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.
Cap info via www.OverTheCap.com
The Redskins currently have these linebackers under contract.
—Ryan Kerrigan, 2017 cap hit $11.7 million, under contract through 2020
—Mason Foster, $2 million, through 2017
—Preston Smith, $1.6 million, through 2018
—Trent Murphy, $1.4 million, through 2017
—Junior Galette, $800,000, through 2017
—Zach Vigil, $615,000, through 2017
—Houston Bates, $615,000, through 2017
—Lynden Trail, $465,000, through 2018
—Pete Robertson, $465,000, through 2018
—Khairi Fortt, $540,000, through 2018
—Rufus Johnson, $540,000, through 2018
—Martrell Spaight, $674,000, through 2018
—Steven Daniels, $484,000, through 2019
Free agents: Will Compton (restricted), Terence Garvin
—Kerrigan is in the second year of the five-year, $57.5 million extension he signed in 2015. His cap number ramps up to $13.9 million in 2019 before dropping to $11.8 million in the final year of the deal.
—Foster signed a two-year deal a year ago after spending most of the 2015 season with the Redskins after joining them during the season. He will be a free agent at age 29 next year.
—Galette spent the 2016 season on the non-football injury list so the incentive-laden contract he signed last year tolls over to this season. He and the Redskins may tweak some aspects of the contract but it is likely to remain mostly as it is, a one-year deal with a low base salary, incentives for sacks and per-game roster bonuses.
—Murphy is eligible for a contract extension but it may not happen. After he broke out with an eight-sack season in 2016 he might want to bet that he can negotiate a better deal in a year if he can get into double-digit sack territory.
—Smith has completed two years of his rookie deal. He will be eligible for a new deal in a year. More consistency could help him earn a nice extension.
2016: $16.8 million, 15th in NFL
2017: $22.4 million, 8th in NFL
Adding and subtracting:
Compton almost certainly will be back. They will either give him a restricted free agent tender with a right to match any offers at a cost of around $1.3 million or sign him to a two- or three-year deal with some money up front. In either case, it’s unlikely that he will be going anywhere.
Garvin was on a one-year deal last year. He’s 26 and if he wants to return on a similar, near-minimum deal the Redskins will give him a chance to compete for the same role on special teams and as a reserve inside linebacker.
More Redskins: Redskins can't count on free agency to improve
Will the Redskins add any linebackers? Given Galette’s injury history, with two torn Achilles tendons in the last two years, they could be on the lookout for an edge rusher in the draft. It seems unlikely that they will make any significant free agent expenditures at either linebacker spot in the free agent market.
They could look at an upgrade at inside linebacker if one is there in the draft. They have spent some draft resources there in the last couple of years, taking Spaight in the fifth round in 2015 and Daniels in the seventh last year. But if there is an inside backer who could be a dynamic playmaker the Redskins could pull the trigger.
If Galette, Murphy, and Smith all have breakout years in 2017, the Redskins will have a problem. A good problem, mind you, but still a problem. They can afford to give only two linebackers big contracts. Kerrigan has one so they would have to choose one of the other three to keep and likely let the other two walk.
Salary cap outlook series