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Roster analysis: Return on investment

By J.I. Halsell
J.I. Halsell

Former Redskins salary cap analyst J.I. Halsell breaks down the players with the best and worst values midway through the season:

Best Values:

Return man Brandon Banks has provided a spark in the return game that hasn't been seen in these parts since the days of Brian Mitchell. In last week's loss to the Lions, Banks set the Redskins' club record for return yards in a game with 271 total return yards, eclipsing Mitchell's 240 total return yards against the Broncos during the 1995 season. Banks's performance against the Lions also represents the highest total achieved in the league thus far in the 2010 season. Had Rock Cartwright and Antwaan Randle El remained Redskins in 2010, they would have combined for $2.9 million in salary. The fact that the Redskins will pay Banks $320,000 this season and did not have to pay the electrifying return man one cent of guaranteed money shows that they have a true value in Banks.

Wide receiver Anthony Armstrong has ascended from a practice-squad player in 2009 to the No. 2 wide receiver in 2010. Armstrong is currently ranked second in the league in average yards per reception at 21.6 yards and second in the NFC in percentage of receptions resulting in first downs with 82.4 percent of the first-year wide receiver's catches moving the chains. Like Banks, Armstrong is making a league minimum $320,000 in 2010, which is a million less than what Randle El would have made this season as a Redskin.

Ryan Torain found himself out of football in 2009 and in 2010 finds himself as a starting running back. While Torain leads the NFL in percentage of carries resulting in negative yards (22 percent), the hard-nosed running back also ranks second in the NFL and first in the NFC in broken tackles with 13. For the 2010 season, Torain will pocket nearly $360,000 in total salary; comparatively, in 2010, Clinton Portis will continue to make nearly $423,000 per week.

On the defensive side of the ball, starting outside linebacker Lorenzo Alexander has been a tremendous value, and has continued his excellent play on special teams all the while.

Worst Values:

Guard Derrick Dockery has not been on the game day 45-man active roster since Week 4. During the 2010 offseason, the Redskins paid Dockery a $5 million signing bonus, and over the course of the season, Dockery has made $171,000 per week, regardless if he's been on the game day active roster or not. Clearly, the offensive line has had its struggles this season, but when the coaching staff decides week in and week out to not dress an offensive lineman who will pocket $7.9 million in 2010 and is slated to make $3.8 million in 2011, it would not be surprising if Dockery is waived before the end of the season in an effort to free up an active roster spot. If Dockery is waived before the end of the season and his contract is not claimed and assigned to a new club via waivers, he will likely make a termination pay claim for the balance of his 2010 salary. So the Redskins would still be on the hook for the prorated portion of Dockery's $2.9 million 2010 salary, but the club would gain a roster spot that could be used on a player who could be more of contributor.

There's no doubting that running back Clinton Portis, when healthy, leaves it all out on the field on Sundays. However, it has been clear for a while now that Portis is not a $7.2 million running back at this stage of his career, let alone an $8.3 million running back in 2011. Unless he's willing to take a steep pay cut in 2011, there's a strong likelihood that this will be the end of Portis' run in Washington.

Outside linebacker Andre Carter has been surpassed by Alexander on the depth chart and moved into a situational role. Carter will pocket $4.5 million in 2010 ($3.2 million of which came via a 2010 offseason option bonus). With a $4.1 million 2011 option bonus looming, it would seem likely that 2010 will be Carter's final year in Washington. Assuming a salary cap comes back in 2011, terminating Carter's contract could prove to be a bit of a burden because it could lead to as much as $7 million in cap-accounting dead money in 2011. Had the Redskins restructured Carter's contract this season, similar to the way they restructured Albert Haynesworth's and DeAngelo Hall's deals, terminating Carter in 2011 would only have resulted in a dead-money hit of $4.4 million.


A native Washingtonian, J.I. Halsell spent two seasons as a salary cap analyst for the Washington Redskins. Prior to his tenure in Washington, he spent two years working in the NFL Management Council, and now pens a blog entitled "Under the Cap" for FootballOutsiders.com. Follow him on Twitter at @SalaryCap101.

By J.I. Halsell  | November 5, 2010; 9:33 AM ET
Categories:  Roster analysis  
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Next: Redskins at the bye week: special teams

Comments

As good as McNabb has been at avoiding the sack, he's now in a 2-way tie for 2nd most sacked QB in the league--just 5 sacks behind the shell-shocked Cutler.

What are the Shananigans going to do about it?

Posted by: Alan4 | November 5, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Worst Value: J Reid.

