Yesterday’s press conference with general manager Bruce Allen and head coach Mike Shanahan marked the first time that the Redskins have made extensive public commentary on the $36 million salary cap penalty levied against the team.
One of the more interesting facets of the discussion revolved around the value of the penalty. Sure, the Redskins are subject to a $36 million dollar reduction in spending, but what does that actually mean?
During his Q&A session, Shanahan put the money in terms of players, assuming a salary cap somewhere in the reported ballpark of $123 million dollars:
“I think if you go on any football team and you take a look at $18 million or $36 million, you’ll take off the best, maybe, six to eight players on each team.”
In other words, that’s six to eight premium NFL starters that the team simply does not have. That’s 27-36 percent of the team’s 22 starters, and 11-15 percent of the team’s total 53-man roster.
Shanahan continued, referencing the salaries of some of the top players in last month’s Super Bowl:
“I could go through the Super Bowl teams, and I could talk about Baltimore and I could talk about San Francisco,” he said, “and if you went through $36 million on each team, it would probably overwhelm you on how many of those players make up $36 million. That’s 30 percent of your total revenue.”
Shanahan expressed optimism that the team would still be able to recoup some of the penalized money, but praised his team for being able to win the NFC East with such a dramatic financial disadvantage:
“Obviously we’re dealt a certain hand and we’re going to deal with it and we’re going to do the best job we possibly can,” he said. “We’ve got some excellent free agents, some excellent draft choices over the last few years. Thank God our draft choices have worked out because we’ve got some character. We’ve got some players.
“We did a lot of good things offensively and defensively, especially defensively in the second half of the season. A lot of those people will still be with our football team so I’ve got some high expectations even though there will be a few bumps.”