Is it time for a Change?
By: Bernie Marshall 
Posted: 2006-11-02
Category: Washington Redskins News
There are a lot of cries for the Redskins to make some changes. The demands for change are not limited to our quarterback or safety, but include calls to change whoever it is that makes these personnel decisions. Yep, it’s that time of the season again. We all know it: that point in the year when your team isn’t doing so well, you’ve spent the last month trashing every player that comes to mind, you've polished off the coaching staff, and you've badmouthed the owner to the point that even you don’t want to listen to it anymore.

It’s time to turn to the General Manager of Football Operations. The Washington Redskins do not have a person in that position, so the cries for his head would be pointless. Fans will instead demand that the Skins hire of one, of course. (They do this partly so that they can call for his firing somewhere down the road).

The first thing a new GM will have to do is fit in. He will need to fit with the Owner, the President of Football Operations, the Director of Scouting, and a few others with three letter titles instead of actual jobs. It’s a small group out at Redskin Park: you have Gibbs, Cerrato, and “the Danny” out front. The new GM, if he's smart, will also make Eric Shaffer and Matt Jacobson his best friends. Shaffer and Jacobson have the job of managing the salary cap.

Before anything else can be done, the GM to be must get with them to find out what he can do with the salary cap. After this will follow the roster changes that everyone seems to want.

There was change in the CBA last year that will let a team release a player before June 1st but that also allows the team to say “we are letting him go early so he can get into the market and find work.” Gibbs is of course famous for doing this when it comes to vets, and most fans already know who they want that player to be.

Right now most want to see a change at quaterback. If that happens, Mark Brunell would be perfect for what is known as a "June 1st destination." Mark Brunell will count $6.6 million against the cap if he's on the team next year. If he is cut before June 1, he'll have a dead cap hit of $4.3 million in 2007. This would be a savings of $2.3 million. If he is cut after June 1, he'll count only $1.5 million in 2007, a savings of about $5 million compared to the $6.6 million he'd count if on the roster. With the new clause in the CBA, however, Mark could be let go in March and still be considered a June 1 release. Along with the 2007 savings, he’ll add $2.866m to the 2008 cap in dead cap space.

The clause actually reads:
'Before the start of the league year, a team can designate two players who will be destined for June 1 releases to spread out remaining signing bonus acceleration into the next year. To do this, teams must carry those players' cap numbers until June 1, but release them before March so they can hit free agency. After June 1, the team gets to remove the salary and take the remaining cap hit in the following year.'

This means that with everyone’s favorite QB half way out the door, Adam Archuleta should be right behind him. Some people call him the highest paid safety in the league, so this seems almost impossible. But remember, the contract that he signed wasn’t worth as much as you would think unless he plays here for 5 years.

Adam Archuleta will count $2.428 million against the cap in 2007 and is also due a $5 million option bonus. If the Redskins cut him immediately following the season, there would be a $4 million cap hit because of the prorated signing bonus he received last year; however, there would no longer be a salary to account for. If Archuleta is let go early and given a “June 1” designation, then he wouldn’t be paid the $5 million option bonus, and three quarters of that $4 million remaining in the prorated signing bonus would be moved to 2008.

Dead cap space is something else that a lot of fans cry about but don’t really think about until they see/hear what the amount is. This year, Washington is right around $16,507,000, and this number doesn’t carry over. As of now, the 2007 dead cap is a little over half a million dollars, so there is plenty of room to work with since the Redskins are accustomed to carrying at least $14 million on the books over the past few years.

There are other changes that may be made to free up more cap space next year. Carter, Archuleta, Lloyd, and Randle El all signed similar contracts, so if Carter doesn’t work out then he could be cut and there will be some more cap space.

John Hall wants to continue to play, so the Skins could let him get healthy and then cut him, incurring $1.965 million against the cap but saving $1.5 million in 2006 while taking $465,000 in dead cap space in 2007.

Renaldo Wynn’s 2007 cap number is a little over $4 million, and letting him go would free up his $2.5 million salary while taking up $1.528 million in dead cap space. Neither Wynn nor Hall would take up any cap space in 2008, so they can be let go at any point in time after this season.

David Patten is due to take up over $3 million in cap space in 2007 but only $725,000 of that is his salary, so he will likely have a job (until June, anyway). Releasing him before June would cost the new GM over $2 million in dead cap but, waiting until May is gone will allow $1.525 million to be pushed into 2008, saving an additional $1.762 million in 2007.

Mr. New GM will have to do something about the offensive line, as the Cap number for this group as a whole will be $23,515,000, and Derrick Dockery isn’t under contract beyond this season.

Most of the cap space is taken up by C. Samuels ($8,600,000), but unlike most players Samuels has re-worked his contract so many times that, if let go before June 1st, it would add money ($2,250,000) to his projected cap number in 2007. This is due to the whopping $4,682,000 pro-ration of his bonus money. Letting him go after June 1st would save $2,450,000, with a dead cap number of $6,150,000 in 2007, but it would also add another $7.7 million dead cap hit in 2008. I think it’s safe to say big #60 will still be playing Tackle for the Skins in 2007.

Randy Thomas is due $4 million in salary for 2007, but releasing him would only cause $1,412,000 in dead cap. Randy is the best offensive lineman on the team, and this move would only make sense if he were unwilling to rework his current deal.

Cutting Jon Jansen before June 1 would shave $2,647,000 of his current cap number but would add $3,206,000 of dead cap in 2007. Cutting him after June 1 would bump the savings to $4,250,000 in 2007 while lowering the dead cap to $1,603,000.

Center Casey Rabach would save $2,750,000 if cut after June 1. With Casey, no other option would benefit the team or the cap, and he could also stick around as a back up.

Those are the options for the GM when it comes to the O-line. If the Skins don't re-sign “Double D”, and anyone else is released, then half of the line will be new in 2007.


If it’s time for a change, the Washington Redskins have options. However, for whoever comes in and takes on the job of GM, be warned. Someone is bound to come along ask:

“You got rid of a safety that hasn’t worked out, a QB that has had his day, a wide-out that has been off the field more than on it, a Kicker that can no longer kick and a Defensive lineman that’s past his prime, anybody could have done that ... What are they paying you for?”
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