Washington Redskins: Jon Jansen's Restructure

Rich TandlerSenior Analyst IFebruary 21, 2008

Jon Jansen has agreed to restructure his contract.  As most of us know, such a deal generally does not cost the player any money.  A payment due to a player is reclassified from one category to another, creating cap space for the team.  In this case, Jansen reduced his 2008 salary from almost $5 million to $730,000, the minimum salary for a player with Jansen’s tenure.  The difference of about $4.25 million was converted into a signing bonus and the cap impact will be spread over the remaining four years of his deal.

The net 2008 cap savings total is about $3.2 million. The move leaves the Redskins just about $700,000 over the cap after accounting for the contracts of Mark Brunell and Rock Cartwright, both of which void at the start of free agency.

Jansen missed all of the 2004 season with an achilles injury, and he went out for the 2007 season in the first quarter of the first game with a dislocated ankle.  He’s been tagged as injury prone and that, along with his age (32), has some doubting whether or not the Redskins should bring him back.

Cutting him was not seriously considered as that would have resulted in a net cap hit of $1.7 million.

From 1999 through 2003, Jansen never missed a game and rarely missed a snap (after doing the same thing the previous four years at Michigan), earning the nickname “The Rock.”  The injuries have stripped him of that moniker.

The view here, is that the injury prone rap is somewhat unfair.  An achilles tear is just a fluke, and he has fully recovered from that.  The injury last year was also just bad luck, as the pile rolled over his leg.  It’s not like he has a bad knee, a bum shoulder, or another chronic injury that’s likely to cause problems.

Still, it’s a performance league and Jansen will have to return to top form if he wants to see the remaining salary dollars from the extension he signed before last season.  Jansen’s performance since 1999 has gone from solid to just below elite, then back to solid.  Many offensive linemen maintain that level of play well into their mid-30’s, and it’s certainly possible that Jansen can do just that.

(All salary cap data courtesy of PC’s Redskins Salary Cap site.)