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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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Redskins Draft Room Revealed: Who works the phones, and who makes the call

Redskins Draft Room Revealed: Who works the phones, and who makes the call

Since the dismissal of former general manager Scot McCloughan, there's been little question who was in charge at Redskins Park. Unofficially anyway. 

Bruce Allen is back running the show, if he ever stopped, and will be at the center of the Redskins draft room and decision making process.

For weeks, Allen and Jay Gruden made clear that the entire Redskins front office - from scouts to the top brass - have input on draft grades. Those grades will determine what players the 'Skins take, and the team is unlikely to deviate from their draft board. 

On Monday, however, Washington director of college scouting Scott Campbell addressed the media and explained that when a decision needs to be made, it will be Allen's call. 

From Campbell:

The way we have the room when the draft is ongoing is we have Eric Schaffer and Alex Santos are constantly calling teams above us. They’re taking the phone calls from the other teams – also behind [us]. A lot of times per Bruce’s instructions, he’ll say, ‘Hey, you take these five teams. You take the next five teams. Start making calls.’ And then we’re receiving calls too at the same time. Once they get that information, they’ll tell the table in the front and say, ‘Hey, we can trade back for this, we can trade up for that.’ It would be me and Bruce and Jay saying ‘No, no, we’ve got enough guys there’ or say ‘I like these guys,’ or like, “Hey, there’s guys there.’ So it’s kind of a discussion amongst the people, and most times it’s Bruce saying, ‘Just tell them we’re not interested,’ or he says, ‘Get the league on the phone. We’re going to make that trade.’”

Campbell's comments reveal quite a lot. To start, it's interesting to know the roles of Schaffer and Santos during the draft. Both men carry a lot of impact in the team's personnel selection. Also, and it was fairly obvious since McCloughan's firing, but Jay Gruden's role continues to increase.

The biggest tell, however, is that ultimately Bruce Allen makes the decisions. It's not a surprise, but it is important to know. Officially.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Redskins won't say if Joe Mixon is on their board but say character does count

Redskins won't say if Joe Mixon is on their board but say character does count

The Redskins may or may not have one of the most polarizing members of the 2017 draft class on their draft board. But they do believe that character counts.

Scott Campbell, the Redskins’ director of college scouting, would not say if  Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon, who is seen on video striking a woman and knocking her to the floor in an incident that occurred in July of 2014, is on the team’s board.

“We don't announce who's on and off the board for strategic reasons,” said Campbell on Monday at the team’s pre-draft news conference, saying that it’s the team’s policy.

He added that incidents like the one that Mixon was a part of do come into consideration.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 10.0

“Character is very important to me, it's very important to the Redskins,” said Campbell.

He explained that early in the scouting process, character issues are not taken into account.

“What I always told the scouts and how I was trained 30 years ago when I started is when you start to evaluate guys in the beginning, you don't factor in the character, you don't grade character, you grade talent,” said Campbell, who has been with the Redskins organization for 16 years. “You don't throw away somebody early who may have some redeeming quality or a part of the story you didn't know about.”

It’s later on that the scouts gather information on such incidents as problems with the law, failed drug tests, and other quarters of character.

MORE REDSKINS: Redskins mock 2.0 goes offense early, defense often 

“Our scouts do a great job getting a lot of information,” said Campbell. “Some of the incidents you brought up happened after the season, at the combine, and just a few days ago. All those things are factored into an evaluation as they are gathered.”

With that information at hand, they start the process of elimination, deciding who fits and who doesn’t.

“When it comes close to the draft, you start weeding out all that, getting more information, deciding, OK, that guy's not our kind of guy, that guy's not a Redskin, this guy could be drafted but good luck to them,” said Campbell.

It seems like much more of a gut feel type of process than anything rigid. There is not much of a clue there as to whether or not the team will consider bringing Mixon aboard, who is inarguably one of the most talented running backs in the draft. The upside is that Mixon could provide a jolt to the team’s offense. The downside would be an immediate public relations hit. The team also must consider what will happen if Mixon were to run afoul of the NFL’s domestic abuse policy in the future, which calls for a six-game suspension for a first offense with penalties getting progressively worse if problems persist.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.