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Looking ahead: Redskins should have substantial salary cap space in 2016

Oct 28, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT


The Redskins should have a substantial amount of salary cap room to work with as Scot McCloughan works to continue to rebuild a team that has been struggling for most of the last 25 years.

As of right now, the Redskins have $142.3 million in salary cap expenditures on the books for 2016 (cap information via Over the Cap). The cap for next year is expected to increase from $143.8 million to somewhere in the vicinity of $150 million. In the last few years, the early estimates on the year over year cap increases have proven to be too conservative so the ’16 cap could well be more than $150 million. But that is the number we will use for the calculations here.

So at first glance the Redskins have only about $7.7 million in cap space but there are plenty of adjustments that need to be made here. The first one is going to subtract from the available space. As of now, they have 47 players under contract for 2016. When the league year starts on March 9 the top 51 cap numbers on the books will count the limit. To account for this we will add four players at 2016 first-year minimum salaries of $445,000. That will bring their expenditures up to $144.1 million and their cap space down to $5.9 million.

Now we can start adding to the cap space. There are currently about $7 million under the cap for this year and they will be able to roll any unspent money into their 2016 cap. They may have to spend some of that $7 million if any more players wind up on injured reserve since they would have to sign replacements. So let’s go with $6 million getting rolled over into next year, giving them $11.9 million in 2016 cap space.

Now let’s look at possible salary cap cuts. One player whose current contract certainly won’t be on the books next year is Robert Griffin III. His option year salary is occupying $16.1 million in next year’s cap. It seems highly unlikely that he will be back next year but even if he is it won’t be at his option year salary. He will be released before the salary becomes fully guaranteed on March 9, freeing up that cap space and putting the Redskins at $28 million.

Griffin is unlikely to be the only cap casualty. Here are some players who look like they could be candidates to be released due to some combination of salary, age, health, and performance.

Player-age 2016 opening day-net cap savings

  • WR DeSean Jackson, 29, $6.7 million
  • S Dashon Goldson, 32, $8 million
  • DE Jason Hatcher, 34, $4.2 million
  • CB DeAngelo Hall, 32, $3.4 million
  • WR Andre Roberts, 28, $3.0 million

If the Redskins release all of the players—and in reality they probably will release some, keep some, and negotiate salary reductions for some—they would take another $25.3 million off of their cap. That means that they potentially could go into the league year with $53.3 million in cap space.

They will have to use some of that cap space to sign some of their own free agents (post on that coming tomorrow). But their two high-dollar players, Kerrigan and Williams, are already accounted for. And, again, not all of the potential cap casualties will actually be released. In any case, the Redskins will have plenty of flexibility and a lack of cap space will not be an obstacle towards McCloughan accomplishing what he believes he needs to do.

  1. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Oct 28, 2015 at 12:58 PM

    I hadn’t considered that they might get DeSean back if he takes a pay cut. That depends on whether someone else out there might wave some big bucks I suppose.

    Hall might do it, too, I doubt he’s as useful to anyone else as he is to us.

    I wonder if we can get another one year deal with Junior Galette?

    • James McFullan - Oct 28, 2015 at 1:09 PM

      The way that Scot McCloughan was talking about Junior Galette and the way Junior Galette was talking about the Redskins, it sounds like they are going to try to get a multi year contract

    • ET - Oct 28, 2015 at 2:38 PM

      Don’t forget, Galette still has $17-18 million guaranteed by the Saints. He’s in a position where a prove-it deal with a team that’s a good fit won’t hurt too much.

    • renhoekk2 - Oct 28, 2015 at 3:08 PM

      Desean will chase the money. He won’t take less to stay here. If the Skins were Super Bowl contenders maybe. But they are not.

      • Manny - Nov 3, 2015 at 7:19 PM

        I love Jackson as a player. But his off the field problems and injury history will scare the good teams off. I see him staying a Redskin. Unless he comes back and has a monster second half. Then teams might want him. But in that chase the redskins probably would keep him. In the NFL teams normally have more power then the players. Unless you are top 10 in your position.

