The deadline for NFL franchise players to sign long-term deals with their respective teams is at 4 p.m. today. Redskins fans should not expect to hear any news on a new contract for Fred Davis.
The main reason is that the Redskins don’t want to give the big chunk of guaranteed money to a player who could be suspended for a year if he runs afoul of the NFL’s substance abuse policy at any time in the future. Under the CBA it is very difficult for teams to recover any guaranteed money for any reason, even if the player is suspended.
The Redskins do have to eat the entire amount of Davis' $5.446 million contract under this year's salary cap. But even with the $18 million cap penalty levied by the NFL they have almost $7 million in cap space remaining so they don't need to make a move to create more space.
There is little incentive to get a deal done on Davis’ end either. It just wouldn’t make any sense for him to negotiate a new deal now for the very reason that the Redskins are reluctant to give him one. After serving his four-game suspension at the end of last year his market value is at its lowest. If he steers clear of trouble and puts up good numbers he will be able to command a much better deal than he would be able to now.
The $5.446 million salary he will get this year is not bad for a player whose contract for his first four years in the league paid him a total of $3.505 million. He will be happy to take those weekly paychecks that will gross just over $320,000.
The Redskins could franchise him again in 2013 but they would have to pay him 120 percent of his salary this year (just north of $6.5 million) or the 2013 tight end franchise tag tender amount, whichever is greater. At that point both sides could be ready to cut a deal that will carry Davis, 26, through what should be his most productive years in the NFL.