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Salary cap analysis: Cap casualties coming on Redskins D-line?

Jan 27, 2014, 11:55 AM EDT

Redskins-D-line-vs.-Philly

Salary cap review: Defensive line

As Jay Gruden continues the process of assembling the playbook, 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. So far, we’ve looked at wide receivers, offensive backs and the offensive line. Next up, the defensive line.

The Redskins currently have seven defensive linemen under contract.

Name Base Cap number
NT Barry Cofield $4,550,000 $7,602,500
DE Stephen Bowen $4,400,000 $7,020,000
DE Adam Carriker $4,700,000 $6,833,333
DE Jarvis Jenkins $927,184 $1,521,762
DE Kedric Golston $900,000 $1,120,000
NT Chris Neild $645,000 $656,475
DE Doug Worthington $645,000 $645,000
$16,767,184 $25,399,070

Some notes:

—The cap numbers for Bowen, Cofield, and Carrier are the third-, fourth- and fith-highest on the team.

—All three of those players had their contracts restructured last year to help the team get through the salary cap crunch created by the cap penalty. The restructures lowered the 2013 cap numbers for them. It increased the cap charges for Cofield and Bowen. Although we don’t have all of the details on Carriker’s restructure, it appears that he took a straight 2013 pay cut.

—The Redskins rank 10th in the NFL in cap spending at the defensive end position. They are 9th in the nose tackle/defensive tackle spending category.

—The one key free agent here is Chris Baker, who plays both the nose and end.

Adding and subtracting

There are some potential salary cap savings here. Here is the dead cap total and the net cap savings for releasing these players prior to June 1:

Name Dead Money Saving pre-6/1 Savings post-6/1
NT Barry Cofield $6,007,500 $1,595,000 $5,000,000
DE Stephen Bowen $5,040,000 $1,980,000 $4,500,000
DE Adam Carriker $3,666,667 $3,166,666 $5,000,000
DE Jarvis Jenkins $494,578 $1,027,184 $1,027,184
DE Kedric Golston $240,000 $880,000 $1,000,000
NT Chris Neild $11,475 $645,000 $645,000
DE Doug Worthington $0 $645,000 $645,000

If the Redskins do want to release any of these players there are two ways to do it. They can simply release the player and that would save them the amount on the pre-6/1 column. The team would simply absorb the full amount of whatever prorated bonuses are left on the contract. That number is called dead cap and you subtract that from the player’s salary plus workout, roster, and other bonuses they would be due for the year to get the net savings.

A team can lower the cap impact of releasing a player by either designating him as a post-June 1 cut or by releasing him after the first day of June. That way only the 2014 portion of the prorated bonuses will be charged to the 2014 cap. The rest of the dead cap is charged to 2015.

Looking at it big picture, it’s hard to justify the amount of money the team is spending on the defensive line. The defense was 17th in rushing yards allowed and while 3-4 linemen aren’t necessarily supposed to pile up big sack numbers you would like to see them get more than the 5.5 the entire line combined to get last year.

The lineman with the highest potential to become a cap casualty is Carriker. He hasn’t played since the Week 2 of the 2012 season; a couple of setbacks have hampered his recovery from a quad injury. Carriker will be 30 before OTAs are over and perhaps the only decision to be made is whether or not to release him with post-June 1 status.

The team will have to think long and hard about Bowen. He also is about to turn 30 and after starting the first 42 games he was with the team he missed the last six of 2013 with a knee injury. It seems likely that the team will keep him but they may consider the risk of letting him go a year too early to avoid keeping him a year too long. If they re-sign Baker he and Jenkins could be the starting ends.

Despite his high cap number it is unlikely that Cofield will go anywhere. He is about a week older than Bowen and his play did slip last year compared to 2012, the lack of any immediate replacement is likely to keep him in Washington.

  1. kenlinkins - Jan 27, 2014 at 12:47 PM

    WOW, a ton of bad contracts here. A ton of money for very little return. I watched Worthington at Ohio State and I am shocked he hasn’t shown more yet, I would like to see if he can make it thru a preseason without getting hurt as I think he can make a impact. J. Jenkins is still a question mark and Golston seems like a back up type. If we CUT Carriker, Bowen, Cofield) then we must TAG Orakpo (that’s is a wash) and re-sign Baker (and that still leaves one big hole in the D-Line). I would not want to use our 2nd or 3rd round pick on a D-Lineman, but do not want to plan on Worthington or Hamilton as part of the 6 men starting d-line, maybe B Jenkins can play DE if we resign Jackson to back up Orakpo. I think Coach Gruden will CUT all of the higher priced guys this year and not resign any of our higher priced Free Agents as a way to clear the decks. We can load up our 90 man roster will as many mid level Free Agents, Undrafted Free Agents and one year deals and find the best we can for our D-line while we find out if Orakpo is worth a long term deal and try to save as much Cap Space as we can. With 80 Jr’s hitting the draft this year we should be able to find a few guys for Special Teams, D-Line, RB’s, ILB, FS/SS that go undrafted as the Jr’s will push about 2 rounds of players off the draft. I say CUT the top three and find the best we can for 2014 as we fix the O-Line, DB’s, and Special Teams concerns first (i.e. pick the low hanging fruit while we figure a way to the top of the tree).

