After cutting oft-injured kicker John Hall yesterday, the Washington Redskins have saved about $1 million during the first five days of free agency, giving them about $6.7 million in salary cap room.
The positive financial news for a team that’s usually tight against the cap in March occurred because middle linebacker London Fletcher and cornerback Fred Smoot, the newest Redskins, count for just $5.1 million, while retaining punter Derrick Frost, safety Vernon Fox and cornerback Ade Jimoh cost less than $2.3 million.
On the other side of the ball, reworking the deals of running back Clinton Portis, receiver Santana Moss, guard Randy Thomas and fullback Mike Sellers saved $6.8 million, and Hall’s exit saved another $1.5 million.
So Washington doesn’t need to cut anyone — including cornerback Shawn Springs, whose $7.35 million cap number is second on the team behind Pro Bowl left tackle Chris Samuels. Springs will be 32 on Sunday and missed seven games in 2006 with three different injuries. But despite the return of Smoot after two years in Minnesota and the presence of Carlos Rogers, Springs remains Washington’s No. 1 cornerback.
However, Washington’s substantial cap room allows for a trade and the bonus acceleration from Springs’ contract. Denver, which just acquired corner Dre Bly from Detroit, might be interested in a swap. Contrary to reports, Bly is happy to be with the Broncos, his agent, Kennard McGuire, told the Rocky Mountain News. Denver hasn’t committed to extending Bly’s contract, which will pay him $4.2 million in 2007, its final year. Washington extends deals as a matter of course, as it did for Moss and fellow receiver Brandon Lloyd after acquiring them the previous two winters.
“Hopefully, Dre will see the light as far as playing opposite Champ Bailey … [and] being part of a great organization,” Broncos defensive coordinator Jim Bates said. “Hopefully, he’ll come around and say, ‘Hey, this is where I want to be.’ ”
Bly has 33 career interceptions to rank fourth among active players, six behind fellow eight-year pro Bailey. Springs has 27 interceptions in 10 years.
Hall, who turns 33 a week from Saturday, missed 25 games with injuries the past three years. He came to Washington from New York in 2003 as one of the “Jet-Skins” and had a solid first season with the Redskins, who finally seemed to have found a long-term kicker. However, Hall’s series of pulled muscles began in October 2004, and Washington was forced to use the inexperienced Ola Kimrin and Jeff Chandler for stints of five and three games.
Hall lasted just one game in 2005 before getting hurt again. Former Maryland star Nick Novak took over and was summoned once more when Hall was hurt for the fourth time in three years in October. Novak’s replacement, Shaun Suisham, made eight of nine field goal attempts after signing in December, and that was finally enough for the Redskins to decide that they had run out of patience with Hall.
Notes — The newest possible replacement for departed left guard Derrick Dockery is Edwin Mulitalo. Cut by Baltimore yesterday, Mulitalo started next to current Redskins center Casey Rabach in 2004. Mulitalo missed just four games over six years before being sidelined for most of 2006 with a triceps injury. He will be 33 in September. …
Hall’s release leaves only nine players who predate coach Joe Gibbs’ return in January 2004: offensive linemen Jon Jansen, Samuels and Thomas; snapper Ethan Albright; running backs Ladell Betts and Rock Cartwright; linebacker Lemar Marshall; defensive end Renaldo Wynn; and Jimoh.
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