Fred Smoot was suppoed to be one of the hot commidities when the NFL free agent market opened up last Wednesday. The Redskins have had a contract offer that includes a $10 million singing bonus on the table since last year. Smoot, and others, thought that he's be able to get considerably more up front from another team.
So far, however, he's waiting for the phone to ring. From Len Pasquarelli on ESPN.com:
Another player we love in free agency, and who appears to be generating just tepid interest in the first week of the signing period, is Washington cornerback Fred Smoot. The four-year veteran has become a topflight corner over the past two seasons and has grown up off the field, but isn't getting nearly the play some lesser cover guys have experienced in the opening days of the market. Smoot turned down an extension offer during the season that would have paid him a $10 million signing bonus. Lesser-known cornerback Anthony Henry of Cleveland got $10 million to sign as an unrestricted free agent in Dallas. Seattle's Ken Lucas received a $13 million to $14 million bonus when he signed Thursday with Carolina. Those deals, one would assume, should help establish the market for Smoot, but first there has to be a market for his services. Let's be clear: There is interest in Smoot but not yet to the level everyone felt there would be.
This begs the question: Why not? It's possible that Smoot has over estimated his market value. Markets can differ from year to year, but last season Shawn Springs signed with the Skins for a $10 million signing bonus. Springs is considered to be the Skins' number one corner, so why should Smoot think he's worth more?
Smoot has made it known that he would prefer to remain a Redskin and the team's $10 million offer is common knowledge. By making that offer know, Washington has set Smoot's market value and it's up to another team in increase it. So far, it appears that none are willing to do so and, as a general rule, prices go down as time goes on. Should be Redskins be in a hardball mood, they could deduct $100,000 from the signing bonus for each day that Smoot doesn't accept it. Not that such a thing would be a good idea for future happiness, mind you, but financially the Skins could probably get away with it.
It's far from certain that Smoot will end up returning to the Redskins, but as each day passes the chances of that happening improve.