With the NFL notifying teams Thursday night that the salary cap for the 2013 season is set at $123 million, the Washington Redskins know where they stand and how much maneuvering they must do to create some spending money that would enable them to upgrade their roster.
The cap originally was expected to be around $121 million, so things actually played out somewhat favorably for Washington in that the spending limit is $2 million higher.
The Redskins are believed to be around $3 million over the cap, and unless they somehow are able to pull off their last-ditch effort to recoup some of that $18 million that the league has docked them (the second installment of the two-year, $36 million penalty for how they structured contracts during the uncapped 2010 season), Bruce Allen and Eric Schaffer have a fair amount of work ahead of them.
Early in the week, people with knowledge of the situation said that Washington was considering filing an injunction as a fight to get some of that money back. But as of late Thursday, the team was not believed to have done so, those people said.
If the Redskins do opt against such an action, they have until 4 p.m. on Tuesday, March 12, to get below the cap for the start of the new league year, and free agency, by either restructuring contracts or releasing players.
The Redskins need to more than just get under the cap, because they have 19 players of their own with expiring deals, and they have needs to meet in free agency, particularly safety, cornerback and right tackle and left guard. So, while getting under the cap (trimming roughly $3 million) isn’t much of a challenge, creating financial flexibility could be. For example, last season, the signings of Pierre Garcon, Josh Morgan, Brandon Meriweather, Madieu Williams, Tanard Jackson and Adam Carriker took up roughly $13 million in 2012 cap money.
So, whose deals would the Redskins look to restructure? Cornerback DeAngelo Hall, as has been well documented, has a salary cap figure of $8 million for 2013. He said at the end of the season that he was willing to do whatever it took to remain in Washington. The team could consider breaking up that money into an extension of sorts (Hall has one year left on his deal after 2013), but made an attempt to do so.