This week, Over The Cap published an article in which they looked ahead to next off-season, using their crystal ball (or at least a handy laptop computer) to analyze what they termed the “Salary Cap Health” of each of the 32 teams in the NFL.
This wasn’t a simple calculation of available cap dollars, but an attempt to quantify four factors that attempt to quantify how the cap can be influenced between now and March next year.
What the OTC analysis said about the Redskins
Over The Cap ranked the 32 NFL teams according to each team’s average ranking across the four factors. The Cleveland Browns ranked highest in this analysis, with an average rank of 7th, while the Redskins slotted into the 5th spot with an average rank of 9th.
The Redskins are in Tier 1
The Redskins were listed among the top tier teams — those with the ‘most healthy’ salary cap situation for 2020. OTC described this group of teams this way:
These are the teams, with the exception of the Browns, that will likely stand out...as having a big chance at free agency in .... [There are] no guarantee these teams will be active in free agency next year but basically no extension or signing should trouble them if the cap is normal next year.
The rest of the NFC East
This analysis put the Giants into Tier 3. According to the article, “[The Giants] could slice away to gain room. This is also the group where one big extension could drop them a tier and have a ripple effect on the cap.”
Tier 4 (the lowest tier)
This is the group of teams that will mainly be looked at as being in trouble with the cap for a number of different reasons. These teams will have a difficult time moving up a tier and in some cases will need to make some difficult decisions to deal with the cap.
The team that has the most potential from here is the Cowboys who have a lot of flexibility with restructures if they want to do that. They also can still re-sign their prime free agent next year (Dak Prescott) by July to increase their carryover and likely do a moderate cap number.
Neither the Eagles nor the Falcons are in a good spot but both should be ok due to the ability to restructure for cap relief and a lower group of impactful free agents in 2021.
In effect, the approach taken by the Redskins front office this off-season — that is, not extending veteran Redskins and focusing on short-term contracts in veteran free agency — has set up a situation where Kyle Smith and Ron Rivera can, if they wish, dive expansively into the free agent market in 2021 as they seek to re-make the roster.
In addition, the Redskins are much better positioned from a salary cap standpoint than their three NFC East division rivals, with the Eagles, in particular, facing the most challenging cap situation.
None of this is “news” to Hogs Haven readers who have discussed this extensively, but the OTC analysis demonstrates that the Redskins will be among a handful of teams that will have maximum salary cap resources next March to attack the free agent market as aggressively as they like.
Combined with the 8 draft picks the Redskins currently hold (they have an extra 3rd round selection acquired from San Fran in the Trent Williams trade) and the youthful core roster of roughly 40 players that should still be under contract after this season ends, the front office should be ideally poised for a terrain-changing roster restructure ahead of the ‘21 season.
In other words, Ron Rivera should be able to field the team that he wants to coach in 2021.