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Salary cap review: Redskins have flexibility on offensive line

Jan 20, 2014, 12:02 PM EST

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Salary cap review: Offensive line

As Jay Gruden continues to assemble his coaching staff, people in another part of the building at Redskins Park are looking forward to free agency and how best to utilize the approximately $28 million in cap space the Redskins have. Here we’ll take a position-by-position look at the cap situation and explore some of the Redskins’ options. Earlier we looked at wide receivers.

The Redskins currently have 11 offensive linemen under contract.

Name Base salary Cap number
Trent Williams $7,250,000 $10,985,198
Chris Chester $3,000,000 $4,300,000
Will Montgomery $2,625,000 $3,425,000
Kory Lichtensteiger $2,500,000 $3,300,000
Tyler Polumbus $1,000,000 $1,100,000
Josh LeRibeus $590,000 $764,081
Maurice Hurt $645,000 $645,000
Adam Gettis $570,000 $620,493
Tom Compton $570,000 $570,000
Kevin Kowalski $495,000 $495,000
Tevita Stevens $495,000 $495,000
$19,740,000 $26,699,772

—Williams has the highest cap number on the team. He was the fourth pick in the 2010 draft, the last one before the 2011 CBA put a lid on windfalls for top-10 picks. Fortunately for the Redskins he still represents a good value; about $11 million is the going rate for a Pro Bowl left tackle. The deal has one year left to run ($14.2 million cap number in 2015).

—Counting all of the linemen under contract, the Redskins’ total cap expenditure of $26.7 million on the offensive line ranks fifth in the NFL.

—The high expenditure on the line is due in part to Williams’ contract. The fact that under Mike Shanahan the team was unable to draft an offensive lineman who can start besides Williams is another major factor here. Considering that his zone-blocking scheme is supposed to be able to make starters out of lower-round picks, this has to be considered a major failure of Shanahan’s time here.

Adding and subtracting

Williams isn’t going anywhere. But the futures of Chester, Montgomery, Lichtensteiger, and Polumbus, who have played virtually every snap the last two years, could well depend on how Jay Gruden and Sean McVay judge their performances on film and if they are going to make any major changes to their basic blocking scheme.

The good news for the Redskins is that they will be dealing from a position of strength here. None of the four 2013 starters has a salary cap number that is unreasonably high so they can afford to keep any of them they want to. At the same time, the cap hit for releasing any of them should the team want to do so is also very manageable.

Here are the 2013 dead money totals and net cap hits for releasing those players:

Name Dead Money Cap savings
Chris Chester $1,600,000 $2,700,000
Will Montgomery $1,500,000 $1,925,000
Kory Lichtensteiger $2,200,000 $1,100,000
Tyler Polumbus $100,000 $1,000,000

This shows that the Redskins have a great deal of flexibility. They probably don’t want to keep any of the four as a backup with the exception of Polumbus (considering strictly salary cap factors here). If they bring in a relatively high-dollar player, somebody is probably going to have to go. But if they want to bring in competition from the draft or to let the veterans battle for their jobs with players who are already on the roster such as Compton, Gettis, or LeRibeus, their $29 million in cap room allows them to do so. They could choose to hold on to any of them and then make a move whenever they decide the time is right.

If the Redskins decide to stand pat on the line, they will be in good shape there, too. Polumbus is a free agent at the end of this season while all of the other linemen on the roster are under team control through 2015.

So, what are the Redskins going to do on the offensive line this offseason? Whatever they want to.

  1. Mario - Jan 20, 2014 at 12:59 PM

    It’s time for a new O.line keep Trent William

  2. redskinscaio - Jan 20, 2014 at 1:32 PM

    I hope Allen doesn’t cut any of these guys, they’re still under contract!!! Cutting guys with years left on their contracts is how the Redskins ended up in this mess in the first place. I should send Snyder my resume and show them how it’s done…geez
    I say keep all of them, they did well and it will be their third year playing together. The guys didn’t do a terrible job. The Skins need to bring back Hall and Orakpo. Upgrade the safety position with a one or two year deal, no more ridiculous long term deals. The NFL is just to physical and dangerous to give out long term contracts. If they don’t want it, fine let them walk….That’s what the draft is for.

