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http://www.washingtontimes.com/sports/20030722-120450-8720r.htm

Bailey set to report on time despite contract situation

By Jody Foldesy

THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Washington Redskins cornerback Champ Bailey has decided to report to training camp on time this weekend despite concerns about entering the final year of his contract.

Bailey gave brief consideration to using a camp holdout to spark talk for a long-term extension, which to date has been nonexistent. Instead, he will report with the rest of the Redskins veterans and rookies on Sunday, in anticipation of Monday's start of practices at Redskin Park.

Holdouts are most common among high draft picks, but veterans also can employ such leverage. This offseason, for example, there was discussion in Philadelphia about possible holdouts by running back Duce Staley and cornerback Bobby Taylor (though neither now seems likely). And it isn't uncommon for a player with the franchise tag, like St. Louis tackle Orlando Pace or Seattle tackle Walter Jones this year, to hold out.

Bailey, after several conversations with agent Jack Reale in recent weeks, decided against the tactic. He reasoned that, at least right now, it doesn't fit with the image he is trying to maintain.

"Players have to do what they feel is best for themselves," Reale said yesterday by phone. "Champ likes to conduct himself in a certain way. He viewed staying away from camp as counterproductive, as not consistent with how he wants to be viewed by the Washington Redskins fans. So he's going to be in camp."

Bailey and Reale have been waiting all offseason for the Redskins to signal that they are ready to discuss a new deal. But there has been no movement, even though the Redskins' roster has been more or less set for two months.

Back in mid-May, when Washington was in offseason practices and it was clear Bailey's future was the next item of business, the cornerback put the onus on the club to make the next move.

"I signed [for] five [years], and whether [the Redskins] talk to me before or after [the deal expires], that's up to [them]," Bailey said at the time. "You run your business like you want to. I know what I signed, and I know I'm here for five years. If you want it to be longer, come talk to me. But if you don't, I'll be gone after five years."

It wouldn't make sense to sign Bailey after he hits the market, when he could command a signing bonus of $15 million to $20 million. However, there is increasing speculation that the Redskins won't seriously discuss an extension and instead plan to use the franchise tag to keep Bailey from becoming a free agent.

But it would be costly — in more ways than one — to use the tag. To start, franchising Bailey would require about $6 million of salary cap space. The move might be possible, but the typically aggressive Redskins would be very limited in what else they could do in free agency. Also hurting them in a franchise situation would be Bailey's frustration and a potentially damaging or distracting holdout.

Asked whether he believed the Redskins would use the tag, Reale replied, "I think it's a tool that a team may have under the system, but whether they use it depends on a number of factors. It depends on their cap situation, and it depends on whether it's the best use of their cap space. The franchise tag is not the most cost-efficient cap mechanism. A team has to make that decision."

Reale added that negotiations probably would have to come in the next few weeks or after the season. Bailey apparently does not want talks distracting him during the season, as they did at times last year with Redskins tackle Jon Jansen.

Asked when it would be appropriate to discuss an extension, Reale replied, "Before the season begins or after it ends. I think it has the potential to be a distraction during the season. There's no justification for not being able to get it done before [the season]."

Meanwhile, the Redskins have opened negotiations with this year's draft class and remain in line to have all three players signed before Sunday's reporting date, NFL sources said.

Second-round pick Taylor Jacobs is expected to get a five-year contract with similar numbers to fellow wide receiver Bethel Johnson, who was drafted one spot below him and signed this weekend with New England for $3.8 million with a $1.75 million bonus.

With Jacobs' agent, David Ware, busy trying to get top client Terrence Newman signed before Dallas opens camp Thursday, serious talks with Washington probably won't take place until later this week.

The Redskins' two other draft picks, offensive lineman Derrick Dockery and quarterback Gibran Hamdan, are more likely to complete deals in coming days. Dockery, Washington's third-round selection, should get a signing bonus in the neighborhood of $500,000, while seventh-round pick Hamdan figures to be offered a bonus of about $30,000.

A potential issue with Dockery and Hamdan could be the length of their contracts. Mid-to-late-round draft picks traditionally get three-year deals, but sources said the Redskins are considering four-year offers to both players in an effort to keep them from becoming restricted free agents after only three seasons.

Ironically, it was Washington's raiding of the restricted market this year (picking up four restricted free agents, including star wide receiver Laveranues Coles) that has prompted a number of clubs league-wide to push for four-year deals.

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Don't fret. When has Dan Snyder NOT signed a guy he wanted?

We heard this same song and dance last year with Jon Jansen.

