The Washington Redskins began free agency with $65 million in Salary Cap space just a few short weeks ago. The team was faced with several key questions about which direction they should go at the time. Their best two receivers signed contracts they couldn’t afford to match on day one of free agency. Their quarterback wants to be the top paid player in football so bad, that he’s willing to not only be the first quarterback to play a full season on the franchise tag, he’s willing to do it twice.

The media piled on during the process, as ‘sources’ eluded to the fact that “doom and gloom” was in full effect at Redskins Park, and everything was going to fail.

Seasoned Redskins fans generally know better than to believe the words of the “experts” when they discuss Washington in the offseason. But even some of them were sucked in by the “fake news” and media hype that has surrounded the franchise the past few weeks, especially since the moment they fired GM Scot McCloughan.

Free agency recap

The team has signed several key players along the way, including day one starting players; receiver Terrelle Pryor, safety DJ Swearinger, defensive lineman Stacy McGee and linebacker Zach Brown. As well as depth signings; defensive lineman Terrell McLain, receiver Brian Quick and linebacker Chris Carter. Not to mention re-signing running back Chris Thompson, tackles Ty Nsekhe and Vinston Painter, and coming to terms with tight end Vernon Davis.

The Redskins also placed the franchise tag on quarterback Kirk Cousins at $23.93 million for the 2017 season. While Cousins seems content to play for a second straight season on the tag, the team has until July 15th to come to terms with him on a long-term contract.

An old debt repaid in full

The Redskins had one other determining factor that caused their cap to decrease, the league made them pay back a deferred ‘loan’ from the 2011 season.

The loan was the byproduct of a program the NFL offered after the salary cap didn’t increase, following the offseason that included the lock-out. The league let teams borrow up to $3 million in salary cap space for 2011 and $1.5 million for 2012. The stipulation was that the 'borrowed' cap space would have to be repaid by 2017.

While it wasn’t any sort of penalty, having to pay back the $4.5 million was definitely a shot in the arm for Washington. After settling up with the league, the Redskins had $11,258,332 in salary cap space to work with. That of course, was before they signed the much needed Zach Brown on Monday.

Salary cap needs revision

According to sources, Brown’s contract is worth a maximum of $4.5 million, with a $500,000 signing bonus. It’s unknown exactly how much of that will count against the cap in 2017 until the full details of the contract come out. Although, a quick glance at the Brown contract numbers we do know, and the team’s current cap situation, will tell you that the Redskins need to create some cap space if they plan on making any more moves.

Washington will need to set aside about $2 million to sign their ten draft picks, and then another $5-$6 million to cover injuries for the 2017 season. Word has it that the team wants to extend right tackle Morgan Moses before his asking price goes through the roof next year. In order for that to happen, they most tweak their salary cap to fit his new deal, and fast.

The Redskins could create the additional space they need by re-working player deals such as safety DeAngelo Hall, who the team could save $4 million by restructuring/cutting.

Or letting go of other players, such as left guard Shawn Lauvao, who the team could save $3 million by releasing. Ultimately, the best way for the franchise to solve it's current money issues would be to sign Kirk Cousins to the long-term contract that up to this point, seems impossible for the two sides to agree on.