    • Rich Tandler - Jan 20, 2014 at 1:59 PM

      Would be nice if all players could sign one- or two-year deals. But if other teams are offering more security then the players you want wouldn’t come here.

      • internetcareer - Jan 20, 2014 at 6:05 PM

        according to my calculations Skins could save some coin by dumping Chester and Montgomery and replacing them with Leribeus at center and then drafting the best guard in college….Cyril Richardson….PLUS the offensive line wouldn’t be so offensive then.

    • internetcareer - Jan 20, 2014 at 6:16 PM

      That’s right. Let’s live with Shanahan’s mistakes and the offensive line that helped get us 3 wins.

  3. redskinscaio - Jan 20, 2014 at 1:37 PM

    I would sign one pro bowl caliber interior offensive lineman and have Kory and Chester battle it out for the other spot, and even possibly rotate 2 bench guys….those 300lbs need breaks on 10-12 play drives in the second half…

    20 plus million is not that much when they still need to resign Orakpo and Hall, add a safety, rookies, and a new middle linebacker….

    If the SKins pick up a pro bowl caliber o lineman, they can trade a guy who is on their last year of their deal, that way their salary will not count against the cap next year…Can’t wait for the day the Skins will be able to draft in the first round again!!!!!

    • internetcareer - Jan 20, 2014 at 6:08 PM

      Kory and Chester could battle it out to decide which swinging door interior linemen will head to the bus station first. Then, I will drive the winner of that battle to the train station and he can go by rail.

  4. redskinscaio - Jan 20, 2014 at 1:40 PM

    I like Polumbus, he’s 6’8 300 plus pounds…a monster of a man and he’s only getting better….

    • Derrick Williams - Jan 23, 2014 at 6:17 PM

      Ummmmmmm maybe you didn’t see too much tape on Polumbus last year. Well let me make it easy for you. Just check out the 2 New York Giants games from this past season and tell me what you think of Polumbus

  5. redskinscaio - Jan 20, 2014 at 1:48 PM

    In my opinion, the biggest reason why the Skins went 3-13 last year was because 1) Shanahan didn’t start Kirk week 1. Kirk played in all the preseason games and did well…The previous year, RGIII played in all the preseason games, along with Alfred, so when the regular season started, they were already in game shape and acclamated to the pressure and speed of the game. This year, they came in cold…remember the first play from scrimmage this year?!! RGII toss to Alfred, fumble in the end zone…so bad….I would have played Kirk week one, and then eased RGIII in slowly in weeks two and three or until Kirk lost a game…
    2) Second reason why Skins went 3-13 was a terrible draft by Allen and company…. We drafted two running backs who didn’t contribute whatsoever, and why draft two running backs when the defense was in shambles??? We had Royster, Helu and Alfred…just terrible decision….then we drafted Reed in the third…We used a high pick on a TE when we had Paulson and Davis on the roster…Sure I like Reed and he did well, but the Skins had other holes to fill!

    • Rich Tandler - Jan 20, 2014 at 1:57 PM

      Thanks for the comment and welcome to the site. A couple of issues here. First, Cousins got injured in the second preseason game, didn’t play nearly as much as most starters do. Also, all of the last four drafts were a Shanahan production, he had final say in personnel. Not sure exactly who in the third round could have given the Redskins more than Reed did. As I noted in my post this morning, teams need multiple playmakers if they are going to win.

      • v6volume - Jan 20, 2014 at 2:38 PM

        Jordan Reed was actually the best player available on the board. It’s laughable that you would have passed on him because we already had Paulson and Fred David. Given that Reed missed significant time this season AND didn’t begin the season as a starter, he was behind only Pierre Garcon in passing yards..more than Moss, Robinson, Hankerson, Paulson, and Davis

  6. aanthonysow - Jan 20, 2014 at 4:21 PM

    As far as I’m concerned beyond Trent it would be nice to see most of these guys go. Polumbus is a walking turnstile. Chester should be a cap casualty, he also had a bad 2013. If Gruden goes with a bigger better Oline, then montgomery and ‘ Stiger are probably gone as well. This unit had success in zone blocking but horrible when entering short yardage and goal line situations. Pass blocking only worked when qb on the move, pocket passing is horrible. Skins need bigger guys to move the line and protect the qb.

