It Could Get Ugly

The Redskins' season, and probably the ones in the near future, rest on extending the CBA contract. And it should make them just a bit nervous. Our beat reporter John Keim examines the situation.

If the contract isn't extended, then Washington could be forced to make some serious cuts, taking a major step back after a successful season. But if it is extended, then the Redskins suddenly go from a dire situation to a positive on.

Yes, even in that scenario, cuts would have to be made. But not nearly as many. And, if the cap goes to $108 million under an extension, the Redskins then could continue to build its roster.

If not, then it could take a while to rebuild this team as they'd have to trim approximately $20 million from the payroll.

It's a potentially ugly time. The Redskins could have avoided this mess by being a bit smarter with their money. On the other hand, nobody expected these talks to come down to the last minute, or break down altogether. So they operated under business as usual.

Where they are hurt is by their drafts. Because they've endured mostly poor drafts under owner Dan Snyder, the Redskins lack the backup talent needed for depth. Heaven forbid ANY of the offensive linemen get hurt next season. As of now, the backup choices are bad ones.

And here's another aside on the talk about revenue sharing. Everyone is concerned about what the Snyders of the world would do if they don't have to share all their revenue. I'm a believer in how the NFL operates; it's why Green Bay remains a compelling franchise and it's why Buffalo can turn things around, too, and remain competitive.

But I also laugh at the notion of the Redskins being a team that tries to buy a championship.

Ahem, they've already tried. And it failed! The one thing we've learned in sports is that, yes, it's important to have money. It's even more important to know what the heck you're doing, to have a plan and to surround yourself with smart people.

The reason why Washington won this past season is because they did all that, not because they outspent teams. Now, the Redskins have opted to put a lot of money into their coaching staff. Good for them; other teams can afford to do the same.

But they did not win because of how much they spent. They won because Joe Gibbs and his staff put together a good team. Gibbs loves free agency as much as anyone, but he's not intent on bringing in every name player, which the Redskins would still do if he weren't around.

I also wonder what this means for linebacker LaVar Arrington. He'd still like to stay and there have been rumors of discussions on a renegotiating of his deal. But it makes you wonder: do the Redskins really want him back? Or do they want a lower cap number so it'll ease their financial pain when they do cut him?

Here's the thing: they did inquire about trading for Ray Lewis. If they did that, clearly they would plan to move Lemar Marshall to the weakside and bid farewell to Arrington. So who knows what their motives are.

It's just a part of a puzzle that could get nasty before it's all said and done. The offseason used to be a time of triumph for the Redskins. Now it's a time of worry. And intrigue.

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