SUNDAY MORNING MASSACRE

The ins & outs, ups & downs and back & forth of free agency involving the Redskins, the NFC East, and the rest of the National Football League.

Despite an interest by both sides in going Monty Hall and playing let's make a deal, the Bears and Redskins are no closer to consummating a deal for quarterback Shane Matthews.  The Redskins have offered a seventh-round pick in the 2002 draft, while the Bears are looking for at least a sixth-rounder, and possibly even a fifth, for the veteran QB.  Chicago's stance could change, however, as The Insiders has learned that the club is sniffing around free-agent QB Chris Chandler....
 
While those close to the Redskins insist that the club's interest in Jeff Blake is sincere, they are not bothered by the fact that it could be viewed by the Bears as a shot across the trade bow.  "If they think we're going to move in a different direction, maybe that'd be enough to drive Matthews' price down," said one Washington source....
 
Offensive tackle Roman Oben, released by the Browns earlier this month, is drawing some interest from the Redskins.  Cleveland ostensibly released Oben for salary-cap reasons, but, in reality, his finesse-style of blocking did not fit with the smash-mouth type of blockers that head coach Butch Davis is seemingly looking for on his line.  If signed by the Redskins, the team is considering moving Oben to guard....
 
Free-agent linebacker Shawn Barber, who is drawing interest from several teams across the league, will visit Cleveland in the very near future, with the meet-and-greet more than likely coming today....
 
The Redskins, particularly defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis, are extremely interested in safety Corey Harris, but figures to face stiff competition from several teams for the DB's services.  One of those teams expected to make a big run at Harris is Tennessee, who have spent the majority of this offseason looking at ways to solidify their defense up the middle.  Harris' agent has held extensive talks with Tennessee, but has yet to visit the club.
 
NFC EAST-SIDE TIDBITS:  The Giants are on the verge of losing Shaun Williams to free agency as the safety has visits scheduled with the Titans, Eagles and Broncos in the near future.  New York is tight up against the salary cap -- only an estimated $800,000 underneath the $71.1 million cap -- and will likely not be able to compete for Williams' services. ... The Eagles have an interesting decision to make by this Friday regarding their running back situation.  The team had a very positive visit with Warrick Dunn in the middle of last week and are extremely interested in signing the free-agent back.  The club's current starter, Duce Staley, is due a $500,000 roster bonus this Friday.  The Eagles would like a decision by Dunn no later than Thursday so that they can release Staley or trade him without paying the $500K bonus.
 


LEAGUE-WIDE BAUBLES:  According to a source within the Steelers front office, the organization has held discussions regarding the possibility of restructuring the contract of Kordell Stewart, but have yet to approach either the quarterback or his representatives.  Stewart would be willing to help the Steelers and their tight cap situation, but would only do a simple restructure.  A pay cut will not be considered by Stewart.  The good news for the QB, though, is that, if the Steelers do approach his camp, it's highly, highly unlikely that he would be asked to slash his compensation. ... 

The Falcons have an interest in Pittsburgh's Deshea Townsend, and may bring the nickel cornerback in for a visit at some point this coming week.  Townsend, an unrestricted free agent drawing precious little interest on the open market, received what he considered to be a low-ball offer last weekend from the Steelers. ...

Cardinals defensive back Corey Chavous is drawing interest from the Bills, not as a cornerback where he started 14 games last season, but as a safety. ...

Off
ensive tackle Roman Oben, released by the Browns earlier this month, is drawing some interest from the Redskins.  Oben was ostensibly released by Cleveland for salary-cap purposes, but, in reality, his finesse-style of blocking did not fit with the smash-mouth type of blockers that head coach Butch Davis is seemingly looking for on his line. ...

The Bills have re-signed center Bill Conaty to an undisclosed contract.  Head coach Gregg Williams has publicly raved about the lineman's toughness and leadership abilities, which led the club to make a serious push toward re-signing the veteran. ...

Free-agent guard Ray Brown has put out feelers to the Browns that he would like to sign with the organization, although, at this point, it's highly unlikely that Cleveland would reciprocate that interest.  Brown is 39-years-old and does not seem to fit the profile of what the Browns are looking for in free agency, but he is coming off the first Pro Bowl selection of his career. ...

While the Dolphins lost Kenny Mixon to free agency, they did retain one of their own UFAs as safety Brock Marion has reached an agreement on a five-year, $9.5 million contract.  The new deal, reached yesterday afternoon, will also include a $2.75 million signing bonus. ...

The Patriots have made signing a new tight end one of their top priorities this offseason, but have yet to make a contract offer to any of the "Big Three".  Ken Dilger, Freddie Jones and Byron Chamberlain have all been involved in talks and/or visits with New England, but the Patriots are attempting to get one of the trio on the cheap. ...

Yet another offensive lineman could become a cap casualty this week as the Bears may release starting offensive tackle Blake Brockermeyer before he's due a roster bonus in the coming days.  Brockermeyer's cap number -- nearly $5 million -- and the fact that he's bothered by knee problems has made the club deem him to be expendable.

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