Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall earned the nickname “MeAngelo” years ago for what someone considered to be his selfish play on the field and self-serving quotes off of it.
But after listening to his interview on 106.7 the Fan, it might be time for that nickname to be reevaluated. Hall acknowledged that he offered to accept a significant pay cut prior to being released last month and also said he feels partly responsible for the $36 million salary cap penalty the NFL imposed on the Redskins.
“I totally understood the business side of things,” Hall told Grant Paulsen during an interview, referring to Coach Mike Shanahan’s decision to release him. “I understood the financial implications that [were] tied to my contract. I told him, ‘Man, I want this team to be good, too.’”
On Monday, Hall agreed to a one-year contract with the Redskins that will reportedly pay him almost $6 million less than he had been previously set to earn. The team used those savings to retain the bulk of its NFC East championship roster and fill holes elsewhere.
“There’s no way we could be good and compete and get some other contracts done that we needed to get done with me making this kind of money,” Hall said. “We both knew it. We couldn’t agree to anything from the jump, so they had to do what they had to do, which was release me.”
During his two-plus weeks on the free market, Hall received some interest from other teams. But he ultimately chose to return to Washington because of, as he put it, his desire to remain in a tight-knit locker room and with a coaching staff he believes in.
“The whole point of free agency is to test the market and see what is out there, see if there’s anything is better out there,” Hall added. “We’ve been down for so long and to finally have something to look forward to …I’ve seen Mike build this team from an average football team to a team that won the NFC East. I [feel] like we had all the pieces in place.”
Hall also took some responsibility for the salary cap penalty the Redskins were handed. Indeed, the team restructured his contract to push a $15 million option bonus he was due into the upcapped 2010 season. The move was designed to lower his cap hit in subsequent seasons and would allow the team to release him without creating any dead money. The NFL disagreed with the tactic and levied an unprecedented punishment.
“It’s tough taking that $18 million cap hit,” Hall said. “That was something we tried to battle our way out of, but couldn’t get out of it. You, know, I felt part of it was my fault. … I kind of felt like I owed it to these guys to go out there and try to give them all I got for one more year.”