Redskins’ 2006 Salary
First though, lets get some facts and
assumptions on the table up front.
- The Redskins will inherit $3.6m in dead cap money (from players
cut after June 1, 2005) that will count against the 2006 cap
- The Skins currently have 44 contracted players, one ERFA and
one RFA for 2006 at a current cap number of $109.6m – assuming all option
bonuses due in 2006 are taken up. (see attached table)
- Recent media articles on the NFL wide salary cap number for
2006 are continuing to assume that the NFL will increase in the cap into
the $95m range
- Similarly, recent media articles are also continuing to report
that the NFL owners are no closer to resolving the major issue of revenue
sharing (among other issues) that is preventing a new or extended
Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) from materialising, making it a real
possibility that no new agreement will be in place before the 2006 season
- The Redskins will have 6 picks in the 2006 National College
Draft (starting from round 2).
- Among the 11 players who will be UFA’s in 2006 are some key
players and/or good performers in 2005 - S Ryan Clark, RB Rock Cartwright,
DE Demetric Evans, LB Khary Campbell, LS Ethan Albright and TE Robert Royal.
- One other player situation also needs noting - Derrick Dockery can opt out of the
final year of his contract and become an RFA in 2006.
So at this point in time the team would be
looking at a 2006 cap figure of around $113.2m based on 46 players and the dead
cap inherited from 2005 compared to an anticipated NFL cap figure of around
The reality that a new CBA or an extension
of the current CBA will not occur prior to the 2006 league year has a number of
impacts on the 2006 salary cap of teams.
These impacts range from not being able to spread out any guaranteed
portion of player contracts further than 2009 to eliminating the post June 1
cap relief that teams can seek by releasing players and having the unallocated
portions of the guaranteed money spread over two years.
Washington currently has 10 players under
contract that are owed roster bonuses in 2006, totalling $20.7m. Around $20.2m of these roster bonuses can be
guaranteed before they are due which will have the effect of spreading out the
cap affect evenly across the remaining life of the players contract or to the
maximum years allowed under the CBA, which assuming the CBA will not be
extended/renewed before the 2006 season commences, will mean they will only
count 5.2m in 2006 – a cap saving of $15m.
The savings would be greater (another $1m saved) if the CBA was
renewed/extended before these bonuses are guaranteed, but that’s looking
This delay in reaching a new agreement has
even more direct implications for the Redskins. As I outlined in my last article, the bogus LTBE incentives in
the contracts of Samuels, Wynn, Patten and Rabach, totalling $6.125m in 2006
are tied to the outcome of CBA negotiations.
If, as we are assuming, the CBA isn’t extended/renewed by the time the
2006 league year kicks in, these incentives will continue to count against the
cap in 2006.
Taking these two impacts into account the
Skins cap figure will be in the vicinity of
$98m – still $3m above the NFL assumed cap but still a manageable
situation. So what else could be done to
create additional cap space?
1. Contract restructuring - extending contracts or converting base
salary to bonus money to reduce the affect on cap in 2006 – and there are a
number of candidates here with high base salaries. In fact 16 players have base salaries ranging from $1m to $4m and
totalling $28m. The team could also
renegotiate the contracts of those players with the bogus LTBE incentives to
push them back into 2007.
2. Releasing/trading high priced players who are no longer starters –
Patrick Ramsey would be the most obvious candidate for trade and that would
result in a $1.7m saving against the cap.
Some candidates for release would be Matt Bowen ($2.0m saving), Walt Harris ($2.0m saving), and Cory Raymer ($0.9m).
3. Other higher priced experienced players who’s starter or key backup
positions could be replaced with either more cost effective young players or
veterans counting only veteran minimum salaries. These moves could also be made to save money to upgrade some
starting positions (eg. DE)
A combination of these moves could save the
Redskins anything up to around $15m which could be used to sign players in
positions of most need (ie. DE and WR), resign key free agents (ie. Ryan
Clark), sign or draft key low cost replacements at positions requiring depth.
The Redskins cap experts are also very
creative in constructing contracts for free agent acquisitions that can reduce
the cap impact in a tight year like 2006 but overall pay the players their
worth. The Santana Moss contract last
offseason was a prime example of this where a low signing bonus was agreed to
in return for a higher option bonus the following year. Given the constraints of spreading out
guaranteed money this, and other creative contract language in areas like
Unlikely To Be Earned (UTBE) incentives, will be used even more frequently in
2006 to juggle player payments unless the CBA is renewed/extended. The prospect of an uncapped year in 2007
could see team owners and administrators offer even more second year money to
player to get them to “play ball” on contracts in 2006.
So while on the surface the Redskins appear
to be in cap hell, some closer analysis of the situation reveals that
Washington is in fairly good shape cap wise for 2006.