The Redskins are going into 2015 in worse shape regarding the salary cap than they were a year ago. But if we take general manager Bruce Allen at his word that “free agency is not going to be your solution” they still should have plenty of room to operate and start the process of improving on their 4-12 record.
During a press conference on Wednesday, Allen said that depending on where the NFL sets the final cap number they will have “at least $20 million” in salary cap space.
A year ago they had just under $30 million in cap space.
Allen’s number seems a bit high from what is known about the Redskins’ cap situation but it’s in the ballpark. If we work with the assumption that they have no cap room to carry over from 2014 (all indications are that they got through Week 17 on fumes) and that the salary cap set by the NFL is $140 million it looks like they have around $15 million in cap space.
But it’s possible that Washington will get back some salary cap credits if there were some unearned incentives in 2014 contracts. And the salary cap could end up going north of that $140 million mark. Some combination of those two factors could push the Redskins over the $20 million mark in available cap space.
Working with the total cap number of $140 million and a Redskins cap space figure of around $15 million, the Redskins are at a substantial disadvantage compared to some of the teams that they will be competing for players against. There are 10 teams that will have twice as much cap space as Washington. Some of the teams that are over the $30 million mark in cap space will be picking near the top of the draft, teams like the Jaguars, Raiders, Jets, Bucs, and Titans. Some others, however, are continuing their seasons in the playoffs—the Colts, Bengals, and Broncos.
There are six teams with between $20 million and $30 million in cap space. The Redskins and their three NFC East rivals are all in the group of seven teams with between $10 million and $20 million.
There are nine teams who have less than $10 million in cap room including three—the 49ers, Cardinals, and Saints—who currently are over the estimated cap. New Orleans is in the worst shape, standing about $20 million over the limit.
Like most teams, Redskins have the ability to create more space through restructuring contracts and releasing players. They also have some of their own players with expiring contracts they would like to bring back, although none of them should command a large contract.
Over the next couple of weeks we’ll go through the Redskins position by position and look at the salary cap situation including what moves they might make to create more cap space and some players they should try to lock up before the become free agents. We get underway on Monday.