With the Redskins' cap space getting tight, one good way to create more if by restructuring existing contracts.
A simple restructure usually involves take a player's salary for the coming season and paying it to him up front. You then call that salary a signing bonus and you can prorate the cap charges for it over the rest of the player's contract.
If you want to do that, you have to go where the money is. Here are the Redskins who currently have salaries over $1 million:
- Trent Williams $11 million
- DeAngelo Hall $6 million
- Chris Cooley $3.8 million
- Barry Cofield $3.75 million
- Josh Wilson $3.4 million
- Jammal Brown $3.25 million
- Santana Moss $3.15 million
- Stephen Bowen $2.9 million
- Jabar Gaffney $2.65 million
- Chris Chester $2.5 million
- John Beck $1 million
Note: Fred Davis' salary is $5.4 million but that is under the franchise tag. The team could create more cap space by signing him to a long-term deal but that is a separate discussion.
Williams and Hall are the obvious candidates to be restructured. Redoing Hall's contract would save about $3.5 million or so and they could save around $8 million by restructuring Williams.
But not so fast on Williams. He faces a year's suspension if he violates the NFL's substance abuse policy again. The Redskins can recover any salary due to him if he is suspended but signing bonus is protected by the CBA. The organization seems to be confident that Williams will be able to steer clear of future problems but perhaps not to the point where they're willing to bet $11 million in him.
Of the rest, Beck and Gaffney can't restructure since they are in the last year of their contracts. The others might offer minimal savings but every little bit can help.
The downside to restructuring is that it pushes money back into later years and the Redskins have come to prefer more of a pay as you go approach. It also increases the cap consequences of releasing a player should his performance decline.