The Redskins have seven selections in the three-day NFL draft that begins Thursday in New York. They must sign whichever players they choose to contracts in time for training camp in late July. The Redskins, at last check, had just less than $30,000 in available salary cap space.The deals for their drafted rookies, barring any trades that would change the number of players the Redskins select and when they’re chosen, are expected to take up close to $3.6 million in salary cap room.
Impossible to fit that beneath the cap? No. Not even difficult, really. The Redskins will have to clear only a few hundred thousand dollars to get all of their draft choices signed.
Under league rules, during the offseason only the contracts of the players with the 51 highest cap values count against a team’s salary cap. On the lower end of that spectrum, the Redskins have several players counting $555,000 apiece against the salary cap.
Rookie contracts are relatively inexpensive, in NFL terms, especially after the sport’s new rookie pay system was implemented as part of the 2011 labor deal. That is particularly true of deals for non-first-round picks. The Redskins don’t have a first-round choice Thursday, thanks to last year’s trade with the St. Louis Rams to move up in the draft order for quarterback Robert Griffin III. The Redskins have seven choices Friday and Saturday, two in the fifth round and one each in the second, third, fourth, sixth and seventh rounds.
Under the sport’s rookie pay system, the length of drafted rookies’ contracts is set at four years (plus a fifth-season option for first-round selections). The precise value of each contract is not predetermined. But each team is given a rookie salary cap figure for the upcoming season and a cap figure for those rookies over the four years of their original contracts. Teams are given minimum contract values for each of the players they draft. So it is relatively easy to guess what drafted rookies will be paid and what they will count against the salary cap.
Unless the Redskins trade up or down in the draft, it appears the contracts for their seven drafted rookies will total close to $3.6 million in salary cap space this year. But only the deals for the two highest picks, it appears, will crack the top 51 and count against the cap. Those two deals apparently will count close to $1.3 million against the Redskins’ cap. Once the $1.1 million from the contracts of the two players knocked out of the top 51 is subtracted, the Redskins will be left needing to clear only about $200,000 in salary cap space to sign all their draft picks.