    • Trey Gregory - Oct 30, 2015 at 3:02 AM

      I have wonder about Galette too. I agree with what some people above me said. The way everyone talked when Galette signed, plus the right of first refusal, I think Scot tries to lock him up.

      My only question is if it truly will be another prove it deal or if we just take the risk and sign him long term. He was willing to do that kind of deal this year. But, after an injury like this, he may want more longerm security (that Saints money doesn’t last forever). On the field, I know that’s a great signing. Thinking about Kerrigan and Gillette together makes me drool. I hope they really do their homework for the off-the-field issues though.

      Also curious to see what happens to Pot Roast and Keenan Robinson. I personally want to see both back. Good riddance to Andre Roberts though

  2. celticsforever - Oct 28, 2015 at 1:01 PM

    I knew they had space, but this is approaching Jacksonville levels!! SM will use it wisely. He’s not going to go out and start buying aging veterans (a la Vinny C.)

  3. bangkokben - Oct 28, 2015 at 1:58 PM

    Great work, Rich! I love this stuff. You didn’t even mention the $8M in savings if they part ways with Garcon – which at this point is less likely than Jackson.

    • mjthomas85 - Oct 28, 2015 at 2:06 PM

      I have to agree with you. While Jackson has that deep threat ability, it doesn’t matter if he doesn’t ever play. Also, the team may view Garcon as a better leader for coaching up young receivers. Should be interesting with all that cap space!

    • ET - Oct 28, 2015 at 2:50 PM

      Putting Jackson, Roberts and Garçon on the chopping block in the same offseason seems unlikely. And we all know which receivers on that list have underwhelmed expectations this season.

    • Rich Tandler - Oct 28, 2015 at 3:06 PM

      I see Garçon leaving as extremely unlikely.

      • sidepull - Oct 28, 2015 at 3:49 PM

        I pray Garcon stays. Anquan Boldin reminds me of Garcon. Ravens getting rid of Boldin, well lets say they still haven’t recovered from that mistake.

        • goback2rfk - Oct 28, 2015 at 9:54 PM

          They wont get rid of Garcon. He works to hard, he has grit, he is tough, he is a hell of a wide receiver. Garcon is clutch. He has great hands, his route running is excellent. Garcon also has speed which many do not talk about much, but Garcon has wheels when he needs it. They best not get rid of Garcon that would be a sad day.
          I think getting rid of Jackson and Roberts is very possible. Clam chowder Crowder, Ross, Grant, and Garcon.
          Sign a tall big receiver to go along with the “unstoppable” Jordan Reed at TE and we are cooking with butter and not margarine in the passing game. This team is moving in the right direction, should be some good years to come. Thanks Scotty BoY!

      • mjthomas85 - Oct 29, 2015 at 11:09 AM

        I agree. Jackson and Roberts will be viewed as expendable, while Garcon will stay. The team will probably value his leadership skills when bringing in young receivers. If the Redskins let Jackson and Roberts go, they may target a WR early on in the draft, and target free agent defensive backs.

  4. gonavybeatarmy - Oct 28, 2015 at 2:13 PM


    I really enjoy your work and it’s great that, despite being in the middle of the 2015 season, you’re investing some analysis on the future. That said, I may take issue with some of your analysis.

    As important as any variable in predicting future moves, one should consider the impact of dead cap. One only needs to look up I-95 to see the impact that in excess of $20 million in dead cap this season has had on the Ravens. Those of us who closely monitor and enjoy analyzing the cap were quietly mocking prominent national football media types like Peter King when he and many others predicted a Super Bowl appearance for Baltimore. When over 1 in 7 dollars are allocated to dead cap in a season it makes it virtually impossible to win a Super Bowl without a superstar QB.

    As far as I understand, Jackson’s cap hit in ’16 is $9.25MM and his dead cap would be $6.25MM. So, even though it seems virtually inconceivable that Jackson would return having played one quarter of a football this season, by cutting him the cap hit would only net a $3MM. In other words the Skins would take a dead cap charge of $6.25MM should they release him. If that’s the case, they may choose to retain his services for another season. On the other hand, his dead cap in the 2017 season (when he turns 30 and on the down side of career) declines to just $1.25MM relative to a cap projection should he remain with the Skins at again $9.25MM. So, the team would net $8MM, a more cap-friendly release.

