Update [2006-12-6 16:18:43 by Skin Patrol]: Thank Jason La Canfora for this: "This Springs stuff is nuts. He had a bad hamstring. He missed practice with it. He did not pass a fitness test Sunday morning. It has nothing to do with Deep Cover, and as I've said, people around here don't think he was behind those quotes." JaLa is a good source and I'll stake my credibility (as if I had any! Hah!) on that.
"Deep Cover" (the nickname given to the anonymous source in Tom Friend's article of dissent in the Redskins defense) has finally been revealed! It is Shawn Springs, without a doubt. If you believe unsubstantiated rumors and speculation, that is. My favorite is that Shawn Springs injury this Sunday was evidence of his benching -- it would be inconceivable to think that Springs was actually, you know, injured.
I won't pile on all the definitive evidence that it is Shawn Springs partially because it isn't all that definitive (did you notice how Tom Friend's source was well spoken? And Shawn Springs is well spoken! And he denied the allegations, he would wouldn't he!) but mostly because, for the purposes of this discussion, we're speaking hypothetically.
Shawn Springs is innocent of everything up until that moment a credible source informs me otherwise. However, if Springs is guilty of taking team business to the media, then it's merely one more strike against him for next year. Consider the following:
In 2006, Shawn Springs made 750k in salary which, for a veteran of his caliber, is a real steal. But he also costs about 2.5 mil a year in a prorated signing bonus that is ultimately worth around 12 mil. So in 2006 he counted against our cap for about 3.2 mil (750k+2.5 mil). The problem is, Springs' salary goes up from 750k in 2006 to nearly 5 million in 2007. Add on that 2.5 mil prorated signing bonus, and Springs will cost us a hefty 7.5 someodd million against the salary cap in 2007.
7.5 million is a lot to spend on one player and, in fact, it would make Shawn Springs the 2nd most costly player to have on the team in 2007 behind only Chris Samuels. There's nothing inherintly wrong with this proposition since Shawn Springs is unquestionably our best cornerback. We all remember how awful this team was without him in the first half of the season.
It could be unjustifiable if you are spending nearly 10% of your salary cap moneys on a player who has not finished a full season since the year 2000. When Shawn Springs is playing he's about as close to a "shut down corner" as this team has had since Champ Bailey. But we can't afford to pay a guy to play starter level cash if he doesn't start more than half the season.
And 7.5 million is a lot of money. In fact, if we cut Shawn Springs we'd lose about that much in dead cap space, making the transaction sufferable. We're going to lose that money in cap space eventually no matter what, the question is whether we want to pay the guaranteed moneys + his 5 million salary in 2007 (to play what, 8 games? 12?).
Then we have this "Deep Cover" nonsense. If Shawn Springs is the culprit (which I do not yet presume) then it stands to reason, given how this particular coaching staff has handled distraction players in the past, that Springs' tenure as a productive member of this defense is quickly coming to a close. He could be Lavar'ed or Archuleta'ed. All of this also assumes he is healthy, another premise that is by no means granted on any given year. Again, it's been 6 since he's played 16 games.
I don't know how tradeable he is given his contract, but perhaps we can sneak in a draft pick somewhere in exchange for him. Given that we've found a bona fide starter in the 6th round in Kedric Golston, I don't think any draft picks should be scoffed at when considering the future of this defense or team. That's all predicated on any team wanting his 5 million dollar contract next year, which they probably don't. Can't hurt to try.
All I'm saying is that even without any alternative reasons, such as him being "Deep Cover" (which would be devastating for his relationship with the staff, organization, and even his fellow teammates), there's reason to doubt Shawn Springs tenure as a Redskin in the near future. Our salary cap situation is a nightmare that will have to be resolved eventually, and that means someone ain't getting paid. Is it the perennial injured veteran with the 2nd highest salary? Probably not.