Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Washington Redskins said goodbye to perhaps their least popular player yesterday, cutting receiver Brandon Lloyd after two unproductive seasons.

Washington also moved closer to the $116 million salary cap limit by restructuring the contracts of starting tackles Jon Jansen and Chris Samuels.

The Redskins acquired Lloyd, then a restricted free agent, from the San Francisco 49ers in March 2006 in exchange for third- and fourth-round draft choices.

Although he still had a year left on his rookie contract and had never caught 50 passes in a season, the Redskins gave Lloyd the same six-year, $30 million contract they gave free agent signees Adam Archuleta, Andre Carter and Antwaan Randle El.

While Carter and Randle El have been solid starters, Lloyd joined Archuleta — traded last year to the Chicago Bears for a sixth-round pick — as one of the biggest busts in Redskins history.

Lloyd caught 23 passes for 365 yards in 2006. He barely played last season, catching just two passes for 14 yards before breaking his collarbone during a November practice and going on injured reserve. Lloyd never scored a touchdown for the Redskins.

Lloyd’s planned $4.2 million will count against the cap because the Redskins will claim him as one of their exceptions to the June 1 rule on cap acceleration. This means his remaining signing bonus proration will count against their 2009 cap instead.

The reworked contracts of Samuels and Jansen saved the Redskins $6.3 million. Five-time Pro Bowl pick Samuels, who would have counted $8.2 million against the cap, now counts $5.1 million. Jansen, who would have counted $7.7 million, now counts $4.5 million.

The Redskins are about $1.2 million over the cap with the deadline just two days away. But even if they don’t rework the deals of any more veterans, they will be well if veteran quarterback Mark Brunell’s $6.5 million contract for 2008 voids as expected.

Jansen and Samuels, the longest-tenured Redskins with nine and eight years, respectively, followed Carter, Randle El, Pro Bowl tight end Chris Cooley and guard Randy Thomas in reworking their contracts this winter.

The Redskins don’t have any projected starters who will become free agents Friday. Their biggest potential losses are punter Derrick Frost, special teams standout Rock Cartwright, quarterback Todd Collins, offensive lineman Jason Fabini, linebacker Randall Godfrey, receiver Keenan McCardell and safety Pierson Prioleau. None of those players, if retained, will break the bank.

Neither did Pro Bowl long snapper Ethan Albright, who re-signed for one year and the $445,000 veteran minimum plus a $40,000 signing bonus.

What’s more, executive vice president Vinny Cerrato has maintained that the Redskins — coming off a second playoff appearance in three years and with all 22 projected starters under contract — won’t be as active as usual in free agency, lessening the need for much cap room.

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