TO BE OR NOT TO BE?:

The internal debate remains in the ongoing saga of who will quarterback the Redskins in the 2002 season. A league source tells The Insiders that the organization continues to weigh their options on available quarterbacks, Drew Bledsoe and Mark Brunell. Members of the front office are coaching staff are believed to be split between these two quarterbacks and another thought is to trade up in the 2002 NFL Draft and select Joey Harrington.

The Texans and Redskins continue to be involved in ongoing discussions involving quarterback Danny Wuerffel.  The five-year veteran was the last of 19 players taken by Houston in last Monday's expansion draft, and Washington head coach Steve Spurrier, who coached Wuerffel at the University of Florida, may be willing to deal a very late-round pick to acquire the QB.
 
COMING AND GOING: When Steve Spurrier was hired, rumors were floated out in league circles that running back Stephen Davis would be available for the right price, a source close to the Redskins tells The Insiders.
 
Citing Spurrier's desire to obtain players to fit into this system and a huge salary cap clearance by moving Davis. Quietly Davis was put on the market. Interest was shown in the star running back, but the enormous cap hit the Redskins would suffer as well as the large salary the team trading for Davis would occur all have but sealed any movement of Davis.
 
Wanting to remain a Redskin, Davis is believed to be willing to work with the organization to keep him in a Redskins uniform for the remainder of his career.
 
WESTBROOK HITTING THE ROAD?: Michael Westbrook may be saying all the right things, but actions sometimes are larger than words.
 
Westbrook, a free agent has stated that he is open to remaining in Washington, but desires the opportunity to hit the open market. Once he hits the open market on March 1st, a clear path has been laid for him to visit Cleveland.
 
Wanting to play somewhere that a team will throw the ball and let him be a playmaker, Washington appears to be the best location in the nation with Spurrier at the helm. The Insiders have been told that with former Washington coach Terry Robiskie on the Cleveland staff, the Browns immediately have become the frontrunner in obtaining the services of the talented wide receiver.
 
"Terry Robiskie is the most influential person in Michael's football career and is a key figure in his life," a source tells The Insiders. "Michael credits Robiskie for turning his life around and pushing him to be the player and man that he is. Without the guidance from Robiskie, Michael probably wouldn't be in the NFL any longer. The two have talked throughout the year and Michael would like to be with Robiskie again."
 
Incidently, the Browns just happen to be looking to add speed, size, and experience at the wide receiver position.
 
IN OR OUT OF THE BUILDING?:  The situation in Baltimore involving quarterback Elvis Grbac, already a tenuous one at best, could take a turn for the worse in the coming days.
 
Sources close to Grbac tell The Insiders that the Ravens have asked Grbac to take a pay cut, not a simple restructure as has been reported.
 
Grbac is due a $6 million option bonus on March 2, which, if exercised, would trigger the final three years of the deal signed last offseason.  If, on March 2, the Ravens decide against exercising that option, the club is still obligated to pay the Cleveland native the entire $6 million.
 
Obviously, the Ravens will make a decision --either to release Grbac or convince his camp to take a pay cut -- before that date.
 
As of Friday, the Ravens had not submitted a formal proposal on the pay cut to Grbac's agents, although one is expected in the very near future.
 
Given his performance last season, Grbac would be amenable to a pay cut, but it's highly unlikely he would agree to anything drastic.
 
In a related note on Grbac if he's released, keep the Bengals in the back of your mind as a potential destination.  Grbac was close to reaching an agreement with Cincinnati, but chose to turn down more money to sign with the defending Super Bowl champions.
 
The sources say that Grbac would definitely have a renewed interest in the Bengals if he's released, and the Bengals, who will look to add yet another QB this offseason, would likely reciprocate.
 
NORTH-SIDE TIDBITS:  Punter Mitch Berger, released on Friday by the Vikings, may draw some interest from the Ravens now that he's on the free agent market.  Berger's former special teams coach in Minnesota, Gary Zauner, is now on the staff in Baltimore.  The Ravens' punter in 2001, Kyle Richardson, can become a free agent in the near future, although given Baltimore's cap situation it's uncertain whether or not they could afford Berger. ... Even if the Steelers lose linebacker Earl Holmes to free agency, it's unlikely they will have an interest in soon-to-be former Bills LB Sam Cowart.  One player they might be interested in, if Holmes bolts for more money, is Rams LB London Fletcher.
 
