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Need to Know: It turns out the Redskins needed that $15 million of cap space they rolled over

Need to Know: It turns out the Redskins needed that $15 million of cap space they rolled over

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, March 16, 42 days before the April 27 NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/17) 32
—Redskins rookie camp (5/12) 57
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 69
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 121
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 178

Three and out

It was one of last year’s mysteries. Why did the Redskins leave around $15 million in unspent cap space sitting there when they still had some needs to be filled, especially on the defensive line?

We now know. They need the money this year.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 5.0

The Redskins rolled that cap space—$15,305,065 to be exact—over into this year. That gave them around $59 million in cap space before the new league year started. Kirk Cousins’ franchise tag put a $24 million dent in that. Then as the negotiating period and league year got going, they added some free agent contracts, none of them anything close to being a blockbuster deal:

Player—2017 cap charge

Terrelle Pryor—$6 million
Vernon Davis—$3.3 million
Terrell McClain—$3.7 million
D.J. Swearinger—$3.3 million
Stacy McGee—$3.2 million

They did get some cap money added back in, mostly from the retirement of Kory Lichtensteiger and yesterday’s release of Ricky Jean Francois.

After all of that, without retaining Pierre Garçon, DeSean Jackson, and Chris Baker, the Redskins have about $17.2 million in salary cap space left. The math says that they would have only $2.2 million left if they had not saved the money last year to roll over into this year. That’s about what they will need to sign their draft picks.

The need to squirrel some cash away was not hard to foresee. The organization wanted the flexibility to franchise tag Kirk Cousins again. On top of that, the structures of the contracts of Josh Norman and Trent Williams were such that each multi-year deal reaches its peak in 2017. Between those two and Cousins, the top three cap hits on the team total $59 million, 35.3 percent of the $167 million cap. That is a very top heavy structure and rolling over money from 2016 has helped them deal with it.

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins need to turn free agency focus to their own

They won’t end the 2017 season with that $17 million in unspent cap money. As noted, they need to spend some their draft picks. The Redskins still have to find a way to upgrade their defensive line, whether it’s from getting a recognizable player like Dontari Poe or Jonathan Hankins or with some more obscure names. They can invest some of it in contract extensions for eligible players like Spencer Long and Morgan Moses. They will want to go into the season with around $5 million to cover paying the practice squad and players on injured reserve.

As it turns out the $15 million that they rolled over was needed. They would be very tight against the cap and likely forced to restructure some contracts, a method that creates cap room in the current year by pushing money into future seasons. That creates cap problems down the road.

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I was asked if the Redskins are interviewing any GM candidates:

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

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Exploring the different scenarios between the Redskins and Trent Williams

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USA Today Sports

Exploring the different scenarios between the Redskins and Trent Williams

Training camp comes for the Redskins near the end of July, and in mid-June, not much looks overly worrisome. Except for the Trent Williams situation.

As fans well know, Williams missed all of mandatory minicamp amid reports that the seven-time Pro Bowl left tackle was upset with his contract. There are also reports that Williams is upset with the Redskins medical staff, and one report that the former Top 10 pick "vowed" never to return to Washington. 

That's serious stuff.

Jay Gruden rotated between calling Williams the Redskins best player and one of the team's most important players when the coach spoke about the situation during minicamp. Regardless of the exact assessment, Williams is obviously important to the Redskins plans for 2019, and how good the team can possibly become. 

Looking to the fall, there are a few probable outcomes for the Williams situation to end. Here's a look at the possibilities:

  1. Redskins trade Trent Williams - This seems like quite a long shot, but not impossible. Williams has started 119 games in Washington since 2010, but just two playoff games in that time. He's a very valuable player, one of the best offensive linemen in the NFL, and could obviously draw interest around the NFL. A trade seems quite unlikely, but if a contending team wanted to move for Williams, he might actually want to go. This doesn't seem likely until closer to Week 1, and it doesn't seem likely anyway. The Redskins won't be able to get close to equitable value for Williams on the trade market. 
  2. Redskins cut Trent Williams - There is zero chance this happens. Zero. ZEROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.
  3. Redskins make it work with Trent Williams - The reality of pro football doesn't bode great for Williams. He's under contract for two more seasons and the salary structure of the NFL means there isn't much money without game checks. All of that suggests Williams arrives for the Redskins somewhere in mid-August, perhaps after training camp in Richmond but well before Week 1 in Philadelphia. That doesn't mean, however, that the 'Skins couldn't make a goodwill offer to Williams. His deal in 2020 holds barely any guaranteed cash, and perhaps making more of his salary a certainty could help him come back to the fold. 
  4. Trent Williams never returns - This seems highly unlikely, but has been reported. Williams seems very angry at the Redskins medical staff based off his Instagram posts, and if he can't trust the doctors, maybe he can't play for the organization. Williams has made a tremendous amount of money during his NFL career, with nearly $100 million in career earnings, so never say never. 

 

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In addition to being an NFL player, Bryce Love can now call himself a Stanford graduate

In addition to being an NFL player, Bryce Love can now call himself a Stanford graduate

Bryce Love hopes he'll have the opportunity to carry many footballs in his NFL career. But this past weekend, the running back picked up something that'll be just as, if not more, valuable than the attempts he'll be getting on Sundays.

How's a college diploma from Stanford sound? Pretty solid, right?

Oh, how about a college diploma from Stanford in human biology? Yeah, probably something worth hanging up on the ol' fridge, huh?

Well, that very hard-earned and impressive degree is what Love is now in possession of:

Drafted by the Redskins in late-April and walking across the stage at Stanford in mid-June, Love is doing well for himself recently. He passed up the chance to enter the draft early to ensure he graduated, and now he has.

His college GPA isn't known, but once you find out his high school GPA was 4.5 (that's apparently possible) and add that to the fact that he was able to finish up school out west while also churning up yards for the Cardinal, you can imagine it was very, very good. And if his yards-per-carry average as a pro matches or exceeds it, then the Redskins will be thrilled.

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