How badly did the league-imposed salary hit hurt Redskins?

How badly did the league-imposed salary hit hurt Redskins?
December 30, 2013, 10:30 am
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Shanahan praises Redskins salary cap decisions

In his farewell statement make shortly after he was fired as coach of the Redskins, Mike Shanahan pinned a lot of the issues that led to the team’s 3-13 record this season on the $36 million salary cap penalty the league imposed in 2012.

In reviewing his tenure in Washington, Shanahan spoke of “tough decisions” he had to make to repair the Redskins’ roster. He believed that the team “made some strides” despite finishing with records of 6-10 and 5-11 in his first two years.

But then, just before the start of the free agency period the NFL announced that the Redskins would be hit with a $36 million penalty for violating the spirit of the rules during the 2010 uncapped season. The penalty was to be split between the 2012 and 2013 seasons.

Shanahan said that he was prepared to address the defensive side of the ball in free agency that offseason.

[RELATED VIDEO: Shanahan thanks fans, ownership after being fired]

“Something that I thought we had to do was get some defensive players. And when we got that $36 million hit we weren’t able to get some of those players that we wanted to get. We had a lot of people targeted in that third year,” said Shanahan.

The cap penalty did not present an obstacle in 2012 as the team won the NFC East. But this year, according to Shanahan, it took its toll.

“But any time you take a look at some of the cap situations we went through it’s always tough to have depth,” Shanahan said. “And that’s what I thought really hurt us this year was depth on our special teams, depth on our defense. We didn’t have the speed that we had a year ago.”

Shanahan noted that the team will be in better cap shape this year with some $25 to $30 million to spend. But he will not be around to benefit from it.