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Need to Know: Free agency begins with Redskins relatively tight on cap space

Mar 9, 2016, 4:56 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, March 9, the day NFL free agency starts.

Redskins fans should tamp down their expectations

It used to be that the day that free agency started was like Christmas Day for Redskins fans. There would be all sorts of presents under the tree—a safety here, a guard there, maybe a running back and a big defensive lineman. And all paid for out of Dan Snyder’s checkbook (and before that they were courtesy of Jack Kent Cook or his foundation).

On closer examination, however, everyone found out that the new toys were not all shiny and new. That safety had lost a step from when he was in Toys R Us and he had a slightly damaged shoulder. The running back who used to be able to break long runs with regularity was getting caught from behind after just a few steps. The D-lineman just didn’t move like he used to.

By midseason the fans had lost interest in the new toys because, well, they weren’t really new and they weren’t much fun. The talk turned to their wish list for the following Christmas, assuming that the team could somehow work its budget to make it happen.

I think that this point most fans are wise to the false hope that that the NFL sells at this time every year. And even if the Redskins were still interested in buying those beat-up toys that are on the market their team really doesn’t have the means to do so.

Right now they are sitting on about $20 million in salary cap space. That sounds like a lot but it’s not. There are 16 teams that have more to spend than they do. Of those, 14 have $30 million or more to spend. It will be easy for many teams to outbid them for players.

And that money will go fast. It will cost about $3 million to bring back Mason Foster, probably another $4 million for Junior Galette. The will need a starting nose tackle, which will run about $4 million and a mid-range strong safety, which will run about $3 million. Oh, and don’t forget that Kirk Cousins is the only QB on the roster. Colt McCoy or another veteran backup will cost at least $3 million.

So that totals $17 million. So you’ve got $3 million left to pay players on injured reserve and injury settlements and pay your practice squad. That could get tight.

Sure, they can create more room by letting go of players like Perry Riley and Andre Roberts. But instead of buying more false hope in the form of free agents with that money, how about taking care of Jordan Reed and locking him up for next several years rather than having him hit free agency in 2017?

There will not be many new toys under the tree this year. That’s not how Scot McCloughan likes to build. Christmas will have to wait until April 28 when the NFL Draft gets underway.


—The Redskins last played a game 59 days ago. It will be about 186 days until they play another one.

Days until: Redskins offseason workouts start 40; 2016 NFL draft 50

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  1. sidepull - Mar 9, 2016 at 6:08 AM

    Its not what it used to be. And thats OK. The Packers survive FA and so will the Redskins. I like the idea of snagging maybe a decent player and building through the draft. I think Scots has got this.

  2. colorofmyskinz - Mar 9, 2016 at 6:18 AM

    Let’s hope we can lock up Mason and Gallette. Both will be solid players. Wild card is Culliver. Need to drop Roberts. Need to extend Reed. Need to extend garçon to lower that $8 M. That is a bit too steep for his production. I know he is clutch and blocks well down field for running plays. But $8 M is too steep. We better draft a tall WR period. We should drop Kory as well. That will save a chuck. Would much rather have Mack vs Kory any day.

  3. colorofmyskinz - Mar 9, 2016 at 6:26 AM

    If we pick up Long and Mack I would be happy. That would take pressure off the draft for center and having to pick multiple high picks on the Dline.

  4. burtskins - Mar 9, 2016 at 7:19 AM

    Would be really swell to draft in 2016 the quality seen in 2015. Scherff, Crowder and Smith you would hope can only get stronger. Seems also that Scot Mc makes intelligent FA signings – you can’t imagine anymore mortgaging the future type pick-throwaways to trade up or Haynesworths.

    I LIKE this new Redskins ethos even if next year we had a damn hard schedule. My only dream as this stage is to retain the NFC East.

  5. austrianhttrfan - Mar 9, 2016 at 7:25 AM

    – Sign Mack, release Kory –> Draft a center this or next year (depending on Mack contract) and plug him in as he gets ready. The O-line is still quite cheap except the left side with Trent (Long should play LG IMO) So you can let Long, Scherff and Moses play their contracts out for cheap and them pay them accordingly, get rid of Mack and plug in your young cheap center.

