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Need to Know: The cap implications of the Redskins cutting Chris Culliver

May 3, 2016, 5:10 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, May 3, 10 days before the Washington Redskins hold their rookie minicamp.


—The Redskins last played a game 114 days ago. It will be 132 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Rookie minicamp 10; OTAs start 21; Redskins training camp starts 86

Hot topic

The Redskins have indicated all offseason that they did not plan to let go of Chris Culliver despite his $8 million salary and unproductive, injury plagued 2015 season.

However, things change quickly. Within a span of seven days, the team signed Josh Norman to a big free agent contract and drafted Virginia Tech cornerback Kendall Fuller. Those acquisitions pushed Culliver, who is still rehabbing from a torn ACL he suffered on Thanksgiving Day, back to at least the third corner and maybe the fourth.

And whether it’s third or fourth, an $8 million salary is too much for that spot on the depth chart. So the Redskins decided to release him on Monday.

They released him with a post-June 1 designation. The Redskins haven’t done that in a while so here is what that means.

Culliver had three years remaining on the four-year contract he signed last year. He was paid a $5 million signing bonus so the cap charge was split with $1.25 million hitting each of the four years on the deal.

That means that the Redskins still have to account for $3.75 million in signing bonus. Had they cut him without the June 1 designation all of that would have hit their salary cap this year. You would subtract that from the $8 million they save by not having to pay his 2016 salary and the net cap savings would have been $4.25 million. The books on the Culliver contract would have been closed.

But the Redskins designed post-June 1. That means a couple of things. The cap charge for the last two years gets pushed to the 2017 cap. So they get $8 million in 2016 cap savings, his $9.25 million cap number minus the $1.25 million signing bonus proration. The signing bonus charge goes into this year’s dead cap. There will be a $2.5 million dead cap charge next year.

So they don’t “save” any money with the June 1 designation. The accounting for the money is all that changes.

There’s one other important thing to know. A catch of using the designation is that the player’s contract remains on the books until June 1. So the Redskins don’t immediately have any additional cap money available as a result of this move. The will have the $8 million credited to their cap on June 2.

It’s important to note that the cap space being locked up will not prevent the Redskins from signing any or all of their draft picks. As I wrote here last week the Redskins will need about $1.4 million in net cap space to sign their draft picks. They currently have $4.2 million so they can make it with room to spare.

In case you missed it

  1. Brenton - May 3, 2016 at 5:31 AM

    Making more cap room a little bit at a time. Once they cut Roberts , skins will have even more and maybe extend Reed , Baker , or any other player they decide is ready to do so.

  2. colorofmyskinz - May 3, 2016 at 5:40 AM

    You could see Culliver coming from miles away. I brought this up in January. Then we signed FA Normam and it became more clear. Many thought keeping him for depth would be good. Then we drafted Fuller and it was a 100% guarantee in my mind. And it happened the Monday after the draft. ACL alone on a corner won’t kill them. But one ACL repaired, and then to have a second ACL and MCL total reconstruction and that is a kiss of death for a corner. Or any highly mobile position. Al la mobile QB RGIII. Same story. Culliver will be depth at best now. $8 M with that scenario was a killer in my opinion. Add side-to-side requirement of a corner position and all but done.

    Roberts is next once he clears med. Then both Garcon and DJax will realize that Docson will require a more reasonable contract to stay beyond 2016. They will want to stay because this dynasty will show promise for the big one after this year. They are going into their 30s and will want a chance at the big one. My guess is that they might find an extension for Garcon before July 17th for $4-6 M per year for 3 years. If we could lock both Garcon and DJax for 3 more years at a reasonable price, that will give them the shot at the big one and be good for the team to get the remaining pieces we need to win, center, DLine, RBs, safeties, another TE.

    If cousins was looking out for the team, he would sign befor July 15th on a 5 year deal for $17-18 per year, $45 guaranteed, with 3 year option to move in.

    If we could make all of this happen, we could sign Reed Lon term and finish off the building.

    I see the vision of Scot! Super Bowl coming to DC!!!


    • colorofmyskinz - May 3, 2016 at 5:42 AM

      3-year option to move on from cousins.

    • rlundy1123 - May 3, 2016 at 8:17 AM

      Agree on Culliver, you could smell the blood in the water for a while now. Signing Norman sealed the deal–it didn’t make sense to pay him unless they knew for some time that they didn’t want to take chances with Culliver’s knee. I wasn’t necessarily a huge fan of signing Norman, but it makes a lot more sense now.

