The Redskins, even while absorbing the second half of their two-year, $36 million salary cap penalty this year, have managed to keep mostly intact the team that won the NFC East title this past season.
The deal Monday night to re-sign cornerback DeAngelo Hall, who had been released just before free agency, extended the Redskins’ string of success in retaining their own players.
The team previously re-signed guard Kory Lichtensteiger, punter Sav Rocca, defensive end Kedric Golston, linebacker Bryan Kehl, right tackle Tyler Polumbus and tight end Fred Davis. All had been eligible for unrestricted free agency.
The Redskins’ only loss in unrestricted free agency has been reserve linebacker Lorenzo Alexander, a locker room leader and a Pro Bowl selection on special teams last season. He signed with the Arizona Cardinals and attributed his failure to remain with the Redskins to the team’s tight salary cap situation.
The salary cap issue has had its effects. The Redskins have made only modest free agent additions. They signed two free agents, Tony Pashos and Jeremy Trueblood, to push Polumbus for the starting job at right tackle. They added cornerback E.J. Biggers, formerly of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in a bid to bolster a secondary that ranked 30th in the league against the pass last season. They signed veteran Darryl Tapp for depth at linebacker.
The team’s salary cap situation was cited as the key factor when the Redskins released Hall and when they tried but failed to sign free agent cornerback Aqib Talib, who re-signed with the New England Patriots instead.
But circumstances have worked in the Redskins’ favor in keeping their team basically intact. Davis drew interest from the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets. But the Redskins managed to sign him to a relatively modest one-year contract, seemingly in large part because he was coming off a 2012 season cut short by a ruptured Achilles’ tendon. He also missed the final four games of the 2011 season while serving a suspension for a violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
Hall, too, agreed to a comparatively modest one-year deal after drawing interest from other teams but not enough to convince him to leave. It was a buyers’ market when it came to cornerbacks, and Hall had said when the season ended that he hoped to remain with the Redskins.
The Redskins also retained a group of restricted free agents that included tight end Logan Paulsen, fullback Darrel Young, linebacker Rob Jackson, long snapper Nick Sundberg and defensive tackle Chris Baker. They reworked the contracts of safety Brandon Meriweather, wide receiver Santana Moss and defensive end Adam Carriker to create salary cap maneuverability.