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Need to Know: Redskins are in good cap shape in 2017

Jun 3, 2016, 5:28 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Friday, June 3, 55 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond.


—The Redskins last played a game 145 days ago. It will be 101 days until they host the Steelers in their 2016 season opener.

Days until: Redskins training camp starts 55; Preseason opener @ Falcons 69; Final roster cut to 53, 92

I’m enjoying a vacation week in the Outer Banks. While I’m gone I’m presenting a few of the most popular posts from earlier this offseason (Note: A few details may not be updated) as well as some posts looking back at some of the team’s best performances. Thanks for reading, see you again on Monday, June 6.

This article was originally published on May 6.

Even after the Redskins signed Josh Norman and Jordan Reed to substantial contracts, the team still has more than adequate salary cap space in 2017 to sign its other pending free agent, including quarterback Kirk Cousins.

According to after Norman’s extension hit the books and after accounting for Chris Culliver’s release the Redskins had $117.2 million in salary cap dollars committed for 2017.

That does not count them signing their seven draft picks, which will add around $5 million to their 2017 committed money. But there also are some players counting against the cap who are unlikely to be there. It’s probably a pretty safe bet that you can subtract the salaries of Andre Roberts ($4 million), Shawn Lauvao ($4 million), and Kory Lichtensteiger ($3.5 million).

Adding in for the draft picks and subtracting for the veterans, that nets out to the Redskins having $110.7 million in salary cap commitments.

We don’t yet have the details of Reed’s contract so we don’t know how much he will cost against the 2017 cap [Update: Reed will count $5.8 million next year]. It’s a five-year, $50 million extension that actually starts in 2017. Usually the first year of such a deal has a lower cap number and then it grows as the years go on and the cap grows. For example, Norman’s deal averages $15 million per year and the first-year cap hit was only $8 million.

But let’s round up and figure that the 2017 cap hit will be what the average annual value of the contract is, $10 million. It might be a little higher but you’ll see in a moment that a few million dollars is not all that significant. That pushes the 2017 commitment up to $120.7 million.

The NFL salary cap this year is $155.27 million. It’s a very safe bet that the cap will increase in 2017. The increase from 2014 to 2015 was 8.3 percent. If it goes up by the same year-to-year percentage the 2017 cap will be $168 million. It may be a few million more or less but that’s in the ballpark.

Subtracting the $120.7 million that the Redskins are likely to have committed from the $168 million cap, that leaves the Redskins with about $47.3 million in sap space for 2017.

That will be more than adequate space to pay Cousins and others who might be in line for new contracts. The key will be having a salary cap structure similar to those of other successful teams. Besides Norman, if the three veterans mentioned above are released the two highest-priced contracts signed by free agents will be Stephen Paea ($5.8 million cap number) and Ricky Jean Francois ($4 million). And Paea won’t be around for that number if his play doesn’t rise to that level.

As long as Scot McCloughan continues to have productive drafts the Redskins can limit free agent signings to a supplemental way of acquiring talent, not the primary method. The organization will be able to pick and choose the players they want to keep and have a structure with some home-grown talent with large second contracts and perhaps a Norman-like free agent at the top, some moderate deals like the ones that Morgan Moses and Bashaud Breeland are likely to get forming an upper middle class, other role players who are on second contracts and then the more recent draft picks working on their inexpensive rookie deals.

In case you missed it 

  1. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Jun 3, 2016 at 8:19 AM

    I feel pretty good about GMSM’s management.

    Not everything he’s done has been perfect, but he’s got a vision and he’s getting us there.

  2. bangkokben - Jun 3, 2016 at 9:13 AM

    Yep. Plenty of room next year — at least $40 million with the ability to get to more than $60 million if needed.

    • goback2rfk - Jun 3, 2016 at 11:28 PM

      must be not much to talk about if we are bringing up the cap space for 2017.

    • rtcwon - Jun 5, 2016 at 7:58 PM

      I don’t see where they can get another $20M if needed. Other than Paea (max $4.55) Hall ($4.25) RJF ($3) and McCoy ($2.8) there are no cuts that save more than $2M.

      Good news is the fat has already been trimmed.

      • bangkokben - Jun 5, 2016 at 8:55 PM

        Au contraire. The $40M is based on a conservative estimate of the cap — $166M in 2017. This year, the Redskin’s cap is at: $161,402,474 [but who’s counting? ;) ] Jacksonville’s cap is: $189,740,110. How can this be? Simple. Teams can rollover their unused cap space now. Since 2011, teams have been allowed to take unused cap space and apply it to the following season provided they announce the amount before the end of the regular season in progress. So the Redskins, who are currently $11M under cap, could rollover some of that onto next year’s cap — which they undoubtedly will.

        A couple of key unknowns. Next year’s cap and how much the Redskins will rollover but this will likely increase the Redskin’s cap space next year anywhere from $10-$20M varying from conservative to optimistic projections.

        Now, we can look at contracts that may not be honored. Here are their savings:
        $4,250,000 Hall
        $4,000,000 Lauvao
        $3,500,000 Lichtensteiger
        $3,300,000 Paea
        $3,000,000 RJF
        $2,000,000 Paul

        Remember, if any of these guys don’t make the team THIS YEAR, next year’s cap space will increase immediately.

        So there are lot’s of options to get the ‘skin’s cap space to $60M. Bottom line, they have the flexibility to do what they want to do.

  3. redskins12thman - Jun 4, 2016 at 7:23 AM

    Won’t the team keep Lichtensteiger and Lauvao, if they are healthy?

    Riley’s salary cap number is very high too and he still hasn’t recovered from that late season injury.

    • bangkokben - Jun 4, 2016 at 10:04 AM

      Doubtful the Licht and Lauvao are on the 2017 roster. Riley will be a free agent after this season, so it’s not trending that he’ll be either.

  4. rtcwon - Jun 5, 2016 at 7:49 PM

    With all of the above now complete (except release of Lauvao & Lichtensteiger by next off season) the actual number is $42.375M under the hypothetical cap of $168M. $47.3M was a pretty close estimate. Archives

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