Given the public statements on both sides, we would have expected to have word of a new deal between the Redskins and linebacker London Fletcher by now.
The Redskins said they wanted him back and Fletcher said he wanted to return, so what’s the hold up? According to Alex Marvez of FOXSports.com, it is the $18 million cap penalty levied on the Redskins for their spending during the uncapped 2010 season.
“LB Lorenzo Alexander says NFL cap penalty hindering contract talks 2 re-sign LB London Fletcher & could lead 2 vets leaving in ’13,” Marvez said via Twitter.
The second half of Marvez’s report isn’t much of an issue. The Redskins have been moving in a younger direction and that would likely have continued whether or not they were docked by the NFL. Most of the veterans at risk of leaving — including Alexander, whose contract expires after next season — would likely be players whose production level has dipped to a place where their departure wouldn’t create many problems. But Fletcher was crucial to the team’s defense last season and he’s been playing at a very high level for the last three years, so losing him would be a major negative for the team.
Dealing with the cap squeeze in the next two years is particularly relevant for a 37-year-old player like Fletcher. Spreading out the cap hit over many years, as they did with free agent acquisitions Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan, is less of an option with Fletcher. There’s probably a way to get a deal done, though it may take compromise on both sides.
Fletcher would have to take a little less money and the Redskins might have to build some dead money into the end of the deal if the relationship is going to continue.