The Washington Redskins will enter the 2013 offseason with a tight grip around their wallet. With only a nominal increase in the expected NFL salary cap level, the Redskins will struggle to manage current and future contracts with their current cap situation.
The NFL salary cap is expected to rise only $1 million next season, bringing each team's maximum to $121 million. With around $3 million in "roll over" cap, the Redskins pre-2013 cap will be around $124 million. However, that cap will likely be reduced by the $18 million penalty imposed by the league (2 yr/ $36 million penalty) bringing the starting number down to $106 million. The Redskins will also have to deal with $1.83 million in "dead cap" from releasing Chris Cooley, further reducing the total cap space.
With a little over $104 million in cap space, the Redskins will need to do some serious contract tinkering and bargain hunting to fill the roster. The following 15 players are unrestricted free agents heading into the offseason:
QB: Rex Grossman
TE: Fred Davis, Chris Cooley
T: Jordan Black, Tyler Polumbus
G: Kory Lichtensteiger
LB: Lorenzo Alexander, Rob Jackson, Chris Wilson
DT: Chris Baker
DE: Kedric Golston
CB: Cedric Griffin, David Jones
S: Madieu Williams
P: Sav Rocca
The offensive line, linebacker and secondary positions will all be key areas the Redskins will be looking to upgrade this offseason. Here are some players that should be targeted and contracts that need to be renegotiated.
DeAngelo Hall: DeAngelo Hall's contract needs to be renegotiated immediately. Hall is due $7.5 million in 2013 and $9 million in 2014. This is premier corner money for slightly above average play. If he is unwilling to rework his deal, Hall's days in Washington will be numbered.
Josh Wilson: Wilson's contract is not nearly as shocking as Hall's, collecting $3.4 million in 2012. Heading into the final year of his contract, Wilson is due $3.9 million. The Redskins could offer Wilson an extension and convert his base pay to bonuses, allowing them to spread the cap hit over the length of the contract.
Rashad Johnson (Arizona Cardinals, CB): Johnson is a fourth year veteran out of Alabama and is rounding into a solid corner. While not a premier corner, Johnson offers quality play for reasonable pay. Johnson is playing on a 1 year $1.26 million deal currently and would be a quality addition to the Redskins secondary.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (Philadelphia Eagles, CB): DRC has premier corner talent and the Eagles are putting off extending the young star. If the Eagles decide to fire Andy Reid, there may be major changes in Philly and new management may allow Rodgers-Cromartie to walk. If Hall is released or reworks his deal to free up money, the Redskins should attempt to sign DRC in the neighborhood of $4-7 million per year
The offensive line contracts currently on the books are pretty reasonable with Trent Williams collecting only $5 million in 2013 after a $14 million balloon payment this season. Here are some potential targets for the remaining positions on the offensive line.
Will Beatty (New York Giants, Tackle): Beatty is a versatile tackle that can play on both the right and left side. He is heading into the final year of his deal making only $615k as a starter. If the Giants are unable to keep the former Connecticut standout, the Redskins must make an offer.
Phil Loadholt (Minnesota Vikings, Tackle): Loadholt struggled in his early years at left tackle, but has made substantial improvements on the right side. Another bargain player, Loadholt received $615k this year and may be looking elsewhere for employment. At 6'8", 343 pounds, Loadholt would be a substantial upgrade over Tyler Polumbus
Matt Slauson (New York Jets, Guard): Slauson came into 2012 accepting a pay cut from the Jets down to $1.05 million. Heading into free agency for the first time, With uncertainty looming around the return of Kory Lichtensteiger, Slauson may be a worthwhile replacement to target.
London Fletcher: Fletcher just received an extension this offseason but he is set to receive $5.5 million next season. With injuries starting to take their tole on the dependable veteran, the Redskins will need to rework this deal into a more cap friendly contract.
Quentin Groves (Arizona Cardinals, OLB): Groves is a relatively inexpensive (currently $700k) player who flashed impressive skills this week against Atlanta. While not a premier pass rusher, Groves does possess experience at the hybrid DE/OLB position and could be used as a solid depth player.
Phillip Wheeler (Oakland Raiders, MLB): Wheeler is an explosive player who can be seen constantly flying to the ball. Currently making only $700k, and still very young, Wheeler may be a worthwhile add in the offseason.