Thanks to $18 million worth of salary cap sanctions from the NFL, the Washington Redskins had to make magic happen merely to sign a pair of bottom-tier offensive tackles and a relatively anonymous corner on the free-agent market.
But the good news is that all of this forced discipline in 2012 and 2013 means that when the 'Skins reach the 2014 offseason, they can quit the David Copperfield act.
CSN Washington's Rich Tandler estimates that Washington will enter next offseason with about $36 million under the cap and 48 players under contract.
That'll make it easy for the Redskins to navigate the open market while also re-signing their guys. And it's a big reason why they need to find a way to dig up the cash to keep Fred Davis around for one more year. If they can do that, they'll have survived these penalties with only having to throw DeAngelo Hall overboard.
At least eight key players are slated to become free agents after this season, a list that includes Brian Orakpo, London Fletcher, Josh Wilson, Josh Morgan, Santana Moss, Perry Riley, Rob Jackson and Reed Doughty. If they so choose, they can take care of those guys, extend Davis and add some talent from elsewhere.
They've been forced to be responsible, and as a result they're only on track to have two players with cap numbers that exceed $7 million and have absolutely no dead money from previous cuts carrying over to 2014.
For the sake of comparison, OvertheCap.com estimates that the Cowboys will be about $16 million over the cap entering the 2014 offseason, with the Giants and Eagles also having less money to spend than the 'Skins.
So there you go, Redskins fans. Short-term pain for long-term gains. Another reason why the future is bright and sunny for this team.