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DP: Skins nervous about slicing cap


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Skins nervous about slicing cap

Washington could have problems signing its own free agents, not to mention other free agents.


February 26 2006

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Washington Redskins are running out of time.

The club has six days to snip about $20 million off its salary cap, but it could be tricky given the status of negotiations regarding an extension of the NFL's collective bargaining agreement. Without an extension, the Redskins have to renegotiate several contracts to fit under the salary cap by Friday, which marks the official start of free agency.

Coach Joe Gibbs says the club has several contingency plans. He addressed the club's uncertainty regarding the CBA and the status of backup quarterback Patrick Ramsey on Saturday at the Indiana Convention Center during the NFL scouting combine.

"Right now, everybody is nervous," Gibbs said. "Certainly we're one of those teams. We have a worst-case scenario that we have been working on for several weeks, and we have a best-case and everything in between.

"We know what we're going to do and have our game plan ready."


Gibbs has given permission for Ramsey to seek a trade, but still hasn't held in-depth discussions with linebacker LaVar Arrington - who could count as much as $12 million against the cap - about renegotiating his deal.

Ramsey's situation could be difficult since the market for quarterbacks will be saturated once free agency starts. San Diego quarterback Drew Brees is a free agent. So are Detroit's Jeff Garcia and Cincinnati's Jon Kitna, among others.

"We've got a lot invested in Patrick, so (a trade is) going to have to make good sense to both sides," Gibbs said. "We're trying to gain information (and we're) letting them talk and visit (other teams). We'll see if there's a fit there."


Because of the difficulty in negotiations between the NFL and the union, many speculate that the deadline for a new CBA will be extended. That's what Gibbs would like to see in the short term. In the long term, for the sake of league-wide stability, Gibbs would like to see a new CBA.

"It's hugely important for all of us," he said. "We're just holding our breath. Let me say this: There's going to be some scurrying. There's going to be some plane flights, some contracts getting redone, a bunch of stuff for a lot of teams and a lot of players in the league (if the NFL and the players' union can't agree on a new CBA).

"I'd hate to go into free agency without something done," he added. "The other thing I'm hoping is for the date to be extended."


Free safety Sean Taylor is scheduled to go on trial March 20 for aggravated assault and misdemeanor assault charges. He faces up to 46 years in prison. Gibbs addressed the situation and is optimistic Taylor will be available for offseason workouts once the legal issues are resolved.

"We're just hoping everything works out," Gibbs said. "I think with (agent) Drew (Rosenhaus) and everybody down there handling that thing, hopefully he'll be well-represented."

Taylor was the only unexcused absentee last year from Washington's voluntary workout program and didn't return any of Gibbs' phone calls.

"We've had talks about that," Gibbs said. "I don't think there's any problem there. I think he wants to be there, and I think he kind of felt like last year was a mistake." «

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