Redskins may need to be creative to find some cap space

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Sports,NFL,Redskins,John Keim

Team eyes cuts or restructures to prepare for free agency

The Redskins know where they want to spend their money. They just have to figure out how much they have to spend. And that's the tough task they face leading into free agency.

They have to be under the salary cap by 4 p.m. Tuesday, the start of free agency. The Redskins are believed to be approximately $3? million over the salary cap. Getting under the cap shouldn't be difficult; getting far enough under to re-sign their own free agents and a couple others will require creativity.

Here are three names to watch:

Cornerback DeAngelo Hall » If they cut him, the Redskins would save $8 million against the salary cap. Keep in mind they still would have to sign another corner or two. A restructured contract is possible. Another option is to ask him to take a pay cut, which not every player would accept. Hall might not have a choice.

At 29 years old and with a crowded market at corner -- not to mention a solid draft at that position -- Hall might find it tough to make the same money anywhere else. The Redskins know this, too. They could make him a take-it-or-leave-it offer, one NFL source said. If he leaves it, they will move on.

The Redskins have made it clear in talks with others that they will target secondary help in free agency, preferring a starter to come from there rather than the draft.

Receiver Santana Moss » The Redskins could release him for a savings of $4.5 million or ask him to take a pay cut. Moss was a clutch player last season with eight touchdowns among his 44 receptions, including the postseason. The Redskins would need to replace Moss in the slot; the draft offers several alternatives in the second and third rounds.

Or, as with Hall, they could ask him to take a pay cut. Nearing 34, Moss won't get a big pay day on the open market.

Defensive end Adam Carriker » He's another candidate for a pay cut or outright release. That would save the Redskins approximately $2.3 million. Carriker played well two years ago, but the Redskins also drafted Jarvis Jenkins in the second round in 2011. And he started 15 games this past season. In year three, a second-round choice should be a solid starter. That's why they drafted him, after all. In another year, this move isn't debated; depth along the line is a must. Why hurt that? But if there's a painful move to be made, this would be on the list.

The Redskins also could restructure contracts, but there are only a handful of legitimate candidates -- and this regime won't do many. Receiver Pierre Garcon, who will count $8.2 million, is not one of them. Because of the way his deal is structured, a league source said, it does not give the Redskins any cap relief to do anything this offseason. And nose tackle Barry Cofield has not yet been approached about restructuring.

End Stephen Bowen is a possibility. The Redskins also could decide to make a move with linebacker Brian Orakpo, who counts $5.109 million toward the cap. He's a free agent in 2014, so they could always extend his contract and lessen the hit this season -- a risk given his two torn pecs in the past year. What they won't do is ask linebacker London Fletcher to take a pay cut, a team source said, so assuming they keep him, he will cost $6.2 million against the cap.

jkeim@washingtonexaminer.com

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John Keim

Staff Reporter - Washington Redskins
The Washington Examiner