Updating Redskins' Salary-Cap Situation After 1st Wave of Free Agency

Matthew BrownCorrespondent IMarch 25, 2014

Washington Redskins outside linebacker Brian Orakpo looks across the field during the first half of a NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Landover, Md., Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Richard Lipski)
Richard Lipski/Associated Press

The Washington Redskins started the free-agency period with over $25 million in cap space to work with. The first wave has come and gone and the team has yet to make any waves, opting for quiet signings that have strengthened its foundation.

After two weeks of action, Spotrac.com indicates that the Redskins have a little less than $7 million in cap space remaining.

Washington's biggest move thus far has been using the franchise tag on linebacker Brian Orakpo, which is worth $11.455 million for the 2014 season. Following the move, Mike Jones of The Washington Post reported that the Redskins would begin free agency with $18.6 million in cap space.

It wasn't long before the big names the Redskins were expected to pursue were snapped up by the highest bidders.

Free safety Jairus Byrd as well as cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Alterraun Verner were off the board after the first day.

On the first day of free agency, the Redskins re-signed inside linebacker Perry Riley and signed receiver Andre Roberts from the Arizona Cardinals. Combined, the moves cost the team $29 million over the next four years, which is fantastic considering the potential impact and long-term value Riley and Roberts offer.

The next move the Redskins made was signing Jason Hatcher, a defensive end formerly of the division rival Dallas Cowboys.

Hatcher's deal is worth up to $27.5 million and represents an immense upgrade for the Redskins, who may be without veteran Stephen Bowen after he underwent offseason microfracture surgery.

Among the less publicized moves the team made were the acquisition of Akeem Jordan—a former outside linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia EaglesChris Baker's contract extension and the signing of Cleveland Browns guard Shawn Lauvao.

ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 11:  Jason Hatcher #97 of the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on August 11, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Moving forward, with the limited cap room they have remaining, the Redskins need to focus on acquiring one or two key players to fill their needs.

Center Brian de la Puente visited the Redskins last week, and while he isn't a sure-fire Pro Bowl offensive lineman, he is an upgrade over Will Montgomery, who was released on March 14 in an effort to save cap space.

De la Puente is capable and wouldn't cost the Redskins more than $1.5 million per year considering the demand—or lack thereoffor his services.

Another area of need is receiver, where the Redskins still lack a big-bodied possession receiver.

Leonard Hankerson would be that guy, but he is recovering from surgery to repair a torn ACL and ESPN.com's John Keim reports that he won't be available until mid-August.

While the draft remains the most appealing option, Keim also mentioned that the Redskins are reportedly still interested in former Tennessee Titan Kenny Britt. Britt has the potential to be a possession/third-down receiver, but injuries, inconsistency and a 2012 arrest do not make him an appealing option.

Ryan Clark's name is still floating around as a possible signing at safety, but Mike Jones of the Washington Post suggests that nothing new has come out of the ongoing talks.

With top-tier options dwindling each day, the Redskins don't have a ton of time or money to waste in building their roster.

Even though they have needs to fill, the low-key approach to free agency has been refreshingparticularly since they've added good talent without breaking the bank.

While roughly $7 million in cap space may not seem like much to work with, the spending the Redskins have done thus far points to a renewed emphasis on the draft as well as a long-term vision—one that doesn't include ludicrous amounts of cash spent on one player who washes out of the NFL in less than two years.