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Washington Commanders updated salary cap situation (18 March 2023)

Where do we stand now that Andrew Wylie and Efe Obada contracts have been accounted for?

Washington Commanders v Houston Texans Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

In our last salary cap update two days ago, two players — DT Efe Obada and OT Andrew Wylie — had not yet been included in the team’s cap numbers at Over the Cap.

That has now happened.

DT Efe Obada

Obada has a one-year contract, with a cap hit of $2m, with half of it guaranteed.

RT Andrew Wylie

Wylie’s 3-year, $24m deal has the following cap hits:

  • ‘23 - $4.17m
  • ‘24 - $9.42m
  • ‘25 - $10.41m

If the Commanders cut Wylie after one season, they would have paid him $12m. If he is cut after the ‘24 season, he would receive a touch over $16m for 2 years ($8m APY), making this a 2-year contract with third-year option for the team.

Updated cap situation

Over the Cap now estimates the Commanders to have $4.2m in cap space.

OTC has not yet accounted for DT Abdullah Anderson, who was signed yesterday as a free agent, but I expect that he is on a one-year, vet minimum contract, meaning that, under the Rule of 51, his contract will not change the cap situation at all, or by such a small amount as to be insignificant.

Is that enough?

It probably is...for now.

Absent any more free agent signings, the Commanders won’t need to dip into that cap space until the draft at the end of April.

  • OTC estimates that the Commanders will need $3.5m in cap space to sign their draft class. At the moment, it appears as if the team has enough space to do so.
  • Washington, like every NFL team, will need “contingency” cap space available to sign free agents as injury replacements during the season. Typically, teams need around $4m to $5m to start the season.

Potential releases/renegotiations

Cap space can be ‘created’ by releasing players or renegotiating their contracts (asking them to take a pay cut).

Looking at the roster, the following players appear to be candidates for release or renegotiation (due to having a high salary combined with either inconsistent performance or significant injury history...or both):

  • RG Andrew Norwell ($2.28m savings if cut)
  • C Chase Roullier ($4.32m savings if cut)
  • LT Charles Leno ($8m savings if cut)
  • OT Cornelius Lucas ($3.45m savings if cut)
  • TE Logan Thomas ($5.18m savings if cut)
  • K Joey Slye ($1.85m savings if cut)

Potential Restructures

Cap space can also be ‘created’ by restructuring a player contract, which entails simply converting a portion of his base salary into signing bonus, which is then pro-rated over the remaining life of the contract, increasing cap space in the current year by decreasing it by an equal amount in future years.

When a player has a high base salary and future years on his contract (or good performance that can be rewarded with additional years on the contract) he is a candidate for a restructure.

  • Jonathan Allen ($14m base salary)
  • Curtis Samuel ($10.1m base salary)
  • Montez Sweat ($11.5m 5th year option)

As you can see, there is a lot of scope for cap savings. For example, Washington could create $6m in 2023 cap space, potentially meeting all the team’s cap space needs, through the simple expedient of converting $9m of Jonathan Allen’s base salary to signing bonus.

At some point prior to the start of the season, the Commanders front office will need to “create” some additional cap space, but it is not urgent, and, depending on whether or not the Ron Rivera wants to add a high-dollar free agent at some point between now and training camp, it may be that nothing is done to affect cap space before the regular season roster is finalized after the last preseason game.