Redskins officials have said they were caught off guard last year when they found out just before free agency that the NFL would hit the team with a $36 million salary cap cut over two years.
With the team set to absorb the second half of that penalty this year, Coach Mike Shanahan said after the 2012 season that the team does not consider the matter closed. But several people familiar with the case said in recent weeks that there is little to no chance, in their view, of the Redskins recouping any portion of their lost cap space.
“The cap penalty remains in place,” one said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the Redskins have refused to comment publicly on the details of the case and what they consider unresolved.
So the Redskins again are poised to enter the free agent signing period that begins March 12 with less cap flexibility than their rivals. They are attempting to restock a club that is coming off an NFC East title, but also one that must deal with the uncertain playing status of quarterback Robert Griffin III after his knee surgery.
The Redskins took $18 million of their reduction last year, according to officials in the sport, and must take the remaining $18 million this year. The salary cap will be an estimated $121 million per team.
The Redskins, according to salary cap records, carried over $4.2 million from last year’s cap to this year’s cap, as league rules permit when a team has unused cap room. But it’s not clear precisely where they stand against the salary cap. The final cap figure has not yet been determined, and there are other factors, such as the reconciliation of incentives in players’ contracts from last season, that have not yet been resolved. Some estimates put the Redskins about $4 million over the cap. Teams must be in compliance next month.