    You may have information that most fans don’t have access to. But I believe this information is correct.

    Thanks for your work.

    • Rich Tandler - Oct 28, 2015 at 3:11 PM

      I believe my numbers are accurate. My understanding is that the $3.75 million roster bonus next year is not guaranteed if he is not on the roster at some point early in the league year. That seems to be the difference in our numbers. I will do some cross checking though.

      In any case I think that McCloughan will swallow the dead money, whatever it is, with that amount of cap room. He can’t be happy with the injury situation after Jax parlayed a two-week shoulder sprain into an entire August off.

      • renhoekk2 - Oct 28, 2015 at 3:25 PM

        I think you are correct Rich. At first glance it looked like the roster bonuses were guaranteed but it was the 2014 and 2015 base salaries.

    • renhoekk2 - Oct 28, 2015 at 3:17 PM

      The 2017 year for DJax is voidable. You are correct about the 2016 dead cap hit.

    • berniebernard666 - Oct 28, 2015 at 4:16 PM

      the fact you mention the amount of playing time for Jackson is irrelevant. Injuries occur each year to many players such as Andrew Luck. Does that mean they won’t bring back Luck?? Hell no. You don’t anticipate injuries and Desean Jackson has to come back next year because he is not going to suddenly start running a 4.67 in the 40. He will remain one of the 3 or 4 fastest receivers in the game until he is over the age of 32 or 33 so I suspect it would be a huge mistake to let him go.

      His value to this team will be evaluated more thoroughly once we get into the 2nd half of the season and if we start averaging 7-10 points per game more with Jackson in the lineup, then I suspect its a no brainer But..we’ll see.

      • goback2rfk - Oct 28, 2015 at 10:02 PM

        We will see. And you can predict injuries with players. Remember Michael “Pick” Vick. That dude was injured all the time. There are players that are injury prone like Jackson, Reed, Rg3 etc. etc. You have to expect and plan for injuries with players like that. Remember a guy by the name of London Fletcher? He was what we call dependable. Im not knocking the injury prone players I am just saying they are not dependable.
        Jackson has been consistently injured throughout his playing career. Sure he is quick and can take the top off a defense but he can also take the top off your salary cap and not even get on the field.
        There is a reason the Eagles let him go and that was for “football” reasons. Jackson is very 1 dimensional and only fits with some offenses. With that being said, he is a great fit for Washington and I hope he comes back and does some great things this year. However, I believe we will know more about what Jackson can do or not do with this team in the 2nd half of the season. We shall see. I

      • Trey Gregory - Oct 30, 2015 at 3:06 AM

        Comparing Desean Jackson to Andrew Luck is a little silly. 1 is the most important player on the team and the cornerstone of their franchise for the next decade. The other is an aging and (more and more) injury prone skilled position player with at least 3 guys waiting to take his spot. Not really the same thing at all.

    • Trey Gregory - Oct 30, 2015 at 3:12 AM

      @GoNavy: I’m getting a good laugh out of a bunch of fans laughing at one of the more respected GMs in the league, Ozzie, because he decided to take on some dead cap. Doubt he paid much attention to people’s SuperBowl predictions. Sure, he had to plan for 2015, but he also had to plan for the future. I’m almost certain he knew exactly what he was doing and decided that dead cap hit was more beneficial to his team in the long run.

      Do you honestly believe he didn’t realize he was doing that? Then decided it was still the best thing for the team? Possibly for reasons unavailable to you?

      I’m sorry if I misunderstood what you were saying, but that’s what it sounded like to me.

