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Is Adam Archuleta on his way out the door?

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Update [2007-3-19 18:38:22 by Skin Patrol]: It would be best if you didn't read this post. My post here better explains the situation as the below information is largely incorrect. Feel free to read it for my glorious prose and mad literary skillz, but as a source of information I no longer endorse my own post. How sad is that?

Ryan Wilson at AOL Fanhouse opened the discussion on Saturday, pointing out that the 'Skins had postponed his 5M option. My blogging colleague WCG at Windy City Gridiron also has the scoop per PFT:

The Washington Redskins and safety Adam Archuleta will soon part ways, according to the Washington Post.  Just as soon as the Redskins figure out how to best take the salary-cap medicine resulting from a $5 million signing bonus and a $5 million option bonus that is fully guaranteed by future salaries.
The Bears are listed as an interested party.

Let's organize some quick facts. Adam Archuleta is owed a 5M dollar option that, if unexcercised, turns 5.6M in '07, '08, and '09 salary into guaranteed money. Per the Post his agent already said the team is going to wheel and deal him:

Archuleta, who says he did not speak to the defensive coaching staff for much of the season, would not be averse to a change. Trading him will not be easy given the $5 million he is still due, and the team and Archuleta's agent, Gary Wichard, are exploring ways to either release him without taking a big salary cap hit or trade him, sources said.
The only way to release him without taking a big hit in '07 is to wait until June, when the 9M we still owe him in guaranteed money will get semi-prorated over two years -- with the lion's share taken as a hit in '08. I believe the deadline has passed on using one of the team's two options to cut a player prior to June 1st but having their cap hit treated as a June 2nd cut/trade.

Even if the Redskins do not excercise the bonus (thus guaranteeing 5.6M of his contract), Archuleta has a Roster Bonus in '07 meaning there really isn't any way to cut him for less than 9+M. Keeping him would cost the team 6.4M (more on that in a bit) in '07. Per the Post, his agent will not negotiate a pay cut to facilitate a move:

Last week, [Gary] Wichard said his client would reject any deal that cost him any guaranteed money, but the agent has not returned calls since agreeing to the postponement.
I think it's a rock and a hard place. The 5M option bonus (that turns into 5.6M guaranteed salary if unexcercised) makes him uncuttable, in my opinion. But many would argue that the 5M roster bonus we'd be paying him in '07 makes it impossible to keep him on roster, as well. My previous math was off by 5M; I had no idea about his '07 Roster Bonus. Now the contract projects to 4 years, 17M with an option to extend 3 years at around 16M.

In light of that I still say we refuse to excercise the option and keep him on the team. His salary hits through 4 years of the deal would now be 1.6M in '06, 6.4M in '07 (per the Post, I don't know how they reached this number), somewhere in the 3-4M range in '08, and somewhere in the 5-6M range in '09. That's a hefty price, no doubt, but if we can get Archuleta on the field I don't think 4M plus change per year is prohibitively expensive, if we view his contract holistically.

The question is whether the team can afford to keep him this year and I would view the cutting of Archuleta as monumentally short sighted, as we'd essentially be taking a substantial hit next year -- likely higher than the 6.4M we'd be paying him to actually play this year. And if the team can't afford to pay Archuleta 6.4M to play in Washington in '07, then I hardly understand why they can afford to cut him immediately (which will cost around 9M in dead cap space this year).

The Adam Archuleta scenario is developing quickly as the postponed deadline is the day after tomorrow. As soon as the team makes a move one way or the other I will post it here. Check out Windy City Gridiron for their thoughts as well, since that's where Archuleta is most likely ending up if not in Washington.