Posted by: iubiquity | November 5, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Ho hum zzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Posted by: wireman65 | November 5, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

This is exactly how you turn over a roster. We need 1-2 more years of this and we will have a solid, young core of players and a culture of "Earn your playing time" at every position.

Posted by: WaitingGuilty | November 5, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

This just in - Expensive shti is expensive. I never knew Captain Obvious was an accountant.

Posted by: DikShuttle | November 5, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Well that was certainly alot of work to state the obvious...now where the heck is our special teams article!!!

Posted by: PlayAction | November 5, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

The new front office has done a far better job managing costs than the previous regime, but the Dockery and Carter thing kind of aggravate me. Carter could have been traded away to a 4-3 team. I think there was interest but the Redskins just wanted too much for him. I am shocked that cutting Dockery is even being discussed, but if the team knew they were going with Licthensteiger eventually they should have just let Dockery walk then, taking the hit this uncapped year instead of next.

As far as the "value" players, let's hope the Redskins bump up their salaries next season to show their appreciation. There's being thrifty and then there's being a tightwad, and Bruce Allen will have a hard time getting players if he's going to manage strictly by the bottom line.

Posted by: RedSkinHead | November 5, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

interesting that Kory Letthemruntotheqb wasn't listed....

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | November 5, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Well that was certainly alot of work to state the obvious...now where the heck is our special teams article!!!

Posted by: PlayAction | November 5, 2010 10:06 AM
------------------------------------------
Next is the obligatory Haynesworth article.

Posted by: RedSkinHead | November 5, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

interesting that Kory Letthemruntotheqb wasn't listed....

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | November 5, 2010 10:10 AM
------------------------------------------
Well, if you pay $10 for a pile of guano and put it in your mantle, it is still a pile of guano - and it is not worth $10.

Lichtensteiger = Guano

Posted by: RedSkinHead | November 5, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

interesting that Kory Letthemruntotheqb wasn't listed....

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | November 5, 2010 10:10 AM

Exactly... even if he's playing for free, how is a guy that gets your expensive QB and RB killed not among your worst values?

Posted by: Alan4 | November 5, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Well, if you pay $10 for a pile of guano and put it in your mantle, it is still a pile of guano - and it is not worth $10.

Lichtensteiger = Guano

Posted by: RedSkinHead | November 5, 2010 10:17 AM |
Basic economics says that a product is worth whatever the purchaser will pay for it. So while it may still be guano, it's worth $10. Yet it is still a pile of sh!t, or Licthenpaiosfh.

Posted by: scampbell1975 | November 5, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Next is the obligatory Haynesworth article.

Posted by: RedSkinHead | November 5, 2010 10:14 AM

That's ok...I was really curious how the big guy is spending his week off....Reid too.

Posted by: PlayAction | November 5, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

No way Derick Dockery is still on this team. Maybe they should have played him last week...Naw nevermind he isnt a zone guy so it wouldnt have worked

Posted by: Stu27 | November 5, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Lichtenschizer, lol

Posted by: Stu27 | November 5, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

stu, coach said Kory is playing very, very well.....on the heels of giving up 7 sacks by the oline...

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | November 5, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Now this is a good post. And as the guilty Mr. Fickett opined above, this is a START to refreshing the roster with young, hungry talent and molding it around the core franchise guys like 30, 47, 59, 71, 98.

And RedskinHed, as for your post below- totally agreed, I was merely saying after a day of dealing with idiots, I was dying to vent. Luckily my favorite Redskin rube obliged me, as he is wont to do.

HTTR
___________________
Nothing personal, but I think you are so very wrong: you shouldn't have to wait all day to call Thinker_ an idiot. Just log on your computer first thing in the morning and say, "Thinker_, wherever you are, you are an idiot".

Posted by: RedSkinHead | November 4, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Notorious_LMG | November 5, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Thinker_ is a lonely Pen is.

Posted by: tomass169 | November 5, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Thinker_ is a lonely pen is.

Posted by: tomass169 | November 5, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Fletch is a f/a after next year; I'd like to give him a 2 yr extension to bridge the gap while we find his replacement. Dude's darn near irreplaceable but he's also 36 going into next season; time to start looking for his successor. Hard to believe he's only been here 4 years with the impact he's had.

Posted by: Notorious_LMG | November 5, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Special Teams Beeps

Posted by: PlayAction | November 5, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Fletch is a f/a after next year; I'd like to give him a 2 yr extension to bridge the gap while we find his replacement. Dude's darn near irreplaceable but he's also 36 going into next season; time to start looking for his successor. Hard to believe he's only been here 4 years with the impact he's had.

Posted by: Notorious_LMG | November 5, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Kory Licksshannysass sucks, i dont care wat shanahan says, shanahan is once agian letting his ego get in the way. NO WAY kory is better than dockery!!!! shanny is one tanned crazy midget on a power trip!!

