Redskins remain up against the salary cap

Mike Shanahan and the Redskins have little resources to work with in free agency. (Toni Sandys / The Washington Post) Mike Shanahan and the Redskins have little resources to work with in free agency. (Toni Sandys / The Washington Post)

Despite releasing DeAngelo Hall and purging $8 million from their books, and reworking the deals of Santana Moss, Adam Carriker and Brandon Meriweather, the Washington Redskins remain financially constricted.

As of Wednesday morning, Washington stood roughly $600,000 beneath the NFL’s salary cap because of the money the Redskins have committed to salaries, and the $18 million they must account for from the NFL’s penalty for how contracts were structured in the uncapped 2010 season.

The Redskins entered last week’s free agent negotiating period at roughly $3 million over the cap. Then, following the release of Hall and restructuring of Carriker, the team was roughly a million under the cap. Moss’s restructuring took place on Tuesday and saved the team another $2 million because that money was taken from his base salary. He still has a chance to earn that money back with incentives, however.

Meriweather’s contract restructure consisted of lowering his base salary from $2.45 million to $1.2 million, a person with knowledge of the situation confirmed.

But following the re-signings of Logan Paulsen, Darrel Young, Rob Jackson, Nick Sundberg, Kory Lichtensteiger, Kedric Golston, Sav Rocca and the restricted free agent tender of Chris Baker, Washington is back up against the cap.

The team still had interest Wednesday morning in acquiring talented yet troubled cornerback Aqib Talib, according to multiple people familiar with Washington’s deliberations. Another said the team didn’t have the cash to be able to compete for the former New England Patriot’s services.

Washington also had expressed some interest in running back Reggie Bush in the event that he didn’t work out a deal withe Detroit Lions, where he had a visit scheduled.

But it wasn’t immediately clear what moves the Redskins would make to position themselves to make pitches to either players. As of Wednesday morning, higher-paid players such as receiver Pierre Garcon, Barry Cofield, Stephen Bowen and Josh Morgan had not been approached about restructuring their contracts.

Washington still needs to clear roughly $4 million of cap space to sign the players it will draft next month. Two people familiar with the situation said that the Redskins likely will have to use the draft to meet their pressing needs: a right tackle, at least two cornerbacks and a safety.

Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.

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Mark Maske · March 13, 2013

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