On the list of players that the Redskins will take a hard look at cutting in their efforts to trim enough salary money to get under the cap is kicker John Hall. His cap number for 2006 is $1.4 million and waiving him would save a net of $780,000. That’s not a huge amount, but three quarters of a million bucks here and there and pretty soon we’re talking about some real money.
Should the Redskins make this move and release Hall, who turns 32 on St. Patrick’s Day?
If it’s strictly a money decision, the answer is probably not. Again, his cap number is fairly significant, but it’s not like the team can go without a kicker on its roster counting something against the cap. A big-name replacement such as the Colts’ Mike Vanderjagt or the Patriots’ Adam Vinatieri would almost certainly count more against the cap than does Hall. Even a lesser veteran such as San Francisco’s Joe Nedney wouldn’t offer much in terms of savings if any at all.
The other route to replace Hall would be to get a few younger legs and let them battle it out in camp. That’s a high-risk strategy, but it’s the only one that will save any significant money.
So, do you get rid of Hall because of performance reasons? The last image of Hall for the 2005 season was him going wide left with a 36-yard field goal that would have brought the Redskins within four of the eventual NFC champion Seahawks in the fourth quarter of their divisional playoff game. That and the five games he missed with a leg injury tend to make many view him as a liability.
What those people forget is that he missed just two field goals during the regular season. To be sure, one was a potential game-winner in the fourth quarter against San Diego, but that was a 52-yard attempt, an iffy proposition for most kickers. He’s not one of these tiny guys who are afraid of contact; he wears a defender’s burgundy jersey at practice while his fellow kickers don the traditional white of offensive players. It’s part of his linebacker mentality.
So the choices are these—pay more for a “star” kicker, go into the large pool of untested kickers and hope you strike gold like the Cardinals did with Neil Rakers or stick with the flawed but known quantity in Hall.
The view here is that, barring some change in the labor agreement that creates some money for the Redskins to go after the likes of Vinatieri, the Redskins are better off sticking with Hall. He’s on a very short list of players I’d like to see attempting a 40-yarder in December to get into the playoffs and the only one that the team can reasonably afford.