Now that the team knows exactly where it stands financially, General Manager Bruce Allen and Eric Schaffer, the team’s vice president of football administration, have a fair amount of finagling to do. They have until March 12 to get below the cap for the start of free agency by either restructuring contracts or releasing players.
But the Redskins need to trim more than the $3 million required to get under the cap. They must create additional spending room to re-sign a number of their 19 players with expiring contracts as well as meet other needs through free agency. For example, in 2012 Washington’s re-signings of London Fletcher, Kory Lichtensteiger and Adam Carriker, and the free agent additions of Pierre Garcon, Josh Morgan, Brandon Meriweather, Madieu Williams and Tanard Jackson cost roughly $15 million toward the cap.
The only way Washington would be able to avoid slashing its roster and reworking numerous existing contracts would be if it pulled off the seemingly improbable quest of recouping some of that $18 million penalty for this year. Early last week, people with knowledge of the situation said Washington was considering seeking an injunction in an attempt to get some of that money back. But as of Friday evening, the team had not done so, those people said.
People around the league believe that even if the Redskins did opt to seek an injunction, their chances of winning aren’t very strong. Washington and the Dallas Cowboys — who were penalized $10 million against the cap over two years by the league — challenged the penalties in arbitration last year, but the case was dismissed. Twice a federal judge has rejected a claim by the NFL players’ union that NFL teams operated with a secret salary cap in 2010.
However, others believe the Redskins do have a chance, and that they have strong arguments that they are being penalized unfairly.
The Redskins could also use the threat of an injunction to try to negotiate a settlement with the league.
Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan declined an interview request last week, and earlier this month Allen declined to go into specifics on the team’s plans regarding their salary cap situation.
“There’s plenty of things we can do, but now is not the time,” Allen told reporters at the groundbreaking ceremony for the team’s new training camp site in Richmond.