Likely by October Champ will be as happy as a clam.

Course, no one knows for sure HOW happy a clam really is. Doesn't seem to me to be much of an existance, much less anything to be happy about... but if it works for them, who am I to knock it?

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I don't understand the train of thought that you HOLD OUT before your contract is up just to get negotiations going. He's under contract! To me that's like the team saying if he had a bad season they would not pay him for the next season until he agreed to a lower contract. It's not right.

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If they can get Big Daddy to restructure.....and then take care of the rookies. I think they should use every cent they have under the cap to give Champ a new deal. Put as much of it as you can into this year because Arrington is coming up and we cause use a lot of the space Bruce will be leaving behind to extend Lavar.

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I think the Big Daddy situation is exactly what is holding up extending Champ.

The Skins were ready to release him after June 1 earlier in the offseason. I think they had earmarked that money for Champ, but, the situation changed when we had to keep BD. If he restructures, I think you'll see a huge offer come Champ's way. Right now the Skins don't have the cap room to offer him a 15-20 million dollar signing bonus.

Think about it, if they sign him for 7 years and a $15 mill. bonus, even without his regular pay, that's over $2 mill a year. Right now, we're only about $2 mill under the cap and we still have to sign the draft picks. The 1st year monies for the picks won't be much, but we have to have atleast $3 mill. freed up for this season to extend Champ.

C'mon BD, take one for the team and restructure soon. I'd love to see Champ extended by the end of camp.

:D :cool:

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I was struck by that as well Larry. The "contract situation" is Champ is UNDER contract. He certainly never has been out and about hinting at a hold out. I can tell you exactly how this story got written. The Times called Reale to ask how negotiations were going. He said they weren't. They asked if Champ had considered a hold out and Reale said no, that's not the kind of image and player he is. Slow news day I guess :).

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He's under contract! To me that's like the team saying if he had a bad season they would not pay him for the next season until he agreed to a lower contract. It's not right.

But isn't that just about what's going on with Big Daddy ? I'm not a big fan of camp holdouts for bigger $$$ but let's be realistic here.

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Hmm BDW or Champ?

Guess we may be seeing a quicker guy manning the spot next to Noble if he doesnt restructure cuase we have to hang on to Champ.

Dont we get cap relief next year because of S Davis, D Green, Shade and probably B Smith?

That should give us enough room to redo Lavar's contract.

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I think that the main thing holding up the negotiations with Champ is the fact that we fired Joe Mendes. We need a guy to talk to him and that was normally Mendes. Now we've got a new guy in there to talk to him and so its possible for us to begin talking to him too. HOwever, there are now some things that we've got to get done frist like signing our rookies. Once thats done, we'll probably have just about a mil or so to work with champ on, so the next order of business will be to free up some more money to talk to champ with. Of corse we may begin talking to champ while we're talking to Wilkinson, being that champ will probably make the minimum base salary if he signs this offseason.

THe wheels are in motion on our contract negotitiations. They have just been moving pretty slowly because of the things that are going on with the Redskins right now.

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Originally posted by Brave

I don't understand the train of thought that you HOLD OUT before your contract is up just to get negotiations going. He's under contract! To me that's like the team saying if he had a bad season they would not pay him for the next season until he agreed to a lower contract. It's not right.

Couldn't agree with you more Brave.... that struck me as odd logic as well.

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it is in Bailey's interest to come in and have a great season regardless of what happens with the Redskins contract wise.

each game he produces great results increases his value vis a vis not only the Skins but other teams that may want to make him an offer next offseason.

there may be clubs willing to give up two #1 picks for him as compensation, who knows?

whether he will be designated an exclusive rights player or whether the Skins would let him negotiate with other clubs to set his price I don't know.

in any case holding out only hurt his own position for 2004.

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I agree that this is a non-news story.

But, one thing I don't understand, and probably never will since I don't negotiate for a living. Why on Earth hasn't the team at least felt out Champ and his agent about basic parameters (this may have been done, but let's take this article at face value)? Champ has all the cards here. He WILL get paid, if not by the Redskins, then by some other team. Why not just invite the agent out for dinner one night and ask "So, what are you thinking?" I don't see how this is ceding anything.

A possibility could be that the team has resigned itself to losing Champ. They'll slap the franchise tag on him and hope someone offers a bounty in trade. Not sure how I feel about this approach. I'd hate to see the team lose Champ, but I hate to see cap space sucked up like that, especially with Arrington and Samuels needing new deals. Short of a true franchise QB, I'm hesitant to have any player take up a large chunk of the cap.