      I love your enthusiasm, but I can’t imagine both Garcon and Jackson taking substantial pays cuts to stick with the Redskins. Specifically, I can’t imagine Jackson’s ego allowing him to take less money if he has any gas in the tank at all. Garcon seems like a team player, maybe he sticks around for a bit. I would still plan to use a high pick on a WR next year.

      • bangkokben - May 3, 2016 at 12:56 PM

        If you look at the projected Free Agent wide receivers, Garcon and Jackson are at the head of the class — age being a factor. Also, the young talented guys will likely not be made available by their respective teams. Why would Garcon and Jackson then settle for an extension? It’s not so much how “great” they are but who will get the WR FA money next year.

        Alshon Jeffrey — will not be made available
        Vincent Jackson — will be 34 going into free agency
        Larry Fitzgerald — HOF who will be 34 before 2017 starts
        Pierre Garcon — 31 before 2017 season, last chance for open market contract
        DeSean Jackson — turns 31 during 2017 season, last chance for big contract
        Emmanuel Sanders — 30 before free agency but also just a slot receiver
        Justin Blackmon — suspended indefinitely by the NFL for drugs in 2013 and DUI in December
        Michael Floyd — Cardinals picked up the 5th year option NOT AVAILABLE
        Kendall Wright — Titans picked up the 5th year option NOT AVAILABLE
        Keenan Allen — maybe the head of the class if available
        Doug Baldwin — sneaky good numbers might not be available

        Since picks from the 2013 draft class may be available for FA, here are the leaders in receptions since 2013 of the available FAs.

        Rk G GS Rec Yds
        6 Larry Fitzgerald 46 45 254 2953
        7 Pierre Garcon 48 46 253 2875
        10 Emmanuel Sanders 47 41 244 3279
        17 Alshon Jeffery 41 38 228 3361
        21 Keenan Allen 37 36 215 2554
        27 Doug Baldwin 48 41 194 2672
        30 Steve Smith 38 38 189 2480
        32 Kendall Wright 40 32 187 2202
        38 Vincent Jackson 42 41 181 2769
        46 Rueben Randle 48 32 169 2346
        47 DeSean Jackson 41 38 168 3029
        49 Michael Floyd 47 36 164 2731
        50 Brian Hartline 44 35 161 2013
        51 Cecil Shorts 37 29 161 1818
        53 Brandon LaFell 43 36 160 2095
        60 Robert Woods 44 38 152 1838
        67 Nate Washington 46 40 145 2224

        • jonevans511 - May 3, 2016 at 7:34 PM

          I’d argue Sanders is absolutely not just “a slot receiver”. He brings big play ability every time he touches the football, ran routes all over the field in 2015 and 14, and while he’s small he never shies away from contact. Reminds me of Antonio Brown, though to be fair he’s not AB exactly.

        • bangkokben - May 4, 2016 at 7:21 AM

          Suppose, he’s Randall Cobb — I don’t think he is — but let’s suppose he is. Does it change the dynamic much? Now you have three different types of receivers vying for top WR money. The point is and continues to be that Garcon and Jackson aren’t LIKELY to want an extension based on the FA WR pool next year.

    • Sam - May 3, 2016 at 10:59 AM

      Cousins already wants $20M / year. If he plays well enough to give us hope of a budding dynasty, what makes you think he would sign for $17M-$18M / year with a 3-year team option? Not happening.

  3. bangkokben - May 3, 2016 at 7:51 AM

    Rich, I still don’t get the failed physical designation. Why is this a possible designation and how often can a team use this?

    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - May 3, 2016 at 8:22 AM

      I was googling it, and as far as I can tell, “failed physical” is just the explanation given by the club for his release.

      The injury guarantee was voided by his suspension in week 2 last year.

    • Rich Tandler - May 3, 2016 at 9:57 AM

      I do know that it’s meaningless, really. It’s just to let other teams know that the player is damaged goods.

      • bangkokben - May 3, 2016 at 11:27 AM

        Thanks, Rich. So if the team can cut guys if they get injured the season before, why is Roberts still on the roster or why did Adam Hayward stay as long as he did? My real question is what are the conditions in which a team can cut an injured player — particularly between seasons?

