Redskins No. 2 on salary list '94 pay cap looms for veteran payroll

August 19, 1993|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Staff Writer

CARLISLE, Pa. -- Even though the Washington Redskins lost Wilber Marshall and Gary Clark in the free-agent market, they'll still have the second-highest veteran payroll in the NFL this year, according to an NFL Players Association salary survey.

The survey, which includes veteran signings as of July 30, lists the Redskins' veteran payroll as $40,317,750. That's second only to the San Francisco 49ers' $41,359,500 payroll.

General manager Charley Casserly declined to confirm the figures, but said, "I'm not going to dispute it."

He added: "Where would we have been if we had Wilber and Gary and all those other guys?"

His answer was at about $45 million, which is why the Redskins decided to trade Marshall and declined to match the $2 million figure Clark got from the Phoenix Cardinals.

They also lost cornerback Martin Mayhew and two defensive linemen, Fred Stokes and Jumpy Geathers.

Despite those losses and their decision to drop out of the bidding for Reggie White, their payroll climbed $9 million because free agency bid up the salaries for all their unsigned starters and three of the free agents they signed -- Carl Banks, Al Noga and Tim McGee -- are among the six highest-paid players on the team.

All this means the Redskins will have a lot of payroll slashing to do next year when the salary cap kicks in.

The Redskins won't know what the cap figure will be until a new TV contract is negotiated, but the general estimates are in the $35 million range. Since almost $5 million of that has been earmarked for benefits and another $2 million for the rookie pool, the teams probably will have less than $30 million to spend on veterans.

"We're going to have a lot of big decisions," Casserly said. "We're going to have to make some adjustments."

Defensive lineman Jason Buck, whose $800,000 salary was omitted from the survey, already has been told he'll have to take a pay cut next year to remain. Several other veterans, including Art Monk, Joe Jacoby, Jeff Bostic and Monte Coleman, may not be able to return.

The Redskins have tried to prepare by front-loading contracts this year. Several players signed contracts that drop in 1994 (Tim Johnson, for example, drops from $2.1 million this year to $1.5 million in 1994), but the Redskins still face problems.

They've got 12 players down for $1 million or more next year for a total of more than $16 million. That's more than half of their veteran cap money.

The Redskins figure to lose some players, but Casserly says they'll cope with the system and remain a top team.

"I still think it'll come down to the ability to coach players and scout players," Casserly said. "I think we'll be there in the playoffs at the end of the year and have a good team in the future."

It will be more difficult, though, for the Redskins to replaced injured players. They decided not to bid for Gary Zimmerman of the Minnesota Vikings when Jim Lachey went down last week. They're hoping Mo Elewonibi can do the job.

But next year, they couldn't even consider a Zimmerman.

Coach Richie Petitbon said: "That's going to be a nightmare. If what happened to us this week happened to us next year when you're right at the cap, how do you replace a Lachey? It's going to be tough."

Although the salary cap will make the teams more cost conscious, the free agency system that went with it increased the salaries for the top players.

As of July 30, there were 39 players whose contracts averaged $2 million or more. Last year, there were only 16. That doesn't even count such players as Banks and Johnson of the Redskins who'll make $2.1 million this year even though their contracts don't average $2 million.

Since the survey was conducted, Stan Humphries, the quarterback of the San Diego Chargers, signed a new deal for more than $3 million a year and a few holdouts, notably Emmitt Smith, will top that figure when they sign.

But Steve Young, the injured quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, figures to remain the highest-paid player in 1993. His five-year deal at an average of $5.35 million (including $5,750,000 this year) makes him the first player ever to make more than $5 million a season.

NOTES: Rookie Sterling Palmer suffered a knee sprain yesterday and although it's supposed to be minor, he joins three other defensive linemen -- Buck (ribs), Johnson (ribs) and Shane Collins (shoulder) -- on the sidelines. . . . Top draft pick Tom Carter practiced yesterday and will make his debut Sunday night in Pittsburgh. . . . Petitbon will close camp today.

SALARY BY POSITION

Average salaries include the average of all the base salaries for the length of the contract plus signing, roster and reporting bonuses, but not incentive bonuses (salary figures are in millions of dollars).

QUARTERBACKS

Steve Young, San Fran. ...... 5.350

John Elway, Denver .......... 4.775

Dan Marino, Miami ........... 4.200

Warren Moon, Houston ........ 3.563

Bobby Hebert, Atlanta ....... 3.467

RUNNING BACKS

Thurman Thomas, Buffalo ..... 3.375

Barry Sanders, Detroit ...... 1.790

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