Could 2013 Free-Agent Market Force Drastic Cap Casualties for the Redskins?
With the first day of free agency officially in the books, the Washington Redskins stayed quiet and thrifty.
Not only does the new regime led by head coach Mike Shanahan work entirely different than the Vinny Cerrato-led clown car of seasons past, but the Redskins also received no favors from the league in their efforts to eliminate an $18 million cap penalty.
Nevertheless, after one day, the Redskins have re-signed punter Sav Rocca to a two-year deal (via Mike Jones of Washington Post) and defensive lineman Kedric Golston to a three-year deal (via Adam Schefter of ESPN). Sound the alarm.
Perhaps more notably, cornerback Greg Toler signed a three-year, $15 million deal with the Indianapolis Colts, per an official team release. There were initial reports, via USA Today, that the Redskins were interested in Toler's services.
Still, with major holes in the secondary following the release of DeAngelo Hall, the Redskins have some moves to make. If they have any desire to do so in free agency with some of the bigger-name guys remaining, they'd need to make a drastic move or two with their current roster.
Take a corner like Aqib Talib, for example. Arguably the top free agent at his position, if the Redskins' reported interest is real (Mike Garafolo via USA Today), then they'll require some serious coin.
The same would go for a corner like Sean Smith (noted interest), Antoine Cason, Derek Cox, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and maybe even veteran Antoine Winfield.
Is this speculation? Sure. But it's also possible. If the Redskins need to make room in the cap, there are three moves in particular that would make the front page and possibly leave the fanbase scratching their heads.
Given the Redskins' lack of depth at corner, getting rid of Josh Wilson would be a risky move.
However, Wilson didn't perform well last season and the Redskins may have more confidence in a free agent like Talib, Smith or Cason moving forward.
In addition, Wilson enters the final year of his deal in 2013. If the Redskins don't plan on offering him another contract following this season, parting ways now via trade or release would save an approximate $4 million in cap room.
Most of Redskins Nation would go insane if this happened. Heck, they're probably going wild just from the mention. And that's fair.
The truth, though, is that Brian Orakpo is entering the last year of his contract and he's been bothered with injuries. Although I'm part of the gang that wants to see Orakpo stick around, the Redskins don't work on the basis of fan favorites.
If the Redskins are timid regarding Orakpo's durability and they don't feel comfortable about their chances of a team-friendly deal at the end of the year for him to further prove his reliability, the team could possibly look to move him for a draft pick while they still can.
In doing so, the Redskins would save approximately $3 million in cap room.
Orakpo's absence last season had a direct effect on the defense's ability to rush the passer, in turn creating a tougher time for the weaker secondary.
Definitely the least surprising of the three, releasing safety Brandon Meriweather shouldn't turn off too many fans.
Although Meriweather's presence was felt last season during limited action, he had obvious trouble remaining healthy and staying on the field.
Somewhat like the proposed Josh Wilson move, this is a tough one for the Redskins based off current depth. But, if the team is confident they can land a good enough safety prospect in, say, the second round, and they feel strongly enough with a top-tier corner in free agency, then it's a possibility.
Releasing Meriweather would save the Redskins roughly $1.3 million in cap room.
Again, this is just food for thought. There aren't any reports on the airwaves or rumors swirling about.
We've seen teams turn giddy come free agency, and while this Redskins team doesn't seem like the type, Shanahan is pretty good at keeping his cards close to the vest.
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