The Redskins on Monday afternoon released free safety Oshiomogho Atogwe and fullback Mike Sellers. The moves coincided with an ESPN report that the NFL is penalizing the Redskins $36 million in salary cap space because of how they shifted contracts to the uncapped year in 2010.
Washington can split the penalty over two seasons, according to the report. It was not immediately clear how much salary cap space the Redskins will have entering the start of free agency on Tuesday at 4 p.m. They had approximately $40 million at the beginning of this week.
A Redskins spokesman said the team does not plan to comment on the penalty. The NFL and NFL Players Association did not immediately return requests for comment.
Releasing Atogwe saves Washington $3.4 million against the 2012 salary cap, and he will not account for any dead money, according to a source with knowledge of his deal.
Atogwe, 30, failed during his only season with the Redskins to live up to his reputation as a ball hawk who consistently forces turnovers. The seven-year veteran was slowed by hamstring and knee injuries. He lacked explosiveness in changing directions and in making plays on the ball. He had three interceptions in 13 games (eight starts).
Sellers, 36, lost his starting job to Darrel Young last season and played mostly on special teams. He was scheduled to make a base salary of $1.05 million in 2012.
He played 11 of his 12 NFL seasons for the Redskins, the first being in 1998. After spending 2002 and 2003 in the CFL, he returned to the NFL and made the Pro Bowl following the 2008 season.
“Mike showed me a lot of things no coach or person without his experience could show me from a football standpoint or a life standpoint,” Young said of his mentor. “He taught me to have fun because all good things would come to an end.”