The Washington Post

Will the Redskins’ cap penalty benefit them in the long run?

I’m sure no Redskins fan was pleased to see Antoine Winfield sign with Seattle, which already has a top-notch defense and two good cornerbacks. Winfield, while 36, is a highly respected player and probably would have become Washington’s best defensive back.

Based on how long it took Winfield to decide, it stands to reason that the Redskins had a real shot. Had they been able to pay him — or Aqib Talib — a free-agent cornerback would have been in the fold.

The cap penalties hurt for 2012 and 2013, no doubt. But as the Redskins repeat the free-agent and draft processes next season, they’ll be doing so with having taken on many new bloated contracts. They’ll be coming off of two years being more cap-disciplined than any team in the NFL.

And, according to the Redskins’ salary grids at overthecap.com (which has the top 51 number calculated) and spotrac (which I added by hand and got a total that nearly matched), Washington has a shade over $80 million committed to the 2014 cap. That leaves, if the cap remains near this season’s $123 million, as much as $43 million to spend next offseason.

So on one hand it means they can go back to their undisiciplined ways. Or they can continue to spend wisely, yet make a few big splashes in free agency, while giving contract extensions to ascending players, if they don’t do it before then. (Brian Orakpo, Perry Riley and possibly Fred Davis come to mind).

Do you think the cap penalties, as much as you probably despise them, forced the Redskins to be disciplined with their spending and will have a silver lining? Or are you more frustrated they weren’t able to land Winfield or Talib or be in play for any of the big-dollar free agents this offseason?

More Redskins & NFL from the Post:

Draft position preview: Offensive line

Draft position preview: Safeties

Draft tracker: See reports on the major prospects

Mike Wise: Lorenzo Alexander says it hurt to leave the Redskins

Start of offseason workouts “like first day of school”

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