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Shawn Springs and 2007

Post inspired by Jack Kogod at AOL Fanhouse. Jack is going to be periodically examining our offseason situation as regards certain players and I have every intention of chasing him in this discussion. Today is Shawn Springs, and I'd like to offer my own thoughts. Be sure to keep a close eye on AOL Fanhouse's Redskins Page as these Free Agent conundrums will be mentioned frequently there.

The Rock -- Jack covers most of it here:

...check out the scores of the game in which Shawn Springs played versus those he missed. With the secondary being such a weakness for the team losing such a talented veteran would be disastrous. The only player on the market exceeds his performance is Nate Clements who will require an even more substantial investment.
I would replace "such a weakness" with "beyond recall". You can't get much worse than the 2006 'Skins against the pass. Our opponents' QB rating was over 97, tops in the league. Most pass plays over 20 yards given up. Etc. etc.

With Carlos Rogers in such a slump and Kenny Wright simply not being a reliable starting CB, our need of Shawn Springs could not be higher. He is the Rock of this defense and, when healthy, as necessary and talented as anyone else about.

The Hard Place: Again, Jack...

The only answer that will satisfy the player, the organization, and me the obsessed fan is renegotiation. Shawn knows that if he doesn't agree to take a pay cut or at least readjust his contract he might find himself on the chopping block.
Herein lies the problem... without being able to confirm it whatsoever, Shawn Springs allegedly denied strongly the possibility of taking a pay cut. Here are the numbers:
  1. Shawn Springs will cost the team 7.3+M in 2007, more than anyone besides Chris Samuels.
  2. This is an increase of over 4 million. It will rise again in 2008, and finally in 2009 to around 8.5M.
  3. Shawn Springs is owed around 7.5M in guaranteed moneys that is going to be paid to him no matter what.
  4. If we cut Shawn Springs before June 1st, it would cost us the full 7.5M in 2007 dead space. That's more than the 7.3M hit we would take from paying him. It does save us the 4.8 million in 2007 salary we'd have to pay him. Though it will "cost" us 7.5M to do so, that 7.5M is going to be paid one way or another.
  5. If we cut after June 1st (I could have this wrong) we'd owe 2.5M in 2007 and 5M in 2008 in dead space.
To me, five is the most reasonable option if he does not take a pay cut. While recognizing how much Springs means to this defense, it simply is not tenable to keep a guy on the roster costing us 7+M a year in space if he cannot remain healthy. Shawn Springs has not completed a full year of football since 2000, when he was 25 years old. Last year he played in 9 games, and I'm pessimistic about his ability to play in 10+ on any given year for the rest of his career.

How one feels about keeping Shawn Springs at 7.3+M a year depends on how likely one thinks Springs is to play 10+ games. I think we can all agree that paying a guy near 1M a game simply won't do the trick. We witnessed this year that, with Shawn Springs -- kinda sorta ok maybe not -- healthy, we can't do anything defensively. And his contract is prohibitively expensive in allowing us to pursue a younger, healthier alternative.

The good news is that there remains a win-win situation even if Shawn Springs is willing to take a pay cut. For the Redskins, obviously, we keep a guy we couldn't afford to otherwise keep. For Springs, he gets to remain in Washington where he likely has established himself over many years. If we cut him, it is extremely doubtful that the market will generate Shawn Springs a 7.3+M contract in 2007. So he can take a pay cut in Washington or take a pay cut elsewhere, where he will also have to relocate. We just need to offer a reasonable alternative... if the market for a 31+ year old, injured though talented cornerback is 4-5M a year, we could offer him 5-6M a year, thus saving us a good chunk of cash.

That said, I don't think Shawn Springs will take a pay cut, nor do I think this team can afford to play without him. Rock meets Hard Place.