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Deadlines Looming--Today's the Day

Deadlines Looming--Today's the Day

The clock is ticking on two critical deadlines, one of them hard, one of them self-imposed, that will shape the face of the Washington Redskins for 2006 and for years to come.

The one hard deadline comes at midnight tonight. If that hour passes and Laveranues Coles is still a Redskin, any cap relief the team would get from Coles' forgoing all or part of the $5 million installment he is due on his signing bonus on April 1 will not be credited until 2006. That doesn't mean that Coles will remain a Redskin; he could still be traded and the team could absorb the full cap hit. But that doesn't seem to be something that the Redskins are willing to do. From an article by Jody Foldesy in today's Washington Times:
A trade involving Washington Redskins wide receiver Laveranues Coles just might be back on. The New York Jets, the most likely partner, seemed to breathe life back into the potential deal yesterday by signaling some willingness to work with the respective parties on a swap.The "work with" the Jets now seem willing to do is to give Coles a restructured deal including some guaranteed money so that Coles could give back all or part of the $5 million.
Under terms previously discussed, the Redskins would receive speedy wideout Santana Moss in exchange for Coles. Moss then would receive a new contract from Washington.

However, the specifics of Coles' financial prospects remain uncertain. The Jets could give Coles a new pact as part of the deal, or they could pick up part or all of the $5 million Washington is due to pay Coles on April 1. That $5 million represents the final installment on Coles' original $13 million signing bonus. This will either happen today or it won't happen at all, although a trade of Coles for Moss, or some other player, could still happen if the Redskins are willing to eat the $6 million cap hit due to accelleration of cap hit of his original $13 million sigining bonus.

The Coles situation has been a roller-coaster ride since it was revealed eight days ago that he was unhappy with the Redskins and wanted out. It's been so confusing that the identical article carries two very different headlines on the Washington Post website Sunday night. First, it was this:
After Trade Fails, Coles's Release Appears More LikelyWithin a couple of hours, it was changed to this:
After Trade Fails, Coles's Return Appears More LikelyThat pretty well sums it up. Dan Daly has as good an explanation as any as to the nexus of the confusion:
Frankly, it isn't hard to envision a scenario in which Coles went to Snyder, expressed his willingness to forgo the last installment of his $13Â million signing bonus in exchange for his freedom, and the Redskins owner, imagining what he could do with that $5Â million, saying, "We might be agreeable to that." (He did, I'll just point out, give Deion Sanders a big signing bonus and let him walk after only a year.)

One can also envision Snyder running the idea by Gibbs, and Coach Joe, rightfully, saying, "What are you, crazy? We gave up the 13th pick in the draft for that guy. He caught 90 passes for us last season. We can't just give him away. We've got to get something in return." Speaking of confusion, this article is still up as of Tuesday morning in regards to the Redskins interest in former Tennessee cornerback Samari Rolle. From our good friend Len Pasquarelli at ESPN.com:
Rolle could nab $15M signing bonus from Redskins

Despite denials from team officials, the Washington Redskins are pursuing a deal with cornerback Samari Rolle, one of six veterans released last week by the Tennessee Titans in a bloody salary cap purge, and a player who is among the most coveted free agents in the league.

Several league sources here said that Rolle, a seven-year veteran with superb cover skills, could command a signing bonus of as much as $15 million given the spending habits of Washington owner Daniel Snyder and the team's need for a cornerback.However, both the Times article referenced above and a Post article by Nunyo Demasio say that a potential deal for Rolle is dead or, more accurately, every existed.
Meanwhile, reports of Washington's imminent signing of cornerback Samari Rolle are false, said several sources familiar with the situation. According to one club source, Rolle hasn't even been on Washington's list of free-agent targets, largely because of his asking price. One of the hottest rumors at the Indianapolis combine was Rolle going to Washington for a signing bonus of up to $15 million. (Gregg Williams, Washington's assistant head coach of defense, was Rolle's defensive coordinator at Tennessee for Rolle's first three NFL seasons. And Rolle is a former teammate of Redskins safeties coach Steve Jackson.) However, the misinformation was apparently spread to exploit owner Daniel Snyder's reputation for free spending while increasing Rolle's value in free agency. According to one NFL source, Rolle is scheduled to visit the Kansas City Chiefs on Wednesday.So, if we are to believe the local papers, we have ESPN.com's Lenny P. getting played like a fiddle by Rolle's camp in order to drive up his price. Stunning.

