The Redskins’ free agent shopping spree this week did not cost them very much in terms of salary cap room.
By using two provisions of the salary cap rules the Redskins were able to get Leigh Torrence, Kedric Golston, and Madieu Williams under contract for the 2012 season and add just $400,000 to the salary cap in the process.
Aaron Wilson of Scout.com reported the contract details for the three players via Twitter on his must-follow @RavensInsider account (don’t be fooled by the handle, Aaron breaks news for all 32 NFL teams):
@RavensInsider #Redskins CB Leigh Torrence's one-year deal: $750,000, $50,000 roster bonus. Cap figure $590,000 under min. salary benefit
@RavensInsider #Redskins DE Golston's one-year deal is $790,000, including $65,000 bonus. Cap figure $605,000 under min. salary benefit
@RavensInsider Madieu Williams' deal is $890,000, $65,000 bonus. Cap figure $605,000 under min. salary benefit, $200,000 gtd.
The minimum salary benefit allows teams to get salary cap credits for signing veteran players who are making the veteran minimum. This softens the cap consequences for keeping a veteran player over younger, cheaper options.
The cap hits on the three one-year contracts total $1.8 million but the Redskins had less than that subtracted from the $7.6 million they had in cap space at the beginning of the week. That is because of the Rule of 51.
During the offseason, only the top 51 salary cap numbers on the team are counted towards the cap. When a player is added, his cap number pushes the player with the lowest cap number out of the top 51 and, therefore, out of the cap number.
The additions of Torrence, Golston, and Williams and their $1.8 million total cap numbers pushed Willie Smith, Maurice Hurt, and Nevin McCaskill out of the top 51. The cap numbers of the younger players, which total $1.4 million, came off of the cap figure.
That makes the net cap hit of the three signings $400,000, leaving the Redskins with about $7.2 million.