  5. fwhalstead1 - Oct 28, 2015 at 2:25 PM

    I’ve said it before and I’ll continue to say it – this is what REBUILDING looks like – never sacrificing the TEAM for any INDIVIDUAL…that is why this roster is a max 6 win roster BUT it is GROWING with YOUNG players and not a bunch of over paid high priced vets…All in for the REBUILD, the joy and the pain! !HTTR

  6. mr.moneylover - Oct 28, 2015 at 3:07 PM

    I can see jason hatcher andre roberts and deangleo hall bein cut but I highly doubt they cut desean jackson and dashon goldson but the rest I think they are clearly gonna be gonna be gone next year…we dont need three good games out of jason hatcher why not bring in a young DE and develop him into a stud…andre robert you gotta pray he catch the ball…Dhall getting to old and the young talent of keshon Jarrett will make him be on the sidelines or a backup

    • berniebernard666 - Oct 28, 2015 at 4:10 PM

      Yea the Skins need a young defensive end but not necessarily to replace Hatcher. Kedric Golston has been just a guy for the last 10 years and it was time to replace him THIS year…so next year for sure. At least Hatcher can give you 3rd down pass rush pressure if they Skins can find his 1st and 2nd down replacement in the draft or elsewhere.

      Just as a sidenote: Fletcher Cox is a free agent after this season and if Chip doesn’t franchise him, I would hope the Skins would pay the ultimate price for a Pro Bowl defensive lineman. Notice, the Skins have ZERO defensive linemen, or linebackers who will be in the pro bowl. Perhaps that is a CLUE why they can’t stop the run. Want a good defense? Go get Pro Bowl Defensive players. Also Eric Weddle and Eric Berry are both free agents this year so one of them could be Godson’s replacement.

    • kurtpetric - Oct 29, 2015 at 1:49 PM

      They should cut jackson hes a bum and a thug

  7. celeoinc - Oct 28, 2015 at 4:04 PM

    I’d keep DJackson and Garcon. JC and RG are keepers. I would let it go everybody else, unless they would accept much less money. This team is good. We just had too many injuries. Coaching needs to improve too and I think it will. We need an inside linebacker, free safety, strong safety, and another defense lineman. I believe we can accomplish that via free agency + draft.

    • celeoinc - Oct 28, 2015 at 4:07 PM

      Riley has to go.

    • goback2rfk - Oct 28, 2015 at 8:21 PM

      I would cut Jackson so fast his head would spin. One trick pony, injury prone, never on the field, Desean Jackson spends most of his time on the side lines with injury. A 3 – 4 week Hammy turns into missing half the season or more. A little shoulder “tweak” ends up being off all summer almost. Desean can’t prove he is worth it on the side lines every game. Lets see what he can do when he comes back, if he comes back this season, and then we will talk. Otherwise, I see no reason to keep him. He is good, but its not like he is a top wide receiver in this league. He is a deep threat and thats about it. He is too small and fragile to work the middle of the field.

    • sidepull - Oct 29, 2015 at 7:27 AM

      TE as well.

    • Trey Gregory - Oct 30, 2015 at 3:14 AM

      Goodness do we ever need to get better at ILB and TE. Mostly ILB though. And yeah, safer as well. But I feel better about that than our middle linebackers

  8. berniebernard666 - Oct 28, 2015 at 4:04 PM

    good job Rich. Saved me some time to break it down. You left out the part of Andre Roberts being CUT for absolutely certain. Sure fire dead on absolutely guaranteed cut is Andre Roberts. Not worth any money at all when considering his drops and the likelyhood that the Skins will finally draft a 6’3 receiver with speed to replace Roberts.

    I completely agree with you about the rest though. Everybody else could come back if they negotiate at half of what they are due because none of them are worth those salaries, especially Goldson at EIGHT MILLION?? WOW.

    • ET - Oct 28, 2015 at 5:27 PM

      Goldson at $8 million jumped out at me, too. That’s a hefty premium!

  9. winskins - Oct 28, 2015 at 5:06 PM

    Gotta re-sign Pot Roast. The man is a beast.

    • goback2rfk - Oct 28, 2015 at 8:22 PM

      Pot Roast! Pot Roast!! Pot Roast!!! Gunna crush Tom Brady and the Patriots running game. Go Pot Roast!

  10. JOHNNY B - Oct 28, 2015 at 5:18 PM

    The one thing that you didn’t mention is if Cousins deserves another year at Starting Qb. But won’t accept a low ball contract they will have to tag him. How much of a cap hit would that be.

