The Washington Redskins have been more reserved this year than they have been in offseasons past. And that’s a smart thing for the team.
Just a year or so ago, the Washington Redskins would have been considered as one of the teams that constantly overpays free agents to come to town. After giving what were, at the time, massive deals to Albert Haynesworth, Pierre Garcon, and Josh Norman, only to see mixed results, the Redskins were known as one of the teams in the league that wasn’t afraid to throw their money around. However, in 2018, that hasn’t been the case.
The Redskins have made a few notable moves, trading for Alex Smith, signing Paul Richardson to a deal, and inking Orlando Scandrick to a short term pact, but none have really been all that massive. Richardson signed for half of what Sammy Watkins got annually, and some numbers are coming to light on Scandrick’s deal that are a bit more favorable.
When Scandrick first signed the two year deal that was set to pay him $10 million total, there were some skeptics. And rightfully so. After all, Scandrick has had trouble staying healthy and while he is a quality slot option, he doesn’t figure to be much else. So, giving him $5 million a year seemed like a lot.
That said, ESPN’s John Keim is reporting that the Redskins are only set to give the $1 million guaranteed. Everything else will have to be earned. Here’s more on that, via Keim.
"Corner Orlando Scandrick received a $1 million signing bonus from Washington, but there’s no other guaranteed money in his two-year contract. He’ll count $2.6 million vs. the salary cap in 2018 and $4.25 million in 2019. If he’s cut after this season, the Redskins would only have $500,000 in dead money on their cap. Scandrick receivers per-game roster bonuses up to $500,000 this season and up to $1 million next season. The Redskins signed him to compete for the starting job opposite Josh Norman, but knowing he could play in the slot if nothing else."
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So, essentially the Redskins payment of Scandrick depends upon whether or not he is healthy and whether or not he makes the team. This turns what looked like a decent signing into a low-risk, high-reward option for the Redskins. So, Bruce Allen and Doug Williams deserve credit for getting this deal done right.
Additionally, the team made an under-the-radar move regarding Terrell McClain as well. McClain, another former Cowboy like Scandrick, was a bust in his first year in Washington, as he doesn’t fit the team’s 3-4 defense well. He was due to have his $3.25 million base salary guaranteed on Sunday, but apparently, that won’t be the case.
Per Keim, the language in McClain’s contract was changed to make the sum only injury guaranteed. So, if McClain continues to struggle, then the Redskins can cut him and pay him far less than they would have if the guarantee had been kept in. This is probably a mutually beneficial move, as McClain will see some of the guarantees he wouldn’t have had if the Redskins had cut him before the fifth day of the league year. Plus, he will have a chance to prove himself again and try to earn his way back into the rotation.
Coupling these two moves with the Richardson move, which has low cap hits in first two years with the team (per NBC Sports Washington’s Rich Tandler, it will be only $4 million in 2018) shows that the Redskins front office is committed to making smart deals from here on out. They know they have made too many mistakes, so perhaps that’s why they haven’t been as trigger happy this offseason. Still, that could be a good thing moving forward.
If the Redskins front office continues to spend rationally, then they will have a chance to land high quality players at a lower price. That could cause them to miss out on some bigger names, but it could also end up making them a winning organization with money to spend. So, hopefully this trend of getting deals with lower guarantees or favorable cap numbers early in the deals will continue.