As much as I like Champ, I don't know that he is worth it. He's a great CB, possibly the best in the game, but he's not Deion. Before I get tried for blasphemy, let me explain. Teams avoid Champ, realizing it's not a high % play to throw against him. OTOH, the thought of throwing at Deion scared the crap out of opposing teams. Champ prevents big plays from happening. Deion did that, but he also MADE big plays. I can't say that about Champ.

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Ya know, as much as we need to keep the already weakened D-line intact, I honestly can't see how on earth Keeping BDW is worth losing Bailey. Of course this is only credible if in fact it is the BDW situation that is holding up a contract extension for Champ. Seriously though. I would much rather have a weak D-line this year, extend Champ, and Beef up the D-line next year for what should be a HUGE YEAR for the team in 2004.

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As much as I like Champ, I don't know that he is worth it. He's a great CB, possibly the best in the game, but he's not Deion. Before I get tried for blasphemy, let me explain. Teams avoid Champ, realizing it's not a high % play to throw against him. OTOH, the thought of throwing at Deion scared the crap out of opposing teams. Champ prevents big plays from happening. Deion did that, but he also MADE big plays. I can't say that about Champ. [/b]

That is why Champ is often regarded as the best COVER corner in the game today, but not necessarily the best OVERALL corner. Teams do avoid throwing his way, which is great, but when you compare that to Deion in his prime, every pass thrown his way was a potential INT returned for a TD. Champ doesn't quite have that effect yet. Hey it could happen though, he is still getting better I'd say.

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He's under contract! To me that's like the team saying if he had a bad season they would not pay him for the next season until he agreed to a lower contract. It's not right.
But isn't that just about what's going on with Big Daddy ? I'm not a big fan of camp holdouts for bigger $$$ but let's be realistic here.

Yes, exactly. There's a lot of confusion about NFL contracts on this board and generally.

Maybe there's something in the Collective Bargaining Agreement that alters this analysis, but I am pretty sure this is the situation: NFL contracts are terminable at will, just like the vast majority of employment contracts. Your employer could fire you tomorrow. You could quit tomorrow. Same with the Skins, BDW, and Champ.

Your employer has the right to have you work for them, and you have the right to receive the salary (etc.) promised, unless and until one or the other party terminates the contract. (A minor wrinkle is that the employee doesn't have a "right" to hold out -- but that's a relatively minor breach before the season; a player's contract may obligate him to appear at training camp, or he might lose a bonus for not appearing, but that doesn't amount to much.)

So teams can cut/fire a player under contract; a player under contract can retire or take the season off (though he can't just go to another team, and might possibly have to give part of a bonus back if there was an explicit or implicit promise not to quit for a reasonable length of time in light of the bonus -- that was the gist of the issue w/ Deion). A team can threaten to -- and can -- fire a player if he doesn't agree to a pay cut. A player under contract can threaten to -- and can -- hold out if he doesn't get a pay increase.

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NoCalMike, I understand your argument there, but just analyze the situations.

Situation one is that you have a shut down corner who can cover any reciever in the league, hands down. Teams won't even throw it his way because they are horrified of him. As a result, this corner can easily take the opposing teams best reciever out of the game, which will weaken the opposition's passing game.

Sitation two is that you have a guy who can cover pretty well, but will get burned on occasion. This is the kind of corner that most teams have and you see a dominant reciever come in and have a field day against them. Sure they may get that one pick because they took a chance, but whats going to be remembered, the one pick or the 150 yards recieving by the opposing reciever?

Now I don't know about you, but situation one sounds nicer to me. Especially if we have other players on the defense who can create turnovers.

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The knock on Deion was his run support. He was not the CB to stuff the sweep many others - even little Pat Fisher.

In terms of coverage and his ability to change a game, well in his prime he was not just Prime Time - he was All-Time - the best ever.

That Champ is not Deion - well that's no sin ... he's better in run support but nobody, not even Champ, is anywhere close to Deion in both defensive (and game changing) pass coverage.

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Champ isn't a corner who causes teams to fear him. In fact, he's thrown at rather often because teams don't think he can pick the ball off and hurt them with it. He is an incredible cover corner and he doesn't give up a ton of plays, but, he's not a game changer. I don't know if it's broken down anywhere, but, I would bet Smoot got thrown at LESS frequently than Champ on the whole of the season. There were games where Smoot was never challenged. Bailey is often challenged and since he doesn't win big when challenged very often, teams aren't afraid of him. They respect him. They just don't fear him.

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