The Redskins have found their offensive and defensive coordinators and they are ready to get on with the business portion of the offseason.
The big question between now and the middle of March is how they will divvy up their $62 million in cap space.
Here we’ll take a position-by-position look at the cap situation and explore some of the Redskins’ options.
Up first was the offensive tackle position. Today the focus is on the interior offensive line.
Cap info via www.OverTheCap.com
The Redskins currently have five interior O-linemen under contract.
— G Brandon Scherff, 2017 cap hit $5.8 million, under contract through 2018
— G Shawn Lauvao, $5 million, through 2017
— C Kory Lichtensteiger, $4.5 million, through 2017
— C Spencer Long, $853,450, through 2017
— G Arie Kouandjio, $745,400, through 2018
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—Scherff is halfway through his four-year rookie contract. His cap hit goes up to $6.7 million in 2017. After that, things get sticky. The Redskins do have a fifth-year option on Scherff. As a top-10 pick Scherff would be entitled to a salary that is the average of the top 10 salaries of all offensive linemen. That will come to over $11 million. One would think that the Redskins will try to negotiate a new deal with Scherff after this season so they don’t have to face that decision. But because the Redskins will face a choice in 2019 of either paying Scherff the $11 million or letting him become a free agent, the situation could get sticky.
—Lauvao is in the final season of the four-year free agent contract he signed in 2014. Predicting that he will be cut is an annual tradition among Redskins fans. He was the starter all year and it’s hard to see a team $62 million under the cap move on from him for cap savings. Even if Kouandjio or another player beats him out for the starting job there is a good chance he sticks around as depth.
—Talk of cutting Lichtensteiger also is an annual event. This might be the year. He lost his starting job to Long due to injury but he didn’t get it back when he was healthy. It’s pretty easy to see them moving on from him and saving $3.5 million in cap space. Another possibility would be for Lichtensteiger to agree to a cut in his base pay and to be able to make it up with incentives like per-game roster bonuses and escalators based on snaps played.
—Long has completed the third year of his rookie contract, making him eligible for an extension. It would not be surprising to see the Redskins try to lock their starting center up for the next several years.
Positional spending (full O-line)
2016: Redskins $26.2 million, 11th in NFL
2017: $34 million, 7th in NFL
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Adding and subtracting:
— If they do an extension for Long the terms should be fairly easy to settle on. Travis Frederick of the Cowboys is the on top of the average annual value list at $9.4 million and the perennial Pro Bowl contenders like Alex Mack and Mike Pouncey are in the $8-$9 million range. Long clearly isn’t in that category. If he signs an extension he should settle into the $6-$7 million range over four years with around $8 million guaranteed.
— If Lichtensteiger does indeed get cut the Redskins will be looking for a backup center. John Sullivan was signed last year after Lichtensteiger went on injured reserve. Sullivan played well, starting one game and playing most of another when Long was injured. The nine-year veteran might want to find an opportunity to start elsewhere. If not the Redskins could be amenable to bringing him back.
— Kouandjio is inexpensive depth. He struggled in an early-season start when Lauvao was out but he did better in a late-season start. The Redskins may try to bring in some competition in the draft or with a minimum salary veteran signing.
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