Redskins facing a dilemma with their quarterback position, salary cap

By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

The Washington Redskins may be in the market for a veteran quarterback to compete with soon-to-be second-year quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. But head coach Ron Rivera – who is not expected to name a new GM until after the draft – has an interesting dilemma on his hands.

While Cam Newton and Jameis Winston would be candidates to join the Redskins, they would come with hefty salaries. Washington already has a hefty quarterback contract on their books.

Former Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton celebrates after a play against the Washington Redskins
Cam Newton celebrates after a play against the Washington Redskins (Getty Images)

Despite not playing last season – and likely not playing ever again – Alex Smith is owed $16 million during the 2020 season. The Redskins would be crippled if they release him.

See, if they did, Washington would be facing a huge chunk of their salary cap being dedicated to Smith’s contract. In fact, if they cut ties with the injured signal-caller, the Redskins would be facing a $32.2 million dead cap hit.

This means that he will likely be on the books at least through the 2020 season. Then, once that season ends, they could cut ties with Smith.

He had signed a four-year, $94 million deal with the franchise before the 2018 season. However, with this opt-out in his contract, it could turn into a three-year, $71 million deal.

The Redskins, though, if they released him following the 2020 season would face a $10.8 million dead cap hit. Washington would rather pay the $10.8 million to get him off the books than $40 million over the 2021 and 2022 seasons.

Alex Smith’s Salary Situation
Alex Smith’s Salary Situation (Screen grab Spotrac)
Alex Smith’s 2020 Cap Situation
Alex Smith’s 2020 Cap Situation (Screen grab/Spotrac)

With their limitations, the Redskins may be better suited for a quarterback like Marcus Mariota, who is not expected to be re-signed by the Tennessee Titans, especially if he does not insist on a large contract. Or they could try to acquire Ryan Fitzpatrick from the Miami Dolphins, if he is available in a deal.

The Dolphins covet Tua Tagovailoa, but with his hip injury, he may not be able to play right away. Plus, they have the fifth overall pick, and he may be gone by the third overall pick, which is presently owned by the Detroit Lions at this time.

The team could also elect to retain backup quarterback Case Keenum. He made $3.5 million during the 2019 season in his first season in the DMV. The 31-year-old Abilene, Texas native appeared in 10 games, including eight starts, including a 1-7 record.

He went 160 of 247 for 1,707 yards. He also threw 11 touchdown passes and five interceptions.

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