Today is a critical day for Terrell McClain. The Redskins defensive lineman will see part of his salary become guaranteed if he’s on the roster past 4:00 p.m.
Terrell McClain was supposed to be a big acquisition for the Washington Redskins last offseason. The team needed help on the defensive line, and they chose to add McClain and Stacy McGee on deals to join the team. McClain signed a four-year, $21 million contract to try and help the team’s run defense. Instead, he ended up being a bust.
In one season in Washington, McClain performed poorly and wasn’t really able to earn a role in the team’s defensive line rotation. McClain proved to be a poor fit in the 3-4 defense, as he didn’t do well at the five technique position but was too small to play the nose for the Redskins. So, the Redskins would probably like to get rid of him if possible.
However, McClain’s contract is a bit difficult to get rid of. Releasing McClain would result in $7 million in dead cap space, per Spotrac, and that could cause some problems regarding their cap space over the next couple of years. Still, it could be worth it to help add another player to the roster instead of retaining a player who doesn’t contribute much.
According to NBC Sports Washington’s Rich Tandler, McClain in one of the players who will see his salary become guaranteed. And of the five players Tandler mentioned, McClain’s grasp on a roster spot seems most tenuous.
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"[Terrell McClain’s] $3.25 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed—If the Redskins sign a top free agent D-lineman or draft on early in the draft they could be in a numbers crunch. That new acquisition would be guaranteed a roster spot along with Jonathan Allen, Matt Ioannidis, Stacy McGee, and Anthony Lanier. That makes five and the Redskins kept six last year. Ziggy Hood is a favorite of the coaching staff but he has no guaranteed money left on his contract. That could tip the sixth spot in favor of McClain if he is on the roster at the close of business today. If they release McClain after today, they would take a cap charge of over $2 million. It seems unlikely that anything will happen but it’s something to keep an eye on."
It would be nice if the Redskins could offload McClain somehow and avoid giving up Hood. Having a rotation of Jonathan Allen, McGee, Hood, Matt Ioannidis, and Anthony Lanier in addition to a player like Johnathan Hankins, Da’Ron Payne, or Vita Vea could do a lot to improve the team’s defensive line.
If there’s a roster crunch, the team should get rid of McClain and not another contributor. It may not happen today, but keep an eye on McClain before the 4:00 p.m. deadline anyway. The Redskins have to consider parting ways with him to allow him to find a better scheme fit. While nothing seems imminent, just look out for a surprise cut.