The Washington Redskins on Tuesday restructured the contract of wide receiver Santana Moss. According to Mike Jones and Mark Maske, the restructure does not add any years onto Moss' contract but instead converts $2 million of his 2013 salary into incentives. This saves the Redskins $2 million against the salary cap, and since Mike Shanahan said Monday that they were about $1 million under, you figure now that they're about $3 million under. (That's right. I was really good at math in high school. It's OK to be impressed.) That leaves them room to sign a free agent when the window opens at 4 p.m. ET today, and I wouldn't be surprised if they came out of the day with a new cornerback. I think Derek Cox from Jacksonville makes a lot of sense, and it's easy to connect the dots on Aqib Talib as well.
But we'll know all of that soon enough. The point I wanted to make here is about the two veteran restructures the Redskins have done in the past two days. Neither Moss nor defensive end Adam Carriker had any years added onto their deals. Carriker, like Moss, agreed to convert a portion of his guaranteed salary into incentives. And though these incentives have been characterized as "attainable," giving up guaranteed money is always a risk in a league in which your season could end on any given play. What you're seeing with Moss and Carriker is players agreeing to help out the team with its salary cap problem in ways that could end up costing them money. And I think that's significant and says something about the culture that's been established around the Redskins in recent years.
Now, of course it's possible that Carriker and Moss were told they'd be released if they didn't take the pay cuts. The Redskins did cut cornerback DeAngelo Hall on Monday without an attempt at restructuring. But it's noteworthy that these two restructures do not simply shift salary-cap costs into future years, as many of the restructures being done around the league do. It's clear that Shanahan wants to avoid that practice if at all possible, and it appears he's been able to do that so far in spite of the $18 million in cap penalties still affecting the franchise. It's entirely possible that, as free agency rolls along, the Redskins have to do the more common type of restructuring with some of their deals. But so far, they've avoided it.