        • Rich Tandler - May 3, 2016 at 11:35 AM

          Every time I think I understand that, stuff like this happens to raise more questions. I will hit the CBA when I have a chance.

          It’s also possible that they could release Roberts and Hayward and they are just waiting for what they see as the right time to do it. As we saw with RG3, what makes sense to them is not always in synch with what makes sense to the rest of the planet.

        • bangkokben - May 3, 2016 at 11:41 AM

          Fair enough. I appreciate it. Just seems that 31 other NFL teams have been in position to make a move like this but more often then not wait ’til training camp with the case of Tim Hightower, for example, not getting PUP-ed or wait until the players come off the PUP list.

        • ET - May 3, 2016 at 12:09 PM

          Thanks for the good questions and follow-ups!

          I’m routinely mystified by this part of the process as well.

        • bangkokben - May 3, 2016 at 12:11 PM

          Mystified is the perfect word!

        • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - May 3, 2016 at 1:12 PM

          I’m guessing it has to do with injury guarantees in the contract.

          But it’s just a guess.

  4. Mr.moneylover - May 3, 2016 at 9:52 AM

    I told y’all scot m. Likes djax and p.garcon a lot the depth behind them and josh doctson gotta improve tho…Ryan grant Andre Roberts and rashad Ross gotta step up this summer or they all three gonna get replaced by Scot M. Guys

  5. Mr.moneylover - May 3, 2016 at 10:05 AM

    They release like two defensive linemen and WR LaRon Byrd…. They must be getting the guys they want as undrafted free agent…I hope my boy Vernon Adams sign with the redskins he’s a beast and very smart many compared him to Russell Wilson because of his hand size…

  6. kenlinkins - May 3, 2016 at 10:50 AM

    One day you are sitting at home with a $8 million dollar contract in your back pocket, and the next day you are looking for a job. So you want to be a Pro Football Player in the NFL? NFL = Not For Long! This is why I find it funny when a fan says a player should take less money to help the team. IMO a player should grab every dollar he can force out of a team (he should also get a great investment firm and set aside most of it for later on). Those big pay days do not last for ever and in most cases do not even last the term of the contract. I have no problems with the business end of football, both Teams and Players must watch out for themselves. Thanks again to Rich, as most of my questions over the last 4 years have been about the business end of the game. Your insight has been very helpful.

    • bangkokben - May 3, 2016 at 11:29 AM

      Agree on all points.

    • ET - May 3, 2016 at 12:18 PM

      On the player’s side, all about the signing bonuses and guaranteed money. The rest of an NFL contract is about as bankable as as a collateralized debt obligation c. 2008. Which is to say not at all.

  7. Mr.moneylover - May 3, 2016 at 12:29 PM

    They picked up some undrafted gems…they added 19 players so far seven had signed

    • bangkokben - May 3, 2016 at 1:42 PM

      Where’s the list, Moneyman?

    • bangkokben - May 3, 2016 at 1:52 PM

      Nevermind, here’s the list from SBnation. I imagine the list may change slightly.


      Donzale Ashley, S, Ashland
      Kevin Bowen, OT, East Central
      Tevin Carter, S, Utah
      Michael Cooper, TE, Indiana
      Shiro Davis, DE, Texas
      Reginald Diggs, WR, Richmond
      Ejiro Ederaine, LB, Fresno State
      Joe Gore, OT, Clemson
      Travis Greene, RB, Bowling Green
      Maurice Harris, WR, Cal
      Johnta Hebert, RB, Prairie View A&M
      Dominick Jackson, OT, Alabama
      Rob Kelley, RB, Tulane
      Joe Kerridge, FB, Michigan
      Anthony Lanier, DE, Alamaba A&M
      Kelly Mason, LS, Kentucky
      Geno Matias-Smith, DB, Alabama
      Andre McCullouch, WR, Rocky Mountain
      Kenneth Springer, DB, NM Highlands

  8. bertyboz - May 3, 2016 at 1:43 PM

    “You would subtract that from the $8 million they save by not having to pay his 2016 salary and the net cap savings would have been $4.25 million.”

    If they didn’t use the Post-June 1st designation it actually would be $9.25Mill ($8Mill base + $1.25Mill bonus) subtract the whole remainder bonus ($3.75Mill). The net cap savings would have been $5.5Mill in 2016 not $4.25Mill.

