in salary cap space. They will need a chunk of that to pay their draft picks but perhaps not as much as you might think.

Going into tonight’s first round the Redskins have eight picks. They have one in each of the first six rounds and two in the seventh. Thanks to the rookie salary slotting system, we know with a reasonable amount of accuracy what the 2016 cap hit will be for the contracts of each of those players.

Their top pick is the 21st overall. That player will carry a $1.84 million cap hit this year according to Overthecap.com. Here are the cap hits for each of the other picks currently held by the Redskins, rounded to the nearest $1,000.

Round (overall)-Cap hit

2 (53)-$804,000
3 (84)-$629,000
4 (120)-$585,000
5 (158)-$509,000
6 (187)-$484,000
7 (232)-$469,000
7 (242)-$466,000

The 2016 cap hits for the eight draft picks the Redskins have total $5.8 million. If you subtract that from the $4.2 million available you get a team that looks like it is $1.6 million in the hole.

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 have to be under the NFL salary cap of $155.27 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.

That means that when you add a player into the top 51 you drop the player with the lowest cap hit. So when the Redskins sign their first-round draft pick, OLB Desmond Bishop, who has a cap hit of $600,000, will drop out of the top 51, so you subtract his money from the cap total. So that $1.84 million deal counts a net of just $1.24 million.

When the second- and third-round picks are signed, they also will replace players who also have cap numbers of $600,000, making their net cap hits $204,000 and $29,000, respectively.

And when the draftees from the fourth round on sign with cap numbers of less than $600,000, they will be outside of the top 51 so they will not count against the offseason cap number at all.

If you add up the cap hits from the first three rounds, the only draftees who will count anything against the cap, it comes to $3.273 million. But then you subtract out $1.8 million ($600,000 X 3) for the cap hits removed due to the Rule of 51, the net is $1.43 million.

Subtract that from the $4.2 million and you get about $2.8 million in remaining cap space. They can fit their draft picks under the cap pretty easily.

What if they make trades? The net cap hit could go up or down some but when all of the adding and subtracting is done, unless they do something crazy like trade next year’s first-round pick for a second-rounder this year there really won’t be any significant difference. They will still be able to sign their picks and have some money left over.

To be sure, $2.8 million isn’t really enough to get through the season with the possible need to pay players on injured reserve and pay their practice squad. But they have a few moves in their pocket that they can pull out to do that when they need to.

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Why Santana Moss believes the Redskins have 'something brewing' at wide receiver

Why Santana Moss believes the Redskins have 'something brewing' at wide receiver

Where you see a lack of proven threats at wide receiver for the Redskins, Santana Moss actually sees an opportunity for the team to really surprise at that position.

During an appearance on 106.7 The Fan's Chad Dukes vs. The World this week, the Burgundy and Gold legend explained that he thinks Washington's free agency approach means they're far more confident in their wideouts than anyone else is.

"They have something going on, something brewing with some of those receivers, that they're gonna do something a little differently," Moss said. "I don't know. I'm just saying that's what I'm thinking, because I see how people play chess sometimes."

Moss should know when the Redskins are up to something, considering his past. 

In 2012, Mike Shanahan and the franchise gave no real indication that they'd be running a read-option and pistol-based offense during training camp and the preseason. Then, Week 1 came around and Robert Griffin III lit up the Saints and many other opponents after that with a scheme that seemed to come out of nowhere.

Moss was a part of that roster, meaning he has a true grasp of what it's like to be among a group that has "something brewing." And he's getting those same vibes when it comes to the 2020 Redskins. 

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"I'm just looking forward to whatever they might do," he said.

Rivera and Scott Turner certainly have a lot of options to choose from. Terry McLaurin should be the star again, but after him, there's the intriguing Steven Sims, the physical Kelvin Harmon, the raw yet well-regarded Antonio Gandy-Golden (whom Moss especially likes) and then the versatile Antonio Gibson, who could get involved in many ways.

In fact, Moss believes that crew is talented enough to make up for what's maybe the weakest spot on the entire depth chart.

"I think they have something planned for the guys that they have that's going to allow them to not have to lean so much on a tight end," he told 106.7 The Fan.

Would this entire situation be better if the organization was able to land Amari Cooper? Duhhhhhhhhhh. Everything at receiver would be more definite considering how successful Cooper's been as a pro, instead of all the potential-based discussions that are happening with the current collection of pass catchers.

Cooper remains a Cowboy, though, and the Redskins will proceed with their young corps. In Moss' mind, that's completely fine. In a few months, everyone else will get to find out whether it really is.

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Ryan Kerrigan will play less in 2020 but could produce much more

Ryan Kerrigan will play less in 2020 but could produce much more

The Redskins drafted Chase Young with the second overall pick and reality dictates that the rookie will take snaps away from veteran pass rusher Ryan Kerrigan.

That could actually be good news for Kerrigan.

For the first nine years of his NFL career, Kerrigan never missed a game. That’s incredible. In 2019, his streak of 139 straight starts ended as a concussion and a heel injury forced him to miss four games.

Expected back fully healthy this fall, the question now becomes what will Kerrigan’s role be in a crowded group of pass rushers that includes Young as well as 2019 first-round pick Montez Sweat.

"You're fired up for having all of these guys, but then they can't all go on the field at the same time," Redskins defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio said about his glut of pass rushers. "So that is part of it, like being able to deal with that aspect of it, having guys understand, 'Hey, you're not going to play all the time.' Or, 'You're not the starter.' Those are things to me, that always get settled best with competition and once guys earn what they've earned I think everybody in the room pretty much understands that."

Here’s the thing - even at 31 Kerrigan keeps himself in elite physical shape. He’s two years removed from a 13-sack season and in three of the previous four seasons he registered at least 11 sacks.

Even though he logged just 5.5 sacks last year, the four-time Pro Bowler can still play, and in the new defensive scheme Del Rio and head coach Ron Rivera intend to deploy, Kerrigan can play to his strengths too.

"We're going to ask our guys to be more penetrating and disruptive," Del Rio said. 

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For the first time in his career Kerrigan likely won’t be the focal point of the Redskins defensive front. In fact, with Young, Sweat, Ryan Anderson and a gang of talent rushing from the interior like Daron Payne, Jonathan Allen and Matt Ioannidis, Kerrigan might be a bit of an afterthought.

That’s a great place for him to be.

Focused just on rushing the passer and without being asked to chase running backs and tight ends downfield in pass coverage, Kerrigan can play to his strengths. And strength is his strength.

"The other part about coaching is kind of keep guys out of positions that they're not good at," Del Rio said. "Accentuate the positives and try and keep your guys out of situations that they are not good in and put them in more of the situations that they are good at."

If offensive tackles are constantly dealing with the speed and athleticism of Sweat and Young, then Kerrigan comes in for clear passing situations with his patented bull rush and rip move, the results could be formidable.

Of course 2020 has also become a contract year for Kerrigan. The previous regime might have already worked toward an extension, but Rivera has been clear since his arrival in January that things will be run differently.

It’s possible with consecutive first-round picks spent on pass rushers that Rivera does not consider Kerrigan part of his long-term rebuild. The opposite is also possible, that Rivera will want Kerrigan around for the long haul as a third-down pass rusher and veteran leader for the team. Kerrigan doesn’t say much but he works extremely hard on the practice field and in the weight room. That has a lot of value.

Questions for 2021 aren’t important yet. Kerrigan can go out and prove Washington needs him next year with solid play this year.

There will be fewer snaps, that’s obvious, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be production.

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