Lichtensteiger lowered the salary cap hit by approximately $1 million to $2.8 million after the move. His new base salary is $2.25 million, but he can recoup another $1.25 million in incentives tied to play time. So if he keeps the starting job for the entire season, then there would have been no decrease in salary.
The Redskins had traded for New England center Bryan Stork, but it was nullified when he failed to pass a physical. At the time, there was a definite sense by some in the organization that Stork could contend for the starting job sooner rather than later.
But all along others expressed confidence in Lichtensteiger, who is signed through 2017. Though he’s an undersized center at 295 pounds, they like how he handles the subtle parts of the job – protections, for example. But there’s no doubt some in the building would like to upgrade the position, even if it’s just for depth.
This move, though, also protects the Redskins if Lichtensteiger, 31, can’t play all 16 games, whether from injury or if they wanted to replace him. He missed the final 11 regular-season games a year ago with nerve damage in his shoulder.
The Redskins’ backup centers include Spencer Long, who can also play guard. There’s also Josh LeRibeus and Austin Reiter, but it’s unlikely both make the final roster – and there is a chance neither one does if the team opts for only eight offensive linemen.