Posted by: skinsfan09 | November 5, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Why don't we just lower our demands and trade Carter now. Unbelievable that this wasn't done last off season. We got nothing in return for Devin Thomas now we stand to loose Dockery and Carter while getting nothing in return but huge cap hits. Add that to the cap hit from Portis and probably Haynesworth, I don't see where this new management has done a good job at all. Hopefully things will really start to change from here on out. Go Skinz

Posted by: MaxnDC | November 5, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

I think this is one of the big questions out there that fans have, but I don't think the proper answer is very popular:

There really isn't much they can do about it.

They could put in Dockery, but he doesn't exactly blow my doors off either, and was part of last year's O-line, which in my mind was worse than this one's.

I think they addressed both tackle positions, one successfully and the other not so much (so far), and one guard position (unsuccesfully, IMO) in the offseason. Quite honestly, the O-line was in such bad shape coming in that there wasn't any way to fix it all in just a year. I also believe that there are no secret fix-it lineman out there to be had - at this point everyone that is worth anything is locked up as the injuries mount.

Next year will be the year to do something about it. They HAVE to draft a C and at least one G, and another T somewhere wouldn't hurt. It's bad enough that I'd forgo drafting darn near anything else. It's ALSO the reason why they need McNabb back here at least next season: they can't afford to waste a high pick on a QB next year.

Posted by: shaunsherman12 | November 5, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Skins aren't getting a good return on the extension they gave to Rabach

Posted by: coparker5 | November 5, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

What about the amazing $42 million man?

Thus far, one sack and a handful of tackles.

Cost per play? I'm guessing about $500,000.

Posted by: Vic1 | November 5, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Amazing there was no mention of the $42 million man -- AH92 -- who thus far has contributed one sack, a handful of tackles, and a whole lot of grief.

Posted by: Vic1 | November 5, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Movable type

Posted by: Vic1 | November 5, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

"For the 2010 season, Torain will pocket nearly $360,000 in total salary; comparatively, in 2010, Clinton Portis will continue to make nearly $423,000 per week."

facepalm.jpg

Posted by: trousers | November 5, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Who cares what a hard capitalist thinks?

Posted by: dcjazzman | November 6, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

I am a first time poster on any sports website but feel that we have a lot a two faced fans who need to reflect on where we are now and hope to go. We have hoped for a return to the glory days but have no patience. We were enraged and wanted a front office with football knowledge and a owner to take hands off of his "fantasy team". It is happening and we must live with the direction we are going and be patient. Trust the decisions we are given to digest. I would love to see Haynesworth run around with the Lomardi trophy like Reggie White did--- probably not gonna happen. I would love to see McNabb win two rings and retire like Elway did-- probably not gonna happen. Being strapped with aged players and individuals that don't meet the schemes we want to run, having met last year's win total in week eight is a task in it's self. Forget about ugly wins---- we had to accept the ugly losses that we should have won last year. Allow a few years to build a team even if it means we don't have Haynesworth plugging up the middle and McNabb is winning a ring in Arizona. We will always suck if we keep demanding change every year or two and questioning the coaching staff's decision. If patient, we may end up and with another trophy at Ashburn and best yet---- see the horrible radio hosts run out of town (who delight in our failures but call themselves fans) when we start to win. So long Lavar and Dukes.

Posted by: optimisticskinsfan | November 7, 2010 8:18 PM | Report abuse

I am a first time poster on any sports website but feel that we have a lot a two faced fans who need to reflect on where we are now and hope to go. We have hoped for a return to the glory days but have no patience. We were enraged and wanted a front office with football knowledge and a owner to take hands off of his "fantasy team". It is happening and we must live with the direction we are going and be patient. Trust the decisions we are given to digest. I would love to see Haynesworth run around with the Lomardi trophy like Reggie White did--- probably not gonna happen. I would love to see McNabb win two rings and retire like Elway did-- probably not gonna happen. Being strapped with aged players and individuals that don't meet the schemes we want to run, having met last year's win total in week eight is a task in it's self. Forget about ugly wins---- we had to accept the ugly losses that we should have won last year. Allow a few years to build a team even if it means we don't have Haynesworth plugging up the middle and McNabb is winning a ring in Arizona. We will always suck if we keep demanding change every year or two and questioning the coaching staff's decision. If patient, we may end up and with another trophy at Ashburn and best yet---- see the horrible radio hosts run out of town (who delight in our failures but call themselves fans) when we start to win. So long Lavar and Dukes.

Posted by: optimisticskinsfan | November 7, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse

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