The Redskins have begun initial negotiations with a number of their players with expiring contracts, but no signings are imminent because the parties remain far apart in terms of asking prices and money offered, according to multiple people with knowledge of the situation.
Washington has a total of 19 players that are potential free agents – 13 unrestricted and six restricted.
Those familiar with the discussions report that the Redskins have said in the initial negotiations, they are limited in what they can offer those players because of the $18 million salary cap hit they must absorb this year as part of the $36 million penalty the NFL hit them with as punishment for how contracts were structured during the uncapped season in 2010.
Washington is believed to be roughly $4 million over the salary cap and must restructure deals or make roster cuts to get below the cap by the league deadline of March 12. So far, the Redskins haven’t restructured any deals, according to one person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak for the team. Two others said the team hadn’t yet initiated discussions with players’ representatives regarding reworking deals to create cap room.
Monday marked the first day that NFL teams are allowed to use the franchise tag on a potential free agent of their own to prevent him from hitting the open market. But as of late Tuesday, the Redskins had not done so. The only player that seems like the logical option that Washington would consider franchising would be tight end Fred Davis. But as of Tuesday, there was no indication of Washington’s intentions to tag Davis a second consecutive offseason.
Davis ruptured his left Achilles’ tendon and was lost for the final nine games of the season. He is ahead of schedule in his recovery, one source said, but Redskins General Manager Bruce Allen indicated last week that the team wouldn’t make a decision on Davis until later in the spring.
As a refresher, here is a list of the Redskins’ unrestricted free agents and restricted free agents:
Unrestricted: Linebacker Lorenzo Alexander, tackle Jordan Black, tight end Chris Cooley, tight end Fred Davis, defensive end Kedric Golston, cornerback Cedric Griffin, safety Tanard Jackson, linebacker Bryan Kehl, guard Kory Lichtensteiger, tackle Tyler Polumbus, punter Sav Rocca, safety Madieu Williams and linebacker Chris Wilson.
Restricted: Nose tackle Chris Baker, return man Brandon Banks, linebacker Rob Jackson, tight end Logan Paulsen, long-snapper Nick Sundberg, fullback Darrel Young.