Portis-Bailey deal could change things for Steeler

You have to give Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder his due - he certainly knows how to keep his team in the headlines.

Not content with just bringing in head coach Joe Gibbs and trading for Jacksonville quarterback Mark Brunell, the Redskins are again making headlines for a possible deal of cornerback Champ Bailey, the team's franchise player, and a second round draft pick to Denver for Pro Bowl running back Clinton Portis.

And who said player-for-player deals don't happen in the NFL any more?

OK, I have said it many times. But this kind of deal, if it occurs - and that's a big if - is one that would certainly have an effect on what several teams do in this offseason, most notably the Steelers.


First, trading Portis would put the Broncos in the market to acquire a young running back. Yeah, they still have Mike Anderson, Quentin Griffin and Ahmaad Galloway, but Mike Shanahan won't entrust his offense with any of those three. In fact, the 30-year-old Anderson could be released as a salary cap casualty.

And since the Redskins weren't thought to want to draft a running back - they were said to be the destination for Philadelphia unrestricted free agent Duce Staley - adding the Broncos to the list of teams who may select a running back in the first round might force the Steelers to take one with the 11th-overall pick if they want to get one of the top three or four guys in this year's class.

With the Redskins out of the Staley mix, it may lower his asking price into the Steelers' range, but that's still doubtful. The veteran runner will likely be looking for a deal of more than $2 million per season with a signing bonus of more than $5 million, which is more than the Steelers can afford to hand out at this point.

So if the Steelers felt they could take quarterback Phillip Rivers in the first round of the draft and still have a shot at, say Chris Perry or Greg Jones, in the second round, the odds just lowered.

But, if the Redskins are forced to hand over their second round pick, they will then be without their second and third-round picks in this year's draft, as they will send their third pick to the Jaguars March 3 in the Brunell deal.

That could open the door for the Steelers to swoop in and grab quarterback Patrick Ramsey from the Redskins for as little as a third-round pick.

Ramsey, the Redskins starter last season, is understandably upset Gibbs went out and acquired Brunell to be his starter and wants out of Washington.

And despite the fact the Redskins spent a No. 1 pick on him just a couple of years ago, they may be forced to let him go. Not only would they acquire a draft pick to recoup the ones they've already given up, but Ramsey's agent also represents other key Washington free agents and could make things tricky for the team down the road if they don't play ball with him now.

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