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Brunell and Randy Thomas first to restructure

From Howard Bryant at The Post:

In signing a five-year contract extension last week that could be worth up to $11 million, Washington Redskins running back Ladell Betts received a silent assist from two teammates. Quarterback Mark Brunell and right guard Randy Thomas restructured the remainder of their 2006 contracts to free up the salary cap room necessary for the team to sign Betts.
The deals don't actually save the Redskins any money in the long run, it just frees up 2006 cap space. They agree to structure their base (non guaranteed) 2006 salaries into guaranteed signing bonuses, prorated over the course of the next 5 years. Here are the numbers on savings:
Brunell was scheduled to earn $4 million in base salary this season, but agreed to have the remaining three weeks of his salary converted into a signing bonus, altering his 2006 salary figure to $2.25 million.

Thomas did the same, altering his 2006 base figure from $3.5 million to $710,000.

We're not actually saving (or losing) any money here. We've turned non guaranteed salary that we were guaranteed to pay (because it was this year's base salary) into guaranteed, prorated signing bonus money. It saves us money in 2006 but not much else. My main concern is that it limits our flexibility; now, in the event that we want to cut Brunell (we won't cut Randy Thomas), we'll have to pay his 2006 base salary, now guaranteed, in one big hit. At some point he's getting that money.

The move had to be made though. We were only about 1 million under the cap and we signed Ladell Betts to a deal that might have put us over 2006 cap moneys. If we want Betts, these two restructures (and they are restructures in the pure sense that they are cost neutral; we've simply moved around dollars from one year to the next) are necessary.

The article notes that these do not affect either players' salary for 2007. In the case of Randy Thomas this isn't a big deal; he's our best offensive lineman and is owed some salary. Mark Brunell, on the other hand, is overpaid as a backup QB. He's still set to make a cool 5.2 million in base salary in 2007 which is millions higher than any team should be paying its backup QB.

In the best of all possible worlds, Mark Brunell restructures his contract and remains our backup. He is the perfect backup QB: he is experienced, has already spent considerable time learning the offense, and his strength is game management. The latter is precisely what you'd want from a backup, as he can come in for relief and protect the football. He's not going to win many games on his own (as we learned the hard way) but he's as good a spell QB as a team could reasonably hope for.

If we restructure properly there's no reason that he can't finish his career a Washington Redskin, in which case his now prorated 2006 salary could be paid out over a period of 4-5 years. That would minimize the impact of his cap hit significantly.

This is the first in a series of restructures as the Redskins try and figure out a way to resolve their self imposed cap nightmare. The bigger news will be what new contract Mark Brunell is asked to take, though we won't know that for some time.

Readers, what do you think of these restructures (if anything)? Am I ignoring some unseen consequence here?