Washington will save $2.32 million on the salary cap by releasing McCain, who started the past two seasons at safety. If he's designated as a post-June 1 release, the Commanders would save $4.42 million.
Although he started the season as the primary free safety, McCain also would play the slot corner position when the Commanders used their three-safety alignment.
The Commanders still have Kam Curl and Darrick Forrest. But they also like Percy Butler, a fourth-round pick last year, as a possible starter or key contributor next season. Speedy Butler could play the free safety role and could cover bigger targets when aligned near the box.
McCain originally signed a one-year deal with Washington in the 2021 offseason, then received a two-year contract last offseason. He spent his first six seasons with Miami, playing both corner and safety.
The Commanders also released quarterback Carson Wentz on Monday, freeing up another $26.176 million against the cap. Washington now has approximately $35 million in available cap space.
Washington also must decide whether it wants to keep veteran center Chase Roullier, who has suffered two season-ending injuries the past two seasons. If the Commanders cut him, they would save $4.32 million.
Another veteran, Logan Thomas, would save the team $5.175 million if cut, but it's uncertain whether Washington would release him or Roullier. Washington values Thomas' pass-catching ability, which could fit well with new offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy.
The Commanders also want to work out a long-term deal with defensive tackle Daron Payne, who will be a free agent. They will place the franchise tag on him before the March 7 deadline and continue to negotiate, a source close to the situation said.