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Salary Cap Expert, J.I. Halsell, Sheds Light on Santana Moss Situation

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The Santana Moss debate has really picked up the last week and for good reason with his contract expiring in 48 hours. I decided to email former Redskins salary cap analyst, J.I. Halsell, for some better insight. Halsell is everywhere contributing to ESPN, Football Outsiders, and Redskins Insider. (Follow him on Twitter @SalaryCap101):

Kevin: Santana's contact expires this Friday. Given what's going on with the CBA, would there be legit interest for him in these next 3 weeks from other teams? Are teams looking to sign guys now?

Halsell: While teams cannot sign unrestricted free agents until the beginning of the 2011 league year on 3/4/11, given the labor uncertainty, do not expect teams to pursue unrestricted free agents until a new labor deal is agreed upon.

Kevin: Tana had a career year for receptions. What value do you think he has for this team in regards to a deal? He'll be 32 this summer and is probably looking for one last good deal.

Moss' market value as a productive WR in his early 30s is similar to that of Derrick Mason, Donald Driver, and Hines Ward, who all signed their current contracts at a similar stage of their careers as Moss is currently.  The Mason, Driver, and Ward contracts would seem to indicate that the appropriate average per year for Moss is $4.5M/yr - $6M/yr.  A three year deal roughly worth $15M with $5M guaranteed would not be unreasonable.    

As several commenters here have pointed out, that $5 million could be used towards a bigger named WR; however, the Redskins have a ton of cap space. Why not get a top WR and keep Moss for the $5 million? I think the former Hurricane has two solid years left and what Tana did for this offense in the middle of the field cannot be underestimated. It looks like there won't be a resolution any time soon, so everyone can resume the QB and Snyder discussions. *sigh*.