The Redskins don’t have any breathing room under the NFL salary cap and Bruce Allen said that the team needs to create some.
Allen confirmed that the team has around $2 million in cap space remaining and that’s not enough. “Obviously we’re going to have some injuries during the year that will eat that up,” he said. “We’re going to make those adjustments and look at different options after the third preseason game.”
The probably need about another $2 million in cap space to cover players on injured reserve, handle any injury settlements that come along, and to pay their practice squad players. What options does the team have available? There are many ways to skin that cat; here are a few of the possibilities.
The most straightforward way to reduce you salary cap expenditures is to release a high-priced player. The player who seems to be the most likely candidate here is Stephen Bowen. Since it is after June 1, the major portion of unaccounted for bonus money on his contract would not hit the cap until 2015. Releasing Bowen, who has been battling to get off of the PUP list after undergoing microfracture surgery last year, would save $4.4 million in cap space.
Bowen could also be asked to take a reduction in his salary this year. He would have to agree to do so but the team could present options where he either takes a reduction in pay or gets released.
Yes, the NFL can be a cold, hard business. The team could soften the blow by giving Bowen an opportunity to earn back part or all of the amount of his reduction in pay by putting in some incentives.
Bowen is the only player making a significant amount of money who is not in the team’s plans as either a starter or as a top reserve. If they don’t do something with his contract there are other options.
They could also restructure a player’s contract to reduce the cap hit this year while increasing it in future years. Pierre Garçon is a possible candidate here. They could convert some of his $7.1 million salary to signing bonus and spread the cap hit out over the three remaining years on his deal.
The team could also try to negotiate a contract extension with Trent Williams, a move that could possibly reduce his cap hit of nearly $11 million this year. But that might be difficult to get done in the next couple of weeks and the cap savings could be minimal.
Allen and company will figure out a way to get it done but there are no easy choices. Perhaps they will end up creating the space with a series of smaller moves rather than with a dramatic stroke. We should find out in the next few weeks.