    • Rio - Jan 20, 2014 at 7:19 PM

      That’s the key to success! A O.line that can handle there business,

  7. internetcareer - Jan 20, 2014 at 6:14 PM

    Why is this such a debatable topic? The Skins Interior offensive line simply cannot protect the QB and they get pushed back frequently. It’s not an opinion folks. All you have to do is watch the games. Why do you think they have so many stretch plays….because the interior doesn’t move. Draft CYRIL RICHARDSON and you automatically add one more Pro Bowl guard next to Trent Williams. Why in the heck do the Redskins continue to neglect the interior of the offensive line by bringing in REJECTS from other teams. The Skins have not used a 1st or 2nd round pick on the INTERIOR of the line since…..the civil war. Maybe that’s why we have this discussion EVERY YEAR.

    • Rich Tandler - Jan 20, 2014 at 6:55 PM

      Of course taking a guard with the 34th overall pick is debatable. One of SEA’s guards is a seventh-round pick. The other is a former third-round pick of the Raiders who they picked up on a two-year free agent deal that had about $750K guaranteed. The Broncos paid a little more, with Zane Beadles a second-rounder (45th overall) and Vasquez, a free agent with a cap number of about $3.5 million.

      So, in the Super Bowl you have a seventh, a second and two “rejects” from other teams.

      The idea of using the team’s top pick on a guard is very, very debatable.

  8. wmdskinsfan - Jan 20, 2014 at 6:58 PM

    Did Y’all watch any games this year? Greatly improving and protecting Robert is Job 1. I hope through FA we pick up two starters and get 1 quality draft pick. Some of these guys gotta go! Did you not notice the beating Robert took this year and how it affected his ability and confidence to throw from the pocket? Throw some money here first. Must protect that extremely high value player, with high value linemen. As to our imfamous (3) draft picks, if they are not making the game day roster this year, they should be cut before the season starts. Obvously that means we found better players.

    • ajbus1 - Jan 20, 2014 at 8:04 PM

      I agree. We need to draft lineman, both O and D, early and often. Ideally I’d like to see a top FA aquistition on o-line, hopefully someone to play right tackle, and be able to use the 34th pick on a WR. Then all lineman the rest of the draft. Assuming there’s decent ones available at our other picks.

      • wmdskinsfan - Jan 20, 2014 at 10:41 PM

        I’d like to try to pick up starter level RT and a tough Guard/Center in FA and draft 1 OL, if a good one is there. Deeper than 2nd Rd will probably mean … developing again. Same with WR maybe (though we draft near top of Rds) so that is a tough choice, but I agree they are the top 2 offensive positions. Could we get a starter at WR or OL top of 3rd Rd? Some think so. That’s my O plan :<) Get a DE in FA who can actually get push and draft a big (quality) NT mid Rds, slide Barry to DE and I'd be happy with our "lines" for this year. But that's me. if I were … GM.

  9. wmdskinsfan - Jan 20, 2014 at 7:03 PM

    Like many, I did not understand the Lichtensteiger multi-year contract, which caused this that Rich posted. Kory Lichtensteiger $2,200,000 $1,100,000.

    I love your site Rich. Always a wealth of accurate info.

    • Rich Tandler - Jan 20, 2014 at 7:10 PM

      Welcome and thanks. The worst part about the Steiger deal was that it was done before free agency started. It was essentially a no-bid contract. There is no way in the world that he would have been able to get a deal like that anywhere else. If you drafted two players at the position and they each have a year under their belts and you have to give him a deal like that you failed at drafting. Or at developing.

    • ajbus1 - Jan 20, 2014 at 7:53 PM

      This site is the best! And there’s no polofourme!

