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Need to Know: Washington Redskins' cap space dwindling but they have some options

Need to Know: Washington Redskins' cap space dwindling but they have some options

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, March 12, 37 days before Washington Redskins start offseason workouts on April 17.  

Timeline

Days until:

—NFL Draft (4/27) 46
—Redskins OTAs start (5/24) 73
—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/15) 125
—First Sunday of 2017 season (9/10) 182

Redskins’ cap space dwindling but more can be created

The Redskins have not gone after any big names in the opening few days of free agency but they are getting a little low on cap space.

The biggest chunk of cap space was consumed by Kirk Cousins’ $23.9 million franchise tag. That counted against the cap from the moment it was applied. When Cousins signed it on Friday it became fully guaranteed.

The Redskins have signed five unrestricted free agents including one of their own in Vernon Davis. They also tendered two restricted free agents. Will Compton got the low tender while Chris Thompson got a tender that would trigger a second-round pick as compensation if the Redskins chose not to match an offer sheet.

Here are the 2017 cap charges of those free agents:

Terrelle Pryor $6 million
Terrell McClain $3.7 million
Vernon Davis $3.3 million
D.J. Swearinger $3.3 million
Stacy McGee $3.2 million
Chris Thompson $2.7 million
Will Compton $1.8 million

This leaves the Redskins with $14.3 million in cap space. They probably need to set aside $5 million to sign a defensive lineman such as Bennie Logan, who visited yesterday. A team wants to plan on have around $5 million in cap space going into the season to cover players on injured reserve and practice squad salaries. The also will need about $2 million to sign their draft picks (for guidance on how they will be able to sign about 10 players with $2 million in net cap space see this from last year) That leaves them with about $2.3 million to work with.

If they want some additional flexibility they do have options. If they sign another defensive lineman they would have to look hard at the $3 million they could save by moving on from Ricky Jean Francois. It seems that regardless of any other moves they will either release safety DeAngelo Hall, saving $4.25 million or negotiate a reduction in his $4.25 million salary.

There has been talk of moving on from guard Shawn Lauvao, a move that would save $4 million. But the organization may be hesitant to do that until they have a solid replacement for him. He may or may not be around in Week 1 but if they move on from it it likely will be during OTAs at the earliest and perhaps during training camp. 

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 5.0

The biggest chunk of savings could come from changing Cousins’ franchise tag into a long-term deal. The prospects for being able to strike a deal are very uncertain but if they do manage to get one done a contract possibility outlined here would reduce Cousins’ cap hit to $15 million, creating $9 million in cap space.

The Redskins don’t like to restructure contracts, deals that give players with large salaries some or all their money up front, converting their salaries to signing bonuses, and pushing some of the cap charges into future seasons.

For example, they could restructure Trent Williams’ deal and cut him a check for most of his $11.25 million salary and convert it to signing bonus. That would save them about $8 million but it would increase his cap number by about $2.5 million in each of the three remaining years of his contract. Again, they don’t like to do it but it is a tool that is available to them should an emergency or opportunity arise.

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Charley Casserly learned a lot from the late Bobby Mitchell

Charley Casserly learned a lot from the late Bobby Mitchell

As the Washington Redskins family continues to mourn the passing of the legendary Bobby Mitchell, former GM Charley Casserly weighed in on how much he took away from knowing Mitchell.

“Bobby Mitchell was a dear friend and mentor to me during my time with the Washington Redskins,” Casserly begins. “He took me under his wing. He taught me scouting.”

Casserly first met Mitchell when the former was just an intern getting his start in the business. Rather than push him aside, Mitchell imparted upon Casserly the importance of attitude and demeanor.

“He taught me how to be a professional in the workplace,” the former GM continued. “He cared about people in the community. That’s what, to me, separated him from many other people.”

Mitchell’s longest-lasting impact is his role as one of the first players of color to integrate the Redskins back in 1962, but his role as a mentor and friend to so many in the Washington area lives on as well.

As Casserly says, Mitchell is sorely missed already.

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Brian Mitchell was 'truly impressed' by Redskins legend Bobby Mitchell: Great football player, better human being

Brian Mitchell was 'truly impressed' by Redskins legend Bobby Mitchell: Great football player, better human being

Hall of Famer Bobby Mitchell died on Sunday at the age of 84, according to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Mitchell, who became the first black player on the Redskins when he was traded to Washington in 1962, had a significant impact on another former Redskin, Brian Mitchell, both on and off the field. 

“He was a great football player but I think 25,000 times more of a human being,” said Brian, who was drafted by the Redskins in 1990. 

As Brian grew closer with the Hall of Famer, he was especially impressed by his efforts to fight for equality in the African American community.

“I knew that he was the first African American to come to D.C. and play, but then when I began to find out more about him he was the guy that was out there fighting, a social activist, doing things to help out our black community, which truly truly impressed me,” Brian expressed.

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Brian took great pride in not only knowing the Hall of Famer but having the same last name. 

“I remember someone asking if I was a relative and he said 'no.' And then he told me, he said ‘every time you ran another touchdown, I was like he’s a cousin. Oh, that’s my boy, that’s my son,” Brian said. 

To this day Brian strives to be as influential as Bobby was.

“This one man who did so much had so much impact on so many people throughout this community, it said a lot to me. He’s going to be sorely missed. We love you Bobby, take care,” Brian said.

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