We released Dan Wilkinson, regretfully. We attempted to restructure his contract. We felt that we offered a fair package that would enable him to get all his money. We just couldn't get it worked out with the agent. We would like to have done this earlier, but changing agents slowed all this down. But the door is open for him to come back, if he can't get what he's looking for. But this will give us the opportunity to look at the guys we've got and we're always looking to see if there's anyone out there to upgrade us.
We couldn't continue this any longer. We didn't need the distraction any longer. That's why we did it when we did it.
Q: Why was there such a strong need to redo his contract at this time?
A: You only have so much money and cap space. For us to be able to do the things we need to do in the future with other people's contracts, we could not afford to pay Dan Wilkinson 3 and a half million dollars.
Q: Was the parting amicable?
A: Oh yeah. Very good. It was fine. He realizes it's a business decision. Like we told Brig Owens, go out there and explore. If you can't get what you want, come on back.
Q: Could you put odds on it. Do you think he'll come back?
A: I haven't the faintest idea. There aren't a lot of teams with a lot of cap space. So there's always a possibility. But we're moving forward as if he's not here. It gives the opportunity for Greg Scott, Bernard Jackson, Bernard Holsey. Some of these guys, who have been here and working. We're trying to upgrade the run defense. Over the past five years we haven't been that good on run defense. We need to make some improvements in that area.
Q: Was he averse to taking any pay cut?
A: He wanted it easy to make his million five back. He wanted to be guaranteed he'd get his three and a half million dollars this year.
Q: How much was it his productivity?
A: That had a lot to do with it. He was the highest paid player on the team. And the production was part of it.
Q: Any deadline when you'd cut off the door for his return?
A: I would imagine he'll have a lot of offers and he'd want to get to a camp quickly. I would anticipate that he'll get plenty of offers because people are always looking for big people.
Q: Are we in the ballpark that the guarantee was around 2 and he wanted the 1.5 back?
A: Yes. We offered him two million on the base and 1.5 in incentives. The biggest disagreement was over the percentage of play time to get the 1.5 back. He wanted it very easy and we wanted him to play the average of what he played over the last five years.
Q: Will this becomea recurring situation becuase of the salary cap?
A: No. What this enables us to do is take this money and sign guys we have coming up.
Q: Like Champ and LaVar?
A: Champ is definitely in that category because he has the contract coming up.
Q: Is Haley the answer there?
A: That's what preseason is for, evaluate what you've got and watch the improvement of guys and watch the young guys who have been here and working every day in the offseason program who have improved and gotten bigger. That gives them the opportunity. There may be someone who becomes available. If there's someone available that would improve any part of our depth we would look at it. And would we give up a draft pick? Absolutely we would.
Q: Is there anyone out there now?
A: We have to be patient. There's nothing out there now. We want to feel comfortable with the guys we've got because we don't know what we have yet.
Cerrato on Wilkinson
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