  10. ajbus1 - Jan 20, 2014 at 8:07 PM

    Hey Rich, when will there be a post on the secondary? I’m curious what your thoughts are on that group and what you think the chances are they bring in Jairus Byrd. Thanks for keeping us up to date on stuff like this.

    • Rich Tandler - Jan 20, 2014 at 8:13 PM

      Yes, I’ll be doing all of the positions, one every few days. Will finish the offense first, then work through the defense. Maybe a couple of weeks before I hit the secondary. But I will say I’m not big on signing Byrd. I think whoever signs him will be paying for past production and not future potential. He was injured last year and pouty about being franchised. I wouldn’t rule him out but he’d have to take a lot less money that I think he’ll get to come to the Redskins.

      • ajbus1 - Jan 20, 2014 at 8:28 PM

        Great points, thanks Rich. I guess that I’m falling for the past production. The poutiness is a big negative. I suppose it would basically be a typical Snyder move to sign him which I don’t think any of us want. Let’s hope we get something out of Phillip Thomas and Rambo.

  11. hailyeah1 - Jan 20, 2014 at 8:34 PM

    fixing the oline wont be a snap your fingers and poof its fixed type of deal beyond trent williams all four positions need upgrading .poor pass blocking caused alot of the problems with RG3 and Cousins both running for their lives ,defense is another problem with ilb ss and dline all needs that have to be addressed and a top wr to go with Garcon would help.
    its going to be interesting how our team addresses the needs.

    • Rich Tandler - Jan 20, 2014 at 8:36 PM

      It’s a two-year fix, can’t bring in everything in one offseason.

      • jmg169 - Jan 20, 2014 at 10:52 PM

        Rich, it was a two year fix four years ago, that’s the problem. Should have been bringing in more OL and WRs and DBs all along. Of course, I still blame the Fat Albert fiasco for causing much of this roster damage. We’ll be digging our way out of that for the next two to three seasons. Hoping we can make some big strides in 2014. Is Decker within reach?

      • hailyeah1 - Jan 20, 2014 at 11:04 PM

        yeah Rich at least 2 years after 4 years of coach Shannahan we all thought all this should have been fixed and our team would be playing the broncos in 2 weeks instead of the seahawks.So here we are again but a little better off than 4 years ago at least there is something for Coach Gruden to build on there was hardly nothing when Coach Shannahan arrived.

  12. jmg169 - Jan 20, 2014 at 10:48 PM

    Every draft class should include at least one OL. We won’t have RGIII for long if we don’t get some big upgrades on the our line. Then please get him some WRs that actually scare defenses. HTTR

  13. kenlinkins - Jan 21, 2014 at 9:52 AM

    Rich, I agree that the Kory L deal looked more like a government kick back deal than a football free agent signing, I still do not understand the fear of allowing him to hit the Free Agent market in 2013 (remember, this was before LeRibues showed up out of shape, he had played in 5 games, was a top 75 pick our 2nd pick in 2011, signed a 4 year deal). After watching Sundays games it is clear our O-Line needs work to win the NFC East. Montgomery can not anchor (best seen on FG and PAT) and gets pushed back way too much. Polumbus can not handle speed rushers and is seen turned around watching plays a lot, Chester seemed confused in 2013 vs. 2012 on pass plays, many a miss step and not reacting well, was he trying to help Montgomery & Polumbus (or just hitting the wall)? Lichtensteiger just can not “area” block on pass plays, he must move forward to make contact (i.e. needs a running start) to make any kind of block. I also agree that we should not keep more than one of these guys as a back up. I think we can find a starting RT in the 3rd or 4th round in the draft, As for LG / RG I am sure that Coach Gruden has a short list of Free Agents who would not cost us half of what we now paying and can form a pocket that will last longer than 1.5 sec before RG3 must “duck and cover). Maybe Lichtensteiger can play center, maybe Gettis or LeRibues will pan out to go along with a drafted RT. The good news is that Coach Gruden will see this O-Line with fresh eyes and make moves to improve it right away. The question is :how much can we fix in one year? O-Line and Pass rush for me in year one.

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