WASHINGTON – The cash-strapped Washington Redskins agreed to deals to bring back four players Saturday, the first in an expected flurry of comings and goings as the team scrambles to get under the salary cap because of a league-imposed penalty.
Left guard Kory Lichtensteiger agreed to a five-year contract, fullback Darrel Young and tight end Logan Paulsen each got three-year deals, and linebacker Rob Jackson also reached terms to remain with the reigning NFC East champs.
All four were set to become free agents on Tuesday, but the team waited as long as it could to begin serious negotiations while it tried to find ways to fight an impending $18 million salary cap sanction. The penalty was imposed when the NFL decided that the Redskins threatened the league's competitive balance by overspending during the 2010 uncapped year.
The Redskins haven't been able to get the penalty overturned, so they will have to either cut players or restructure contracts — they'll likely do both — to get under the cap by the deadline at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Lichtensteiger started all 16 games at left guard for the Redskins last season, returning from major knee surgery the year before. He was part of a line that helped Alfred Morris set a franchise rushing record as the team won the NFC East for the first time since 1999.
Lichtensteiger's comeback performance earned him the team's Ed Block Courage Award, and he was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next week.
Young, Paulsen and Jackson would have become restricted free agents. Young will receive a $1 million signing bonus in a contract with a maximum value of $6.2 million.
Young and Paulsen were undrafted and have spent three years in Washington. Primarily a blocker for tailback Alfred Morris, Young rushed 14 times for 60 yards last year. He also caught eight passes for 109 yards and two touchdowns.
Paulsen started 10 regular season games in 2012, catching a career-high 25 passes for 308 yards and one touchdown. He also caught a touchdown pass in the Redskins' playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
Jackson, a seventh-round draft pick by the Redskins in 2008, started 14 games last year and had 4½ sacks filling in for injured outside linebacker Brian Orakpo.
Follow Joseph White on Twitter: http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP