There’s a rule in the NFL that states that only the players with the 51 highest base salaries on the team count against the salary cap from the start of the league year until just before the start of the regular season.
At that point, every player on the team, including those on injured reserve or other lists keeping them from counting against the 53-man roster, counts against the cap. As a result, teams sometimes have to rework contracts to make sure their payroll complies with the cap.
The Redskins admitted earlier in the summer that they were worried about where they’d be when everybody counted and Mark Maske of the Washington Post reports that they have restructured the contract of defensive tackle Barry Cofield as a result. Cofield was set to have a base salary of $4.05 million this season, but it has been slashed to the veteran minimum of $840,000 for a player of his experience. That lessens the cap hit for this year by moving it to future years of Cofield’s deal, which runs through the 2016 season.
The move gives the Redskins about $2.4 million in cap space to go with the $1.3 million that Maske reports they had before the move. The Redskins are in the second year of a two-year league-imposed cap penalty of $36 million resulting from the way they structured contracts in the uncapped 2010 season.