Kory Lichtensteiger has likely played his final down as a member of the Washington Redskins. It seems likely that the team will make him a cap casualty in the offseason.
Once upon a time, Kory Lichtensteiger was a decent starting center for the Washington Redskins. After being claimed off of waivers in 2011, he went on to be a key member of their starting offensive line. However, in the past couple of seasons, Lichtensteiger has dealt with injuries and ineffective play, and his time as a Redskin is likely up. This offseason, it seems nearly certain that the Redskins will part ways with their former starter for a myriad of reasons.
The first is that the team has found a better starting center in Spencer Long. After Lichtensteiger began the season as the starter, Long came in and did a solid job. He was certainly an upgrade over the veteran. Long definitely seems to be the long term option, and the team may choose to stick with solid backup John Sullivan as well. Sullivan is a free agent, but the team could attempt to re-sign him.
The other major factor in Lichtensteiger’s potential release is his cap number. He is entering the final season of a five year, $17.5 million contract, and he is slated to count $4.05 million against the cap. That is a number that the team cannot afford to pay, solely because of Lichtensteiger’s current lack of talent. If they release him, they will save roughly $3.5 million in cap room, as $550,000 of the deal has already been paid as part of the signing bonus.
However, there is one catch. In order to do this, Lichtensteiger would have to be a post-June 1 cut. This is due to the way the league’s salary system works, and if you want more info on the designation, check out this piece by Over The Cap’s Jason Fitzgerald. Essentially, teams can designate two players as post-June 1 cuts prior to free agency to open up more space. If the Redskins are looking to be active in free agency, then they will almost certainly do this with Lichtensteiger.
The only way that Lichtensteiger can avoid this fate is by retiring. Frankly, the 32-year-old center does not have much left in the tank. He is best served to call it quits and move onto the next chapter of his life. It just seems unlikely that he will find work in the NFL again. It would be nice to see him retire in a Redskins uniform anyway, so that will definitely be something to watch this offseason.