The other deadline comes at 4:00 PM today. That's the self-imposed deadline for getting tackle Chris Samuels' contract restructured to give the team relief from his 2005 salary cap hit, which is currently almost $10 million. The team could use the cap room to deal Coles without any cap relief or sign free agents, either those from other teams or their own such as Fred Smoot and Antonio Pierce.

A deal between Samuels and the Redskins has appeared to be done for the past several days and it's unclear what the holdup in finalizing it. It's possible that Samuels' agent is actually reading the contract before having his client sign it, something that Lavar Arrington's agents apparently failed to do when he signed his extension late in 2003.

Meanwhile, it appears that Smoot and Pierce will both enter the free agent market at midnight. There is a chance that both will return, with the odds on Pierce being better than those on Smoot. From the Times article:
Some NFL executives believe Pierce will take the Redskins' best offer and shop it at least a day in free agency, but yesterday Pierce said he hoped to be back.

"I'm very optimistic," Pierce said in a phone interview. "Things are looking positive." The fact that the team is not after Rolle makes it more likely that Smoot will be back, but that prospect is still quite problematic. From the Post article:
"Fred's desire is Washington, but there's a whole lot of fish out there in the sea," Smoot's agent, Bus Cooke, said Monday night. "We've had amicable talks with Mr. Snyder and Mr. Gibbs. We'll see how it plays out."

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Barry Trotz's departure reminiscent of Joe Gibbs' resignation in 1993

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Associated Press

Barry Trotz's departure reminiscent of Joe Gibbs' resignation in 1993

The sudden resignation of Barry Trotz as the coach of the Stanley Cup champion Capitals is the most stunning Washington coaching departure since Joe Gibbs retired from the Redskins about 13 months after the team won its third Super Bowl in a 10-year span. 

In the years leading up to Gibbs’ departure, there were some rumblings that he might leave. As early as 1986, John Madden said that Gibbs was a candidate to burn out of the profession early. During the 1989 season, Gibbs said that he was contemplating retirement, but he retracted his words the next day. In 1990, columnist and TV pregame panelist Will McDonough reported that Gibbs would retire after the season. Retirement rumors popped up again in early 1992, just two days before Super Bowl XXVI. Again, Gibbs denied them. The Redskins easily beat the Bills to claim their third championship in 10 years and there was no apparent reason why such a successful coach would think about leaving. 

Redskins fans had become so used to hearing the Gibbs retirement reports that many just started to tune them out. So on the morning of March 5, 1993, when reports of Gibbs’ resignation as coach started to circulate, many were in a state of denial.

That turned out to be wishful thinking. The fans were given a hard jolt of reality when the team announced a noon press conference. 

There the coach was on TV, as promised, confirming the news. He said it was a family decision. 

“Every year, we get away and talk about it,” Gibbs said. “We always reach the same conclusion. This year, it was different. The boys didn’t encourage me one way or another, but they understood when I told them what I was thinking. I think Pat’s happier than anyone. This isn’t an easy lifestyle for a coach’s wife. The coach is the guy who stands up and hears everyone tell him how great he is. The wife is the one waiting at home alone while the coach is spending every night at the office. 

“I wanted more time with my family. I wanted more time with my sons. I look at this as a window of opportunity with them and I couldn’t let it pass.” 

Although he has been diagnosed with a condition that has caused some pain and some difficulty in sleeping, Gibbs said that health was not a factor in his decision. 

Richie Petitbon, the team’s longtime defensive coordinator, was named the team’s new head coach. It had to be one of the shortest job interviews ever. 

