The Washington Redskins have plenty of cap space, but they also have several players who will be expensive to re-sign.
If they re-sign quarterback Kirk Cousins, he’ll be at the top of the cap hits this season (unless it’s a long-term deal and they can soften the blow in the first year or so). If they re-sign Pierre Garcon or DeSean Jackson (no guarantee either one is back), then they’d be high on this list, too. Defensive end Chris Baker would be somewhere in the middle if he’s re-signed.
As of now, the Redskins have approximately $60 million of cap space for this offseason. They could probably free up another $10 million (though some of that space would not be available until after June 1).
Of their top 10 current cap hits in 2017, the first five are locks as starters. Of the next five, only Shawn Lauvao is a likely starter in '17, assuming he returns.
Here’s the top 10 cap hits as of now for 2017 (courtesy of ESPN Stats & Information):
Cornerback Josh Norman ($20 million): He’ll start at corner and continue to be used like he was last season, moving around, whether in man or zone, and covering the top wideout. It’s a huge cap hit for a corner -- as of now he counts $4.7 million more than any other corner -- but this is the highest he’ll count in his five-year deal. Next season it drops to $17 million.
Left tackle Trent Williams ($15.2 million): He’s one of the best at his position and has been named to five Pro Bowls. This also will be the most he counts against the cap during the life of his contract. He’s been a consistent top performer. Williams has the second-highest cap hit among tackles, trailing only Dallas’ Tyron Smith.
Linebacker Ryan Kerrigan ($11.7 million): He currently has the fourth-highest cap hit of any outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. His cap hit climbs over the next two seasons, topping out at $13.95 million in 2019.
Tight end Jordan Reed ($5.8 million): He’s a bargain. There are 11 tight ends who will count more against the cap this season than Reed. Of course, Reed, coming off his first Pro Bowl berth, needs to stay healthy. His cap hit almost doubles in 2018, when he’ll count $10.3 million.
Guard Brandon Scherff ($5.79 million): He’ll be in his third season and was once the fifth overall pick, so this is where he should be. He’ll jump up in a couple of years, especially if he continues to progress and builds on his 2016 Pro Bowl season.
Safety DeAngelo Hall ($5.06 million): There’s no way the Redskins want to play Hall at that cap number, considering how much time he’s missed lately (31 of the last 48 games, including 13 this year) and the fact that he’ll turn 34 in November. He’s in the last year of his contract, so it could be similar to what happened with him a few years ago, where they cut him but re-sign him to a lesser deal. In other words, a pay cut. If they cut him and don’t re-sign him, they’d save $4.25 million.
Guard Shawn Lavuao ($5 million): He’s entering the final year of his contract and, if cut, would save $4 million. They do have Arie Kouandjio, but if they still don’t think he’s ready they can stick with Lauvao one more year.
Center Kory Lichtensteiger ($4.05 million): He’s entering the last year of his contract. Spencer Long is now the starting center, and there’s a chance Lichtensteiger retires. If cut, the Redskins would have to designate him as a post-June 1 casualty to save $3.5 million. Otherwise, the savings is only $550,000.
Defensive end Ricky Jean Francois ($4 million): He’s also in the last year of his contract. There are 18 ends in a 3-4 who count more against the cap than Jean Francois, but that still puts him in starter territory. And the Redskins are trying to upgrade their line, whether in free agency or the draft or both. If cut, the Redskins would save $3 million (post-June 1) and $1 million (before June 1).
Quarterback Colt McCoy ($3.6 million): This is definitely a reasonable sum when you consider players such as Philadelphia’s Chase Daniel count $8 million against the cap. If nothing else, McCoy has proven he can be good short-term help for the Redskins.