Squeeze Me but Don't Throw Me in Cap Jail

How do the Redskins look for the 2005 cap? You have questions? We have answers thanks to Robert Large, our cap guru.

A quick look forward to Salary Cap 2005

Now that the 2004 roster is fairly static, it's a pertinent time to take a preliminary look at next year's salary cap situation. Some of the big questions for 2005 surround rejuvenated left offensive tackle Chris Samuels and his soon to be expiring contract, and key defensive free agents like Fred Smoot, Antonio Pierce and Joe Savale'a.

First though, we have to remember one crucial point about the 2004 salary cap. The Skins are currently $2.7m under the cap this year. This gives them some scope to either:

• Use the space to sign e or two of their upcoming free agents (like Smoot or Pierce), or

• Use the league rule that enables teams to restructure player contracts to build in Likely To Be Earned (LTBE) incentive clauses for 2004, but are most likely not to be earned, the result being a cap credit is applied to next years cap (next years team salary cap limit is increased above the NFL limit by the amounts of those cap credits).

So when considering the 2005 cap, keep these possibilities in mind.

As far as the 2005 cap is concerned, the NFL salary cap limit in 2005 is unknown at this stage but it is likely to be in the range of $85.5m - $90m. The Redskins have the following in 2005 at this stage:

• 37 players under contract consuming a cap total of $69.481m – this of course does not include any possible performance incentives or escalators that may be applicable depending on performances in the 2004 season (I have not included backup K Ola Kimrin).

• 7 players who will be Restricted Free Agents (RFA's) – 3 of these draw compensation if signed by another team, the other 4 do not draw compensation unless they are tendered at the middle or high tender level which is almost certain not to occur.

The chart below breaks down the 2005 cap numbers by the players under contract and lists the RFA's. It also shows the current dead cap situation and looks at where the Skins are in comparison to the conservative NFL cap position of $85.5m. This situation would leave the Skins some pocket change short of being $9.0m below the cap but before the following considerations :

1. Chris Samuels – he can void the final year on his contract at the end of the 2004 season meaning that the 2005 season would be his last in the current contract. This will accelerate $2.2m currently allocated to the 2006 year into the 2005 cap (so add that to the figures in the chart below). Easy fixed? Negotiate a new long term deal to keep him in DC? Well, given the way Samuels has started the 2004 season he'll be commanding a huge contract with a signing bonus of around $20m. We will have to find a way to get this into the cap.

2. Key Young Players Who Will Be Unrestricted Free Agents – Fred Smoot and Antonio Pierce are showing that they have what it takes to be very good players in the NFL but both are unrestricted free agents at the end of the 2004 season. Both could choose to test the FA market if allowed to drift through to the end of 2004. The Skins would be wise to look at signing these guys to contract extensions now with some of that 2004 cap space.

3. Other Free Agents – Safety Andre Lott, who has improved markedly this season, is a restricted free agent in 2005 who draws only 5th round compensation. Kenyetta Jones, Ron Warner, long snapper Ethan Albright and all of the key backup TE's are UFA's at seasons end.

4. Room to Sign Draft Picks – we will have draft picks in rounds 1, 3, 4, 6 and 7 in the 2005 NFL draft.

5. Unknown Incentives and Escalators.




  Player Pos 2005 Base Salary 2005
SB
Alloc.
2005
Other
Bonuses
2005 LTE Perf Inct 2005 Total Cap Hit
Hit
1 Robert Royal TE RFA-5th Round Comp        
2 Andre Lott S RFA-5th Round Comp        
3 Rock Cartwright RB RFA-7th Round Comp        
4 John Simon RB RFA-No Comp        
5 Lemar Marshall LB RFA-No Comp        
6 Demetric Evans DE RFA-No Comp        
7 Tim Hasselbeck QB RFA-No Comp        
8 Chris Samuels OT 6.025 2.932 1.400 0.714 9.643
9 Renaldo Wynn DE 3.500 0.583     4.083
10 Randy Thomas OG 2.600 1.000     3.600
11 Jon Jansen OT 2.000 1.238     3.238
12 Mike Barrow LB 1.740 0.416     2.156
13 Laverneus Coles WR 1.500 1.857     3.357
14 Mark Brunell QB 1.500 1.433 0.500   3.433
15 Brandon Noble DT 1.500 0.450     1.950
16 Rod Gardner WR 1.447 1.110     2.557
17 Patrick Ramsey QB 1.102 0.620     1.722
18 John Hall K 1.100 0.320     1.420
19 Matt Bowen S 1.000 0.400     1.400
20 Jermaine Haley DT 1.000 0.162     1.162
21 Cory Raymer OC 0.975 0.133     1.108
22 Tommy Tupa P 0.765 0.169     0.934
23 James Thrash WR 0.665 0.125 0.106   0.896
24 Phillip Daniels DE 0.665 0.600 0.440   1.705
25 Walt Harris CB 0.665 0.250     0.915
26 Shawn Springs CB 0.665 1.708     2.373
27 Lennie Freedman OC 0.650 0.050 0.100   0.800
28 Darnerian McCants WR 0.545 0.667     1.212
29 Chad Morton RB 0.540 0.500     1.040
30 Marcus Washington LB 0.540 1.166     1.706
31 LaVar Arrington LB 0.540 5.096     5.636
32 Cornelius Griffin DT 0.540 1.383     1.923
33 Ryan Clark S 0.455       0.455
34 Ladell Betts RB 0.455 0.265     0.720
35 Clinton Portis RB 0.455 1.931     2.386
36 Khary Campbell LB 0.455       0.455
37 Taylor Jacobs WR 0.380 0.362 0.020   0.762
38 Derrick Dockery OG 0.380 0.121     0.501
39 Ade Jimoh CB 0.380 0.005     0.385
40 Chris Cooley TE 0.305 0.164     0.469
41 Dennard Wilson S 0.305 0.001     0.306
42 Sean Taylor S 0.305 2.095     2.400
43 Jim Molinaro OT 0.305 0.024     0.329
44 Mark Wilson OT 0.305 0.039     0.344

2005 Dead Cap: David Fiore OG 0.750
Jeremiah Trotter LB 4.648
Quinn Christensen OL 0.008
Jafar Williams WR 0.001
Billy Strother LB 0.010
John Standeford WR 0.001
Norman Heuer DT 0.002
Ralph Brown CB 0.125
Chris Clemons LB 0.003
Ryan Boschetti DT 0.003
Regan Upshaw DE 1.200
Rufus Brown CB 0.003
Garnell Wilds CB 0.003
Walter Rasby TE 0.267
     
Total: 76.505
Projected 2005 Cap: 85.500
Difference: 8.995

So that's the situation as it stands for 2005 right now.  Of course I will revisit this situation at the end of the 2004 season when we will have a few more answers and clues to next year.


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