Will some high-profile Redskins be asked to take a pay cut?

Will some high-profile Redskins be asked to take a pay cut?
March 5, 2013, 2:30 pm
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Yesterday, we looked at some ways the Redskins can reduce their salary cap number by releasing players. The other way to restructure contracts.

That term is often applied to two very different concepts. One is when a team actually reduces the amount of money it is going to pay a player. Of course, this can’t be done unilaterally; it needs to be negotiated between the team and the player involved. In most cases, the team will tell the player that if he doesn’t play for their salary, the player will be cut.

This does not happen very often. But occasionally a player will see that his current team is offering at least as much as when he might get as a free agent. Or, he might make something under market value but the difference is small enough that he doesn’t want make the change, uproot his family, learn a new system, and adjust to new teammates.

The big target a pay cut is cornerback DeAngelo Hall. He is due a total of $8 million in salary ($7.5 million) and workout bonuses ($500,000). Based on his salary he is the seventh-highest paid cornerback in the NFL. Next year, the last year of his deal, the workout bonus stays the same and his salary goes up to $9 million and he will be the third-highest paid CB in the league.

There is plenty of debate about Hall’s value, both among Redskins fans and around the league. But there is no question that he is not a top-10 corner. And he is not due an “make up” money—he has been well paid for his all of his time in Washington, for his entire NFL career for that matter.

Hall would need to take a pay cut, perhaps a substantial one, in order to stay on the roster even if the Redskins were operating with a lot of salary cap room. They’re not, of course, as they sit $3 million over after counting in the $18 million cap penalty.

A salary of $3 million would have him in the top 25 highest paid cornerbacks. That’s not unreasonable for a corner going into his 11th season who can still make some plays. And the Redskins won’t be able to find a veteran replacement for Hall for much less than that. Perhaps the Redskins could guarantee some of the money as none of the last two years has any guarantees and add some incentives.

At the end of last year, Hall indicated that he might be willing to take less money to stay in Washington.

“That’s something we’ll address this offseason,” he said. “We’ll figure out if it’s worth me coming back. If not we can redo something. We’ll see what happens.”

He is certainly savvy enough to see that the Redskins are not going to pay him $8 million and that the entire amount would be cap savings if the Redskins released him, making him an inviting target for cap savings.

This deal could be simple enough to draw up on a cocktail napkin. They could do a three-year deal with the third one voidable. Pay him a $1 million salary and $3 million signing bonus this year and a $2 million salary next season. That drops his cap hit this year from $8 million to $2 million. It would be $3 million next year instead of $9.5 million and then there would be $1 million in dead cap in 2014.

If Hall balks and the Redskins release him, they can go to the free agent market and spend some of the $8 million in savings in a market that will be, according to many analysts, flooded with cornerbacks. They should be able to find at least a short-term solution.

But the ideal solution would probably be for Hall to come back at a reduced rate while the Redskins identify their corner of the future and work him into the lineup.

There are two other players who might be asked to play for less. Both of them were mentioned yesterday in this article about potential cap casualties.

Adam Carriker, who is slated to make $3.7 million with another $300,000 coming in workout and roster bonuses, could be asked to take a cut as he is likely to be in a reduced role.

Santana Moss was very productive last year as he led the team in touchdown receptions. It might be a little more difficult to ask him to take a cut from his combined $4.5 million in salary, roster bonus, and workout bonus. Perhaps they could use one-year extension with some voidable years to soften the cap hit in 2013.