Rod Gardner may not be running from town after all.
After the dust settled following the NFL draft, the Redskins had not selected a wide receiver. They also had not disposed of one. More than three months after telling Gardner he was free to seek a trade and making it clear that the receiver is not in the team's 2005 plans, Joe Gibbs and the Redskins were unable to swing a deal to send Gardner to another team. With another sticky wicket to deal with, Gibbs said:
We're trying to craft what we think, going forward, is best for the team and for Rod."In that order," Gibbs no doubt was thinking but left unsaid.
Gardner's agent Joel Segal was realistic about the situation. Explaining why Gardner was still a Redskin, he said:
The lack of a trade right now is a combination of three things: Number one, compensation, differences of opinion. Number two, the player has a one-year contract left. That's tantamount to renting Rod. Some clubs don't want to pay a large sum to rent a player for one year. And third, value is always more to the club you're with than another club.Oh, and one more reason, added Gibbs:
He has a contract.So will Gardner be a Redskin when training camp rolls around? That remains to be seen. It doesn't appear that Gibbs wants to let Gardner, a 2001 first-round draft pick, go without any compensation. However, as long as he's on the roster the Redskins can't take advantage of the $2.1 million in cap savings that cutting or trading him would bring, money that the Redskins could use to sign a their draft picks or bring in a player following the June 1 cuts. In case you're wondering, the Redskins gain no advantage by waiting until after June 1 to trade or cut Gardner as he is in the last year of his contract and his allocated bonus charge will remain regardless of when he's cut.
One possible destination for Gardner is Tampa Bay. They failed to get a top-shelf receiver in the draft and are looking for a veteran wideout. From an article on FoxSports.com:
The Bucs picked up a couple of intriguing wide receiver prospects in Brackins and Paris Warren but still lack quality, depth and experience at the position. The team still might try to work a deal for a veteran such as Rod Gardner before the start of training camp.Will he stay or will he go? Just like you don't know if Gardner's going to catch a soft spiral to him when he's wide open (after he just made a spectacular, diving catch), it remains to be seen.