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Rich Tandler is the author of Gut Check, The Complete History of Coach Joe Gibbs' Washington Redskins.
The first Redskin designated as the franchise player was linebacker Wilbur Marshall, who was traded to Houston for a third-round draft pick. Then there was defensive tackle Sean Gilbert, who sat out a year with the tag before going to Carolina (at least the Skins got better compensation for him, two first-round picks). After that it was Stephen Davis who received the kiss of death; he did stick around two seasons after being tagged before being waived. Finally, a year ago, Champ Bailey was the team's franchise player for about 15 minutes before being shipped to Denver for Clinton Portis.
Now, however, there is another class of players whose departure is guaranteed, those who declare themselves "Redskins for Life" or give some other oath of allegiance to the team when approaching their free agency period. The implication is that they will grant a substantial home town discount to the Redskins because they love playing here so much.
The first one to talk this way was defensive tackle Daryl Gardener. The Redskins virtually rescued him off of the trash heap in 2002 and he responded with a Pro-Bowl calibre season. After vowing to return, he took a little more money to go with Denver.
Now we have Antonio Pierce, who said as recently as last week that he wanted to return to Washington. Instead, he signed with the Giants. From the Washington Post:
Pierce signed a six-year, $26 million contract yesterday, but kept his promise of providing the Redskins an opportunity to match New York's offer. The Redskins felt that the deal -- which included a $6.5 million signing bonus -- was too expensive and would damage their offseason plans even more.So much for that.
Actually, there are conflicting reports as to how close the Redskins were willing to come to the Giants' offer. From that same Post article by Nunyo Demasio:
According to a source with knowledge of negotiations, the Redskins declined to go any further than offering Pierce a $3.5 million bonus. Pierce did not return messages seeking comment yesterday.This differs significatnly from the account offered by David Elfin in the Washington Times:
Although coach Joe Gibbs said the Redskins couldn't meet Pierce's contract demands, a club source said Washington matched almost all of the Giants' six-year, $26 million deal, including a $6.5 million signing bonus, but offered less during the first two years.Don't construe any this, by the way, as criticism of any of the players for deciding to take the money. Their careers are short and most of them have just one chance for a big payday. Far be it from me to say that they should take a million or two less here and there in order to stay in Washington.
The flip side of that coin is that the players need to forgive us if we are quite skeptical of their nice-sounding pronouncements of undying devoution to the Burgundy and Gold.
Coles for Moss Talks Revived
It appears that the Coles for Moss swap is still alive, if only slightly. It began to show a weak pulse yesterday, according to several new sources including Newsday.com :
But talks aimed at swapping fourth-year receiver Santana Moss for Coles remained alive yesterday, and there is a decent chance the teams will be able to make the deal. The Jets have kept in contact with the Redskins, as well as Coles' agent, Roosevelt Barnes, since the talks heated up last Friday at the NFL scouting combine.It's not clear whether or not the Redskins are going to insist that Coles pay back any of his original $13 million signing bonus as a condition for letting the unhappy wideout go to another team. Regardless, any cap relief that would come from such a move would not come until next year per NFL rules. So the 2005 cap impact of Coles' departure is now fixed. For the exact numbers, I turn to PC, the redsident capologist at WarpathInsiders.com:
The discussions have bogged down, mostly over Coles' insistence that the Jets give him a new contract. At one point Saturday, Redskins coach Joe Gibbs said he considered it 'not very likely' that a deal would be consummated.
But talks continued yesterday between Barnes and the Jets.
Right now Coles counts $3.357m against the cap, made up of $1.5m in base salary, and $1.857m in 2005 prorated signing bonus If Coles is traded we add the other 4 years oustanding SB prorations against the cap $7.428m (thats 4 x $1.857m) then we deduct Coles base salary $1.5m. That means that the net effect on the cap above what he's counting right now is an additional $5.928mIn taking the $6 million hit this year, the Redskins will clear Coles' $7 million cap hit for next year even if there is no payback of Coles' original signing bonus.
The Skins currently have around $7.2m under the cap (a REAL rough stab at present) after the Patten signing, so we cover that extra $5.928m hit for Coles.
Still, it's difficult to imagine the Redskins making this move unless they are very concerned about Coles' health, particularly his injured toe. Coles refuses to get surgery on it, a move that the Redskins seem to believe is necessary if it is ever going to be near 100%.
From Coles' point of view, it appears that he is wary of playing for just $1.5 million next year and being in a position where the Jets could cut him at any time with no bonus accelleration to worry about.
Patten to Skins Old News Here
This isn't just yesterday's news, it's news from a week and a half ago.
From the Washington Post:
You may be saying to yourself, "Patten to the Skins, Patten to the Skins, where did I hear that before? In fact, where was the one and only place I heard that suggested before?"
Details of the Patten deal were not disclosed.
Wide receiver David Patten, a free agent from the New England Patriots, agreed to terms with the Washington Redskins this afternoon at Redskins Park, a club source said, and a press conference has been scheduled for tomorrow.
Why, it was right here at the blog, of course. From the entry posted on February 19, before there was even the first report of Coles being unhappy, there was this:
Clearly, since the team has announced that it is seeking to trade Rod Gardner, receiver would have to be considered a need. With Muhammad and Burress apparently out of the picture, who does that leave? Perhaps David Patten could be persuaded to leave the Patriots and give the Redskins a solid, blue-collar performer who could be had for a blue-collar price.Obviously, I like the signing, assuming that the blue-collar price part comes to pass as well. All is wish is that somebody would start patting me on the back so that I don't have to do it myself all the time.
Just kidding, I'll find a way to remain humble!