Unsung Heroes - A Salary Cap Tale
By: Bernie Marshall 
Posted: 2006-09-13
Category: Washington Redskins News
Well it looks like "the Danny" has done it again. He has got what some call "the most talented team in NFL history" the same year he was reported to be forced to field 22 rookies. How do the Washington Redskins do it?

It is hard to believe due to the sources – the same people that, two years ago where yelling to anyone that would listen that “Snyder is ruining the Redskins with all his spending” and “the Cap will get them next year and Snyder will pay the piper”. They are now saying he has the team he wants and by all reports, the Skins will start the season under the cap. Most says a couple of million under.

If you follow what is written here at THN, you are comfortable with not believing the first thing you read when it comes to the Cap and the Redskins. This time however they appear to be correct

Let us review:

First, we learned there really is a cap and it is not just a myth. - The new CBA proves it is real. Secondly, “the Danny” does not cheat; he is a smart businessman who knows what he is doing. Finally, there is no one in the National Football League making 40 and 50 million dollars a year. They sign the contracts but we all know a 7-year deal may only be good for two or three.

Let us look at the other side of the coin…

We know how the Redskins breakdown contracts and the NFL set down rules that must be followed, but there is a third group that has some say in this. We do not hear much about this group during the season therefore those that benefit the most are generally overlooked.

Let us look at guys that made this roster and will make less than a $1,000,000 against the Cap this year. We say look at these guys because it is said “the Danny” throws his millions around, well what happens when he throws around his less than millions?

Guys like Rock Cartwright, Khary Campbell, Ade Jimoh, Lemar Marshall, Chris Cooley, Mike Sellers, Demetric Evans, Ladell Betts, Pierson Prioleau, and Joe Salave'a are all contributors and they basically play every game. That is ten active players taking up less than $10,000,000 ($7,467,000) in cap space... Of that money $1,325,000 is pro-rated bonus money (this is money that has already been paid but will count against the cap this year.

Redskins fans know these guys and with the exception of (maybe) Ade Jimoh most would say they are all worth at least a million a year. At the same time, the doomsayers will try to sidetrack you, by saying “but look at what they were paid when they signed” your response should be ”Whatever”.

They do not have a valid argument so they refer to the past, disregard the present, and continue to predict a bleak future. It will sound something like this…. Those 10 player may not cost the Redskins a million dollars each “this year” but what was the cost when they signed, and all the money that was spent this year will kill them down the road (it use to be “in 2 years” but they got tiered of explaining where they went wrong every two years so now it’s down the road).

The fact is The Redskins have been down that road and found out it was just good business to do it the way they do it. The team makes boatloads of money off the best fans on Earth so why not spend it? It is not if you spend the money, it is how you spend the money. That is the big business and big money.

However, this is not about that or that group. This is about those that are generally overlooked by the fans unless they are in a game and do something wrong, at that point everyone knows his name and his history. The summary would go something like this…
“Why is he on the team, he’s never been a top notch guy – solution = cut him and get a stud”.


The Players Association thought about them and so does “the Danny”. Te NFLPA negotiated rules to help guys that can still play in the league but with the cap, it is just hard to fit them under it. They came up with special rules for veteran players. The rule states minimum salaries for veterans (plus up to $40,000 signing bonus) with at least four years of experience will only count $425,000 against the team salary cap for qualifying contracts. This is known as a player making “the Vet. Min.” The Vet Min. depends on the number of years a player has been in the league. “The Danny” calls “the Vet. Min.” - getting value for your money. The fans should call the players “The Unsung Heroes”

Here’s why

The Redskins get value for their money, from the highest paid guy to the player that makes the least, the truth is what they make and what it does to the cap will never be the same, and the cap hit will never be as much a first reported.

Mike Pucillo, Tyson Walter, Ethan Albright, Jeff Posey, Warrick Holdman and Kenny Wright are guys that can be called Unsung Heroes. They all contribute as depth, are all veterans and bring leadership to the locker room. In this group’s case, we have six players making $4,120,000 and only counting $2,720,000 against the Cap. Again, you have low cap hits for guys that will contribute on the weekly bases. So a player like Jeff Posey can be signed for $710,000 given a $40,000 bonus and only count $465,000 against the cap, if the player doesn’t work out (like a Julian Battle) it would only cost the team $40,000 in dead cap. However, look at the guys listed, Warrick Holdman is the starting WLB, Albright, Wright, and Posey will be major contributors for the Redskins and Ethan Albright has been the long snapper for as long as I can remember (one vet. min. Contract at a time).

The list of reason why we manage the cap so well is out there for everyone to see but no one is looking. Look at the people that have been brought in after the start of preseason (guys that were not in the plans to start with). Trades for players like TJ Duckett and Mike Rumph will cost about a $1.5M combined, throw in the $362K in dead cap for Taylor Jacobs and you still have two contributors for less the a million dollar average. More money well spent.

To recap 18 guys making less than a million each, all getting playing time and taking up about $10 million in cap.
The Redskins have a third of the team taking up 10% of the allotted cap.

That is Cap management.

-Bernie Marshall
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