    The fact they used the designation pushes $2.5Mill into dead money for 2017.

    • bangkokben - May 3, 2016 at 1:57 PM

      Yeah, I noticed that too. Not sure how Rich missed it because I’m sure he had the $5.5M figure in his past discussions on this topic. Yep. He did.

  9. Jazzy - May 3, 2016 at 2:34 PM

    What has counsin done ti deserve 17/ 18 mill. A year. He play one full year where his numbers were average at best.. 17mil a year thats Big Ben type Phillip Rivers and Drew Brees type money. Did he improve last yes but not 17mil improvement. I can think of alot more positions that need to be address than giving cousin 17m a year….. He is a 8 to 10 mil dollar a year player at best

    • Rich Tandler - May 3, 2016 at 2:41 PM

      You should Google “NFL quarterback salaries” and educate yourself before saying something dumb. Well, it’s too late for that but go educate yourself anyway.

      • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - May 3, 2016 at 4:39 PM

        Bam! There goes the folding chair!


      • Joe Ringling - May 3, 2016 at 6:14 PM


      • kenlinkins - May 3, 2016 at 8:15 PM

        Rich: would you agree that Cousins is in a rare position of being a lower / middle round QB draft pick that landed in a “hole” of the CBA by having one very good year at the end of his contract and no 5th year team option? Or does this happen more then I know?

        • Rich Tandler - May 3, 2016 at 8:20 PM

          @kenlinkins, Cousins is a very rare case, indeed.

    • jonevans511 - May 3, 2016 at 7:40 PM

      Trying to point out how much money the next man should make for a job you haven’t ever held, in a business you clearly don’t understand, is a sure fire way to telegraph your ignorance. The going rate for even competent QBs is MUCH higher than “8 to 10 mil”, so unless it’s your checkbook I’d leave the salary determination to the guys in charge.

  10. Jlb12300 - May 3, 2016 at 6:05 PM

    Well Rich you were right again. Just last week you said this would probably happen if they draft a cb. It must feel good to be right as much as you are. Lol after they signed Norman I think most of us knew it was going to happen. Culver’s poor play had something to do with it. The cap savings we needed to sign Reed to a long term .

  11. Jax4 - May 3, 2016 at 7:18 PM

    Love the pick of Fuller, but I can’t help but think about Chase Minnifield who had the same surgery. Lets hope Fuller can make it back

  12. hotpicksblog - May 3, 2016 at 7:18 PM

    Culliver is the only BIG mistake that Scott M has made thus far. It was a ridiculous signing because an million dollar cap hit is reserved for Pro Bowl players. This was a comfort signing as were the other Seattle and San Fran signings by Scott. Jeron Johnson…GONE…..Desean Goldson….GONE… for a tight end from San Fran…..etc I hope Scott has let the past finally go and we can move forward now.

    • hotpicksblog - May 3, 2016 at 7:19 PM

      my 8 key didn’t work but that is an 8 million dollar cap hit.

    • ET - May 3, 2016 at 8:05 PM

      If Culliver had a good season last year, that would’ve been a reasonable price. AND Scot/Bruce were smart enough to write Cully’s contract with some well-placed outs. Not the best signing ever, but not even close to a Haynesworthian deal. I’m ok with it.

    • bangkokben - May 4, 2016 at 7:16 AM

      $8 million is NOT reserved for Pro Bowl players. $15 million IS. Culliver’s contract ($8,000,000 Average Per Year) WAS 20TH highest of ALL cornerbacks. Does that sound like a Pro Bowl contract? Are there 20 pro-bowl corners a year? Not a big mistake.

      As to the moving on from the past mantra, Ricky Jean-Francois was a good pick up. But how are you supposed to build a team in year one? These moves represent 10-15% of all first year moves and clearly Scot has shown he’s willing to move on if they don’t work out. This isn’t the same as Spurrier. Where he HAS to learn from his mistakes. The GM has already moved on.

  13. kenlinkins - May 3, 2016 at 8:31 PM

    Rich, What is the total cost of Cullivers one year of play? I come up with about $8 million on a 4 year deal of $32 Million with $16 million guaranteed?

    • Rich Tandler - May 4, 2016 at 5:18 AM

      It was $8 million, the $5 million signing bonus and the $3 million 2015 salary. Archives

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