You can reach Rich Tandler by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
On the list of players that the Redskins will take a hard
look at cutting in their efforts to trim enough salary money to get under the
cap is kicker John Hall. His cap number for 2006 is $1.4 million and waiving
him would save a net of $780,000. That’s not a huge amount, but three quarters
of a million bucks here and there and pretty soon we’re talking about some real
Should the Redskins make this move and release Hall, who
turns 32 on St. Patrick’s Day?
If it’s strictly a money decision, the answer is probably
not. Again, his cap number is fairly significant, but it’s not like the team
can go without a kicker on its roster counting something against the cap. A
big-name replacement such as the Colts’ Mike Vanderjagt or the Patriots’ Adam Vinatieri
would almost certainly count more against the cap than does Hall. Even a lesser
veteran such as San Francisco’s Joe Nedney wouldn’t offer much in terms of savings
if any at all.
The other route to replace Hall would be to get a few
younger legs and let them battle it out in camp. That’s a high-risk strategy,
but it’s the only one that will save any significant money.
So, do you get rid of Hall because of performance reasons?
The last image of Hall for the 2005 season was him going wide left with a
36-yard field goal that would have brought the Redskins within four of the
eventual NFC champion Seahawks in the fourth quarter of their divisional
playoff game. That and the five games he missed with a leg injury tend to make
many view him as a liability.
What those people forget is that he missed just two field
goals during the regular season. To be sure, one was a potential game-winner in
the fourth quarter against San Diego, but that was a 52-yard attempt, an iffy
proposition for most kickers. He’s not one of these tiny guys who are afraid of
contact; he wears a defender’s burgundy jersey at practice while his fellow
kickers don the traditional white of offensive players. It’s part of his
So the choices are these—pay more for a “star” kicker, go
into the large pool of untested kickers and hope you strike gold like the
Cardinals did with Neil Rakers or stick with the flawed but known quantity in
The view here is that, barring some change in the labor
agreement that creates some money for the Redskins to go after the likes of
Vinatieri, the Redskins are better off sticking with Hall. He’s on a very short
list of players I’d like to see attempting a 40-yarder in December to get into
the playoffs and the only one that the team can reasonably afford.