FREE OR NOT?:  The status of Saints guard Chris Naeole, which seems somewhat muddled at the moment, should come into focus in the coming days.
 
Mark Heligman, part of Naeole's representation team at SFX Sports in St. Louis, tells The Insiders that an unwritten agreement between their client and the Saints, reached last offseason, will allow the lineman to be an unrestricted free agent at some point before March 1.  The wink-wink agreement came about after Naeole agreed to restructure his contract to help the Saints' 2001 salary cap.
 
Naeole is due a roster bonus of $2 million on March 1, which Heligman says the Saints have said they will not exercise.  The agents have been told on at least two separate occasions that the roster bonus will not be picked up, so, barring a change in the organization's stance, Naeole will be a free agent shortly, most certainly within the next five days.
 
In addition to the roster bonus, Naeole is also scheduled to receive a base salary of $2 million and carry a cap figure of close to $5 million.
 
Naeole, taken in the first round of the 1997 draft by New Orleans following an All-American career at the University of Colorado, will be at or near the top of the free-agent guard class, vying for that spot with fellow interior linemen Steve McKinney and Mike Wahle.
 
LEAGUE-WIDE BAUBLES:  The Saints are desperately attempting to work out a deal with anyone in the NFL that would return some sort of draft pick in exchange for disgruntled offensive tackle Willie Roaf.  The problem New Orleans is running into is the fact that teams know he will be released by the club at some point before March 20.  On that date, Roaf is due a bonus of $4.25 million, which the Saints have no intention of paying.  Additionally, any team that trades for Roaf will be forced to take on his contract as well, which calls for base salaries that start at $1.825 million in 2002 and escalate to $5.2 million in 2006.  With Roaf coming off a serious injury, teams feel that they can grab the former Pro Bowl tackle at a much cheaper rate on the open market and would not have to put up with the headache of negotiating a new or restructured deal.  The Broncos and Chiefs have shown the most initial interest, sources close to Roaf tell The Insiders. Additionally, the Steelers and 49ers are high on Roaf's list of potential destinations, although it's uncertain at this point whether either team will consider signing the veteran. ... The Giants had better brace themselves for the reaction they get once they officially release linebacker Jessie Armstead, who is the club's defensive leader on the field and hugely popular in the locker room.  One member of New York's defense recently told The Insiders that "all hell would break loose in there [the locker room]" if Armstead were to be let go.  When Armstead is released, the move will save the Giants close to $1.3 million against the cap, which the club desperately needs as they currently stand approximately $10 million over the 2002 figure of $71.1 million. ... Word out of Kansas City is that the Chiefs will make a serious push to gain the services of linebacker Bill Romanowski, who was released earlier in the week by AFC West-rival Denver.  Chiefs defensive coordinator Greg Robinson for Romanowski's first five seasons with the Broncos and is already hard at work lobbying the club to make a play for the 14-year veteran. ... The Chargers are close to reaching an agreement on a multi-year contract with wide receiver/kick returner Tim Dwight. ... Following the 2002 season, wide receiver Kevin Johnson, coming off the first 1,000-yard receiving season of his career last season, can become an unrestricted free agent.  With that in mind, the Browns have begun talks with the receiver's representatives on a contract extension, The Insiders has learned, even going so far as making an initial offer.
However, a source close to Johnson says, the offer is not nearly enough and the three-year veteran is looking for a more lucrative long-term deal that includes more upfront money. While the source would not specify what type of money Johnson is looking for, it's thought that he will seek a signing bonus in the neighborhood of $8 to $10 million, while the Browns' have initially offered substantially less. Once this news reaches Philadelphia, expect trade rumors to come out of the city regarding the Browns potentially trading Johnson to the Eagles.  And, once you hear those, very quickly file in your mental wastebasket where they belong.

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