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As of today, the Redskins have 23 players on reserve lists, accounting for more than $80m in salary cap

The more things stay the same, the more they don’t change

Washington Redskins clean lockers Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images

In preparation for this week’s final regular season game against the Cowboys in Dallas, the Redskins have signed two new cornerbacks:

Free agent Dee Delaney
Breon Borders from the Jacksonville practice squad

These players were signed because CBs Quinton Dunbar and Danny Johnson were both placed on IR today. Johnson had spent the season on the PUP list before being activated on December 10th. He played against the Eagles and part of the Giants game, tallying 11 tackles and a pass defense. Dunbar struggled with nerve issues in his leg that caused him to miss most of last season, but managed to play 11 games in 2019, missing Weeks 2, 3, 15 and 16. When he was on the field, Dunbar often seemed to be the Redskins’ best pass defender.


Redskins Roster Moves: Quinton Dunbar, Danny Johnson to IR, 2 CBs signed to keep Josh Norman on the bench

Dee Delaney has been mostly a practice squad player who spent time with the Jaguars, Dolphins and Jets in 2018 and 2019 after being a 3-year starter at the Citadel.

Breon Borders went undrafted out of Duke in 2017, and has again been mostly a practice squad player with the Raiders, Bills, Texans and Jags.

It will be interesting to see exactly how committed the coaches are to keeping Josh Norman on the bench. If Delaney or Borders gets in the game ahead of Norman, it will provide a talking point for the off-season.

The Redskins huge investment in the Reserve List (PUP, NFI, IR, suspended) began with Alex Smith’s injury last year.

Per OverTheCap, this was the situation with Redskins on Reserve lists prior to today’s announced moves:

The total amount of 2019 salary cap being devoted to these 23 players (including Dunbar and Johnson) adds up to nearly $83m for the full season, which represents nearly 43% of the total available 2019 cap space.

Trent Williams’ cap hit was reduced from a figure in excess of $14m by his holdout, followed by the team’s decision to put him on the reserve/NFI list and not pay him his contracted salary, as is their right under the CBA.

Alex Smith, who has been unable to play since sustaining a very serious leg injury against the Texans last season, has a fully guaranteed salary in 2020, and is scheduled to count $21.4m against the salary cap. It has been widely speculated that Smith’s career as an NFL quarterback is over. The Redskins gave him $71m in guarantees when they traded for him and extended his contract in 2018. He played in 9 12 games, winning six of them.


So who lost the most to injury through last week? The Redskins with a staggering $67.3M in lost salary to players on reserve. The big impacts here were Alex Smith who spent the year on PUP and Trent Williams who sat out before being placed on NFI as soon as he reported. Jordan Reed was also a major loss.

Not surprisingly the teams that are the healthiest are generally in the playoff hunt (teams in the top left quadrant). Those who are riddled with injury are mainly out of it (bottom right quadrant) showing how difficult it is to overcome injury.

The teams like the Giants, Cowboys, and Browns were all pretty healthy this year so you would attribute their horrible showings to coaching, poor roster construction, or a combination of both. All three will likely be looking for a new head coach.