Redskins Ready No Matter What Happens

The Washington Redskins were ready to pull the trigger on a series of cuts and redone contracts to get under the salary cap by Thursday's deadline. The deadline moved, however, keeping the moves on the shelf. Apparently, even if they have to use them, they're not as painful as some had anticipated.

Players and agents have been trudging in and out of Redskins Park all week as they negotiated with the team in an effort to lower the players' 2006 cap numbers as much as possible. Those efforts were a great success by all accounts. The following players have restructured their contracts according to either the Redskins or reliable news sources:

Mark Brunell
Clinton Portis
Shawn Springs
Randy Thomas
Renaldo Wynn
Jon Jansen

There are others that the team has talked to about restructures, notably LaVar Arrington, who carries a 2006 cap figure of over $12 million, but we don't know of the status of those talks.

These players have been roundly applauded by many fans and while that's not totally unwarranted it's not as though they are sacrificing a great deal of actual money over the life on the contract, certainly not guaranteed money anyway. Such maneuvers are usually simply a matter of manipulating the dollars in the right way.

This isn't to say that we know for sure that no players game up any money, guaranteed or otherwise. The details of the contracts aren't known, primarily because they're not contracts yet. They're just agreements that will be executed into official NFL contracts if the deadline for getting under the salary cap on Sunday comes and goes without an extension to the CBA. So we don't know exactly how much of the $17 million that the Redskins needed to pare from its cap number to get under the limit but, according to published reports, it was a good chunk of it.

Such a good chunk, in fact, that it appears that they won't have to cut as many veterans from the roster as many thought. To avoid the last-minute crunch, the Redskins had submitted a list of players they wanted to be placed on waivers if the Friday deadline had stuck. A league source told the Associated Press that the list contained none of the team's biggest names. Some players such as Jansen, Wynn, and Phillip Daniels may have had to be cut if the player contract negotiations had not been as successful. They are all safe, according to the AP report.

Among the players who are likely to be shown the door even if there is a CBA agreement are safety Matt Bowen and center Cory Raymer, who have cap number far to high to justify their level of productivity. Others such as kicker John Hall and cornerback Walt Harris may go if there is no CBA extension but have a chance of staying if there is a settlement.

The possibility of a settlement, which didn't look too good on Thursday morning when the owners voted to break off talks with the NFLPA, is, of course, the elephant in the locker room at Redskins Park. The two sides in the dispute are talking again, raising hopes that there will be a settlement. If there is one, the salary cap will rise by as much as $10 million and the Redskins will be able to do some simpler restructures of contracts and release a few players to get well under it. That will allow them to resign their own free agents such as safety Ryan Clark and tight end Robert Royal as well as address some needs through free agency, although the March Madness shopping sprees we've become accustomed to seeing in the past won't be happening this year (that's probably a good thing).

And if there is not agreement, the free agent pickups are likely to be severely limited and some solid veteran depth will be gone, probably to be replaced by rookies. Still, the core of the team that made it to the second round of the playoffs in 2005 looks like it will return intact regardless. In fact, nearly all of the team's key players are in the fold through at least 2007.

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