    • goback2rfk - Oct 28, 2015 at 8:24 PM

      They won’t tag Cousins will they?! That almost makes me wanna barf. Look Kirk I am thinking somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 years 25 million with 10 mil guaranteed. If he fails we can throw him in the back up spot and not being paying him a ton of money.

      • JOHNNY B - Oct 28, 2015 at 9:26 PM

        I can see that unless he is wanted by another team that offers more. Can we say Mike or Kyle or any qb needy team. They need to make their decision on Cousins before the end of the season and get him locked in if they want him.

        • goback2rfk - Oct 28, 2015 at 9:44 PM

          I think Cousins play the rest of the season will determine his future. There is also a Big Ol’ Elephant in the room that goes by the name of Robert Griffin III.
          It may be possible that Rob is part of the plans at the QB position next year. We will wait and see.

  11. troylok - Oct 28, 2015 at 7:06 PM

    Of that list, I think they keep Jackson but let the rest go. They have to – have to – get some depth at safety but keeping Goldson isn’t the answer. If the team were to shop for any position in free agency, I would say safety is worth some bucks. For every other position I say we keep what we have and build through the draft. The plan should be an OL (center) and an ILB early. If I found a few safeties in free agency maybe I would dabble with safeties and cornerbacks that could be interchangeable components.

    • goback2rfk - Oct 28, 2015 at 8:34 PM

      I dunno about injury prone Jackson. There are so many options at the WR position it is hard to say if Jackson is worth keeping around. I would cut him to save the cap room. I guess we will see what Scott thinks about one trick pony Desean during the off season. I have a feeling Jackson is gone. We need some bigger WR’s to compliment who we already have. I think Ross can replace Desean. Ross is young but give him a chance and I think he will develop into a real worthwhile talent.
      Jackson can not prove himself on the sideline and if he is injured all season or most of it I say can his ass. Desean has made the 2 month hammy injury famous. What a pretty boy, oh my hammy, I think I felt a “twinge” in it. Guess I will sit out another month and post more stupid crap on Instagram. I don’t like his work ethic, I dont like his social media crap, I don’t like his injuries.
      He will need to catch a few deep balls to get me back on his side and he can’t do that from the sideline.

      • voice4thefans - Oct 29, 2015 at 7:39 AM

        Who cares what you like, your name is not signed on anybodies check

        • goback2rfk - Oct 29, 2015 at 10:36 AM

          I am entitled to my own opinions as a fan whether you agree or not. You don’t have to agree or like what I say or even read my post. Of course what I like and don’t like does not matter in reality but that does not stop me from having a discussion about the team and its players.

  12. kurtpetric - Oct 29, 2015 at 1:46 PM

    In an ideal world you cut Jackson and Roberts try and get garcon to accept less money as well as Goldson and Hatcher. You keep Hall around for less money too because he is a good guy to have around and loves being with the redskins and when healthy is solid. Then try to extend cousins for pretty cheap since he isn’t playing great but has shown signs of being a good QB in this league. Then maybe sign a corner and keep drafting from the trenches back.

  13. Redsk1ns - Oct 29, 2015 at 5:05 PM

    Skins will trade Roberts by end of season with Crowder emerging. Dashon and DeAngelo will be more probable to take pay cuts than DeSean. The redskins will keep Garçon. Also don’t be afraid to let Jason Hatcher walk. He’s 34. In the meantime resign Keenan Robinson, Trenton Robinson, Kirk Cousins, and Knighton. Let Morris walk and cut griffin. Then target a lb and d back in free agency. Also get a reliable qb in the draft. Target a WR early in the draft. Add 5 years and it’s super bowl contention

  14. sbb4th - Oct 29, 2015 at 5:30 PM

    For the life of me I don’t know why Ross isn’t involved more. Dude has world class speed and seems to catch everything that’s thrown at him.

  15. smc20 - Oct 29, 2015 at 8:24 PM

    Re-sign RG3, Jackson and bring back Haynesworth! Archives

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