Coach Mike Shanahan and general manager Bruce Allen defiantly vowed to move forward with an offseason plan that is significantly altered by the loss of $18 million of salary cap space for the 2013 season. Half of the salary cap penalty was applied last season, and the other half affects Washington’s 2013 cap.
Allen, in his first detailed comments about the penalty, called it a “travesty of fairness.”
Shanahan, meanwhile, expressed frustration but vowed to make the best of the team’s financial limitations.
“We’re not able to go out in free agency,” Shanahan said. “We might be able to do it for one guy or two guys, depending on what the money is. But that’s just the hand we were dealt and are dealing with.”
The weight of the penalty fell on the Redskins earlier Monday when they released veteran DeAngelo Hall, who coaches regarded as their best cornerback.
Releasing Hall saved the Redskins $8 million in 2013 salary cap space, and got the club about $1 million under the cap, Shanahan said. Washington, like all teams, has to be in compliance with the salary cap when the new league year begins at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
The Redskins will attempt to renegotiate several veterans’ contracts to create cap space and the potential to acquire free agents before the market opens. Shanahan implied some players will face the ultimatum of restructuring their contracts or being released.
Defensive end Adam Carriker restructured his contract Monday to remain with the team. His new contract lasts through 2015, just as his old one did. He is recovering from surgery to repair a torn left quadriceps tendon.
“Fortunately, our players are working with us in order for us to maintain our team and improve on last year’s season,” Allen said.
Shanahan is averse to restructuring deals because they can create dead money against the salary cap after the team decides to part with the player. It’s a stark contrast from the philosophy employed by the team before Shanahan and Allen took over in 2010.
“We’ve been trying to do things the right way, not structure things out into the future where it comes back and bites you three or four years from now,” Shanahan said. “You’ve got to deal with the situation, and we’re not going to mortgage the future because of something that’s been done to us today.”
Shanahan’s top priority is retaining players who contributed to last year’s NFC East division championship team.
Releasing receiver Santana Moss, who turns 34 in June, would save the Redskins $4.5 million. He led the team last season with eight touchdown catches. Shanahan said Moss is not restructuring his contract “at this time.”