    – I think Goldson will come back as well…I don´t think that we can have an complete overhaul everywhere so fast, no draft pick is able to step in that fast at safety that year in our range, Though I had a lot of hope for Duke as SS so maybe thats again the way to go and draft a safety later.

    – I have a good feeling for the Redskins signing C. Long, but we will see, anyway we need some leadership in the line as we can have as much as two new guys there from the upcoming draft.

    – Galette…I´m really not sure about that guy…he looks to emotional in social media, and maybe that can cause issues…on the other hand Preston and Ryan seem to be rather calm characters, so maybe it´s a good combo…

    • redskinsnameisheretostay - Mar 9, 2016 at 10:12 AM

      How are the Redskins going to sign Mack and other FA with the current salary cap. They still have to resign some and I understand others will be released adding more space. However the Jags lost a bidding war last year with Cleveland who matched their offer. This team has little chance of out bidding other teams for Mack. Mack certainly won’t sign here for less expecting SB aspirations either. I see Mack as a Redskin not being remotely possible.

      Galette is not going to get signed for the minimum either and I prefer signing him over Mack.

  6. austrianhttrfan - Mar 9, 2016 at 7:28 AM


    I think you made a tweet that you don´t agree with the “best 10 FA signing by the redskins”, going as far as describing it a best list, are you going to share your opinion/ your list anytime soon as well maybe or what is wrong in your oppionoin about that list?

    IMO, Jackson can´t be number 1, Culliver shouldn´t be on the list…these 2 sticked in my mind for now…

  7. sidepull - Mar 9, 2016 at 7:30 AM

    Giants trying to load up, Janoris Jenkins, Snacks maybe.

    • ET - Mar 9, 2016 at 1:32 PM

      The Giants got money to burn. But they’ll still be mediocre. They have a lot of holes to fill and positions to upgrade.

      It’s nice to be the low-key team in free agency, ain’t it?

  8. bangkokben - Mar 9, 2016 at 8:30 AM

    The inability of some Redskin fans to except the new free agency reality is staggering. The Redskins aren’t going after the big name guys. Enjoy the process of building a team.

    • redskinsnameisheretostay - Mar 9, 2016 at 10:19 AM

      It’s like watching a kid in a candy store looking at all the goodies he imagines he’ll soon have but he is only holding 2 dollars in his hand.

      • bangkokben - Mar 9, 2016 at 2:38 PM

        So true.

  9. renhoekk2 - Mar 9, 2016 at 10:39 AM

    What the Redskins really need is some QB needy team to trade up from the second round for the Redskins first round pick. If HOU doesn’t sign Osweiler out from under DEN, teams looking for a QB will want to jump in front of HOU at pick 22. That will make the Redskins off-season more than any FA they sign. It would give Scot M a bunch more picks to build with. That’s my off-season wish list.

    • redskinsnameisheretostay - Mar 9, 2016 at 10:54 AM

      While I’m not into quantity over quality in the first 2 rounds, it is conceivable that a team may be willing to move ahead of Texas for a QB. So good point on teams may be attempting to deal with the Redskins for that 21st pick.

  10. rtcwon - Mar 9, 2016 at 12:00 PM

    Sitting at $20M less McCoy & Foster needing only a NT, they have plenty of cap space because they pretty much already have everything unlike those teams that have $30M or $40M space but not a full roster or even 22 starters.

    I’ll put $8M into a nose & Galette all day and go into the draft needing only the true BPA. Leave ILB & OL as is, only way to find upgrades is to under value our guys and over value what’s out there. Jones was the only Center to even think about but Kory is much better than most seem to think. Don’t waste money on a mid-range safety, either get a bona-fide upgrade for Hall or roll with him. If Goldson’s market value is around the $2M I think it should be, he can come back.

    • James McFullan - Mar 9, 2016 at 12:33 PM

      Get Damon “Snacks” Harrison, Tashaun Gipson, Galette. Trade back in the 1st round and draft Josh Doctson in the 1st, Devontae Booker, or Derrick Henry if he’s available in the 2nd round, and Nick Martin with the other 2nd round pick. Archives

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