“I get a call from Mr. Cooke who tells me Joe has retired and that he wants me to coach the Redskins,” Petitbon said. “After I picked myself up off the floor, I said yes.” 

After hearing the news, most Redskins fans had to pick themselves up as well.  

Petitbon lasted only one season as the head coach and the other eight head coaches who followed, including Gibbs himself in a four-year second stint, have been unable to get the Redskins back to the Super Bowl. Coincidentally, the Caps’ head coaching job is widely expected to go to Todd Reirden, who was Trotz’s top assistant just as Pettitbon was Gibbs’. 

Washington fans hope that the Caps have better fortune with Trotz’s successors. 

More Redskins

- 53-man roster: Roster projection--Offense
- 53-man roster: Best players 25 or younger

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

 

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Need to Know: Post-minicamp Redskins 53-man roster projection—Defense

Need to Know: Post-minicamp Redskins 53-man roster projection—Defense

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, June 19, 37 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

Redskins 53-man roster projection—Defense 

It may still be early to project the roster, but things are coming into focus after the round of practices in helmets and shorts. Here is my look at who I think will make it on defense; the offense was posted yesterday.

Defensive line (7)
Jonathan Allen, Da’Ron Payne, Matt Ioannidis, Anthony Lanier, Stacy McGee, Tim Settle, Ziggy Hood

I don’t think that McGee’s groin injury will be an issue, but it seemed that Jay Gruden was very tight-lipped about the whole thing, so we will have to wait until training camp starts. This is one more than they normally carry here and Hood’s presence on the roster could be in danger if injuries force the team to carry more players at another position. 

Outside linebacker (4)
Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, Ryan Anderson, Pernell McPhee

Anderson is certain to make the roster, but he was mostly invisible during the offseason practices that were open to the media. The spotlight will be on last year’s second-round pick in training camp. After a zero-sack rookie season, Anderson will be under pressure to produce this season. 

Inside linebacker (5)
Zach Brown, Mason Foster, Zach Vigil, Josh Harvey-Clemons, Shaun Dion Hamilton

The player I have on the wrong side of the bubble here is Martrell Spaight. If he does work his way on, the spot most in jeopardy is Vigil’s. Harvey-Clemons got a lot of reps with the first team in OTAs and the team thinks he can help in nickel situations and perhaps more. And Gruden called Hamilton a potential future starter. So the two younger players seem safe, leaving Vigil vulnerable.

Cornerback (6)
Josh Norman, Quinton Dunbar, Fabian Moreau, Orlando Scandrick, Josh Holsey, Greg Stroman

As is the case with the running backs that I looked at yesterday, this group seems to be pretty well set. It’s not that it’s an exceptionally strong group, but there isn’t a lot of real competition. Behind these six are three undrafted free agents, and while Danny Johnson, Kenny Ladler, and Ranthony Texada all have had flashes in the offseason practices, they are extreme long shots to make the roster at this point. 

Safety (4)
D.J. Swearinger, Montae Nicholson, Deshazor Everett, Troy Apke

If there are concerns about Nicholson’s health—to be clear, as of now there are none—Fish Smithson could make it as a fifth safety. 

Specialists (3)
K Dustin Hopkins, P Tress Way, LS Nick Sundberg

It looks like the Redskins will have the same trio of specialists for the fourth straight year. I will look it up at some point but for now, I’ll say that it’s been a while since they had such stability here. 


Defensive players: 26
Rookies (5): 
Payne, Settle, Hamilton, Stroman, Apke
New to the Redskins in 2018 (7): Rookies plus McPhee, Scandrick
Not on 2017 Week 1 roster (13): Rookies plus new players plus Vigil (released in the final cut, re-signed later in the season). 

On the 53-man roster:

24 offense, 26 defense, 3 specialists
Rookies: 8
New to the Redskins in 2017: 12
Not on 2017 Week 1 roster: 16

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

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Timeline  

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 37
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 51
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 74

The Redskins last played a game 170 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 82 days. 

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