under the salary cap—This is never an easy task and it's doubly,
perhaps triply, complicated this year. The lack of a new collective
bargaining agreement with the NFLPA has implications for many potential
cap-saving measures from roster bonus conversions to post-June 1 releases.
Nobody seems to want to go into free agency on March 1 (the team needs to
be at or under the cap by that date) without some sort of extension or new
agreement, but nobody seems to want to budge from etched in stone positions,
either. The Redskins are likely drawing up and Plan A, Plan B, and perhaps
a C, D, and E as well to trim the approximately $18 million they are
currently over the cap. Some scenarios will be relatively painless; others
will involve making some very difficult choices.
real with LaVar Arrington—There is simply no way that Arrington will
play for the Redskins in 2006 under his current contract. In fact, there
is no way that he will remain a Redskin past March 1 under his current
contract. The team simply can't afford to let him and his $6.5 million
roster bonus due in June tie up cap space. He's going to have to decide if
he's going to redo his contract, giving up real money in the process, if
he wants to remain a Redskin. That means that Arrington has to drop the
tortured soul act, hire a competent agent (unless he wants to hang on
Poston, who could be decertified by the NFLPA for butchering LaVar's last
contract), and either come to a new contract agreement with the Redskins
or prepare to negotiate a free-agent contract with another team. Forget
any notion of the Redskins getting a draft pick for Arrington. Nobody is
going to trade for his contract. It's possible that the Redskins could
allow him to seek a trade, let him agree to a new deal elsewhere and then
negotiate compensation from that team, but if Arrington is going to sign
for less money, why wouldn't he do it with the Redskins?
out free agent wide receiver prospects—The Redskins need a #2 wideout
and given the fact that it generally takes receivers a couple of years to
develop they're likely to go after a free agent rather than draft one. The
crop of free agent receivers (examined here earlier
this week) has some solid prospects, but most of them are flawed enough to
create concern. Will Antwaan Randle-El's price be pushed up too high for a
player with a career high of 47 catches? Will Joe Jurevicius' injury
problems stay away another year as they did in 2005 or will he end up
spending a bunch of game days inactive? How much of a premium do you place
on size—do you get the best guy you can or try to get someone like
Jurevicius who is well over 6 feet tall to fill that possession role? Finding
the right fit at the right price will be challenging.
- Sort out the quarterback situation—This is not quite as urgent as the Arrington situation, but the Redskins had better be prepared to act fast. Patrick Ramsey's $1.7 million salary cap number isn't likely to be an impediment at the beginning of free agency, but at some point they'll have to decide if they should keep Ramsey or let him move on and sign a replacement. It likely will come down to what teams are willing to offer in return for Ramsey's rights. If it's not enough, Gibbs may well choose to keep him. If he does go, what type of player do the Redskins sign to replace him? Do they go the route of an experienced veteran like Jeff Blake (meaning that they don't think that Jason Campbell is ready for prime time) or to they look at a guy with limited experience like Tim Hasselbeck (indicating more confidence in Campbell)? If they want to have their pick of the either group, they are going to have to act quickly.
Rich Tandler is the author of The Redskins From A to Z, Volume 1: The Games. This unique book chronicles every game the Redskins played from 1937 through 2001. It is available at www.RedskinsGames.com