  2. kjp0810 - Jan 27, 2014 at 1:14 PM

    I wonder if Carriker would take a pay cut again? Otherwise, I think he will get released. He has hasn’t played since the 1st quarter of Week 2 in 2012! It won’t matter if Haslett preaches to Allen to keep him. Bowen is at risk too due to his microfracture sugery. I don’t know if that will happen this year due to all the dead money. I guess post June 1st cut is possible, but then you have to take the hit the next year. Cofield has been earning his money. He plays the nose and stays in sub-packages as well.

  3. darrynhyman - Jan 27, 2014 at 1:24 PM

    Disagree with kjp on Cofield…the key to a successful 3-4 is the NT and Cofield is too small to be a major impact at that position. He gives great effort, but is out of position. I do keep him and move to him to end and make a major effort to bring in a NT (maybe with a 2nd or 3rd round pick if there is someone there). Carriker and Bowen both need to be released….Carriker has just been injured too much to justify keeping him and Bowen hasn’t been productive since his 1st year here in 2011, Re-sign Baker and you have him, Jenkins, and Cofield rotating at end with hopefully a young draft pick to add in the rotation

  4. internetcareer - Jan 27, 2014 at 7:06 PM

    are we all watching different games? Cofield is NOT a nose tackle. He is too light and gets pushed around. Why in the world do some of you talk about Jenkins and Baker being starting ends. Baker is BIGGER than Cofield and should be the nose tackle…I have been saying that all year long. Cofield is a DT. It has been obvious since he was with the Giants. For some reason our coaches have blinders on and keep touting him as an all pro nose tackle while he keeps getting pushed out of the way when he is double teamed. Geeeesh people. I feel like I am in an alternate universe where up is down and down is up.

    • dcsportsfan2277 - Jan 28, 2014 at 3:35 PM

      B. J. Rahi is huge would be a good upgrade and is available!

      • dcsportsfan2277 - Jan 28, 2014 at 3:36 PM

        Sorry…Raji

  5. wmdskinsfan - Jan 27, 2014 at 9:02 PM

    Good article Rich. I hear many and I agree, hope we are able to draft at least one of the heralded linemen. There is some depth in quality. A NT like Justin Ellis fills a great need , allowing Cofield to move to DE where I think he can do more damage now. I think his production was down because he really was the only one I’d worry about blocking. Would like a FA, DE if possible. Ready to face reality and let Carriker. Jarvis has not come back from injury, pretty obvious but can he improve? Bowen might have to go too. Golston has been a pretty reliable backup. I like Nield and would like to see him a little more, but I think he’d shine in a 4-3. He’s not a bad player, not a lot of reps this year. I think a guy like him fluffs off injury quicker than most and might be better this year but? So, waiting to see if we can afford 1 FA starter DLinemen, maybe draft a NT early who might start. But man, I’d love to have Donald-no if’s, ands or buts. With his rise, we’d have to trade up to get him… but we’d lose a decent pick or player. Doubt he won’t go in the 1st now. Could be wrong. Even with all our needs, he would be the Robert on defense, no matter the scheme. Just my thoughts.

  6. internetcareer - Jan 28, 2014 at 2:58 PM

    I’m going to go ahead and predict that we have finally found an intelligent coach. He is going to make the tough choices and smart choices. He will CUT Bowen who is 30 and on the downside of his career with injuries with a HUGE salary. Why keep him?…. Gruden will keep Carriker around if he is healthy. Doctors and Player personnel people should be able to tell if Adam is healthy or not by April. My prediction is Baker is resigned, Cofield to DT, Jarvis Jenkins becomes a solid starter, and the Skins will draft one more NOSE TACKLE Defensive lineman, and bring in a Veteran or 2 to complete. Last year they brought everyone back and so there was no competition but this Summer, I bet people are fighting and scrapping to keep their jobs and make this team at EVERY position. IF WE HAVE A SMART COACH…that’s what I predict.

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