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Sorting out the Coles situation

Sorting out the Coles situation

Instead of getting clearer, the situation involving the Redskins and receiver Laveranues Coles continues to grow more confusing. Even an NFL suit couldn't provide any clarity to the murky situation. From a Washington Times article by Jody Foldesy:
NFL vice president of public relations Greg Aiello couldn't say whether Coles would be permitted to waive the final installment of his $13 million signing bonus, an unusual move that would facilitate his departure from Washington.

'I have no answer to that question,' Aiello said in a telephone interview. 'That totally depends on what is being proposed.' There are two proposals out there. One is for Coles to waive the $5 million bonus installment and get his outright release. This is the one that Coles' camp favors. The other scenario, the one that the Redskins want to execute, is for Coles to forego the five mill and allow the team to trade him.

For Coles to agree to the latter scenario, he's almost have to agree to a new contract with his new team. That's the only way he could recoup the forfieted $5 million. In the open market, of course, he would be able to get that back and then some.

While the situation is murky, one thing is clear: Coles must agree to waive the $5 million bonus payment by the start of free agency on March 2 in order to have the cap relief count towards the 2005 season. March 2 is the drop-dead date for something to happen; that part is set in stone.

Well, sort of. An alternate plan, one that could buy some time, was discussed in Foldesy's article.
The Redskins and Coles, according to sources familiar with the talks, were discussing alternate scenarios to make the trade palatable. One option was to have Coles convert the $5 million into a roster bonus, which would have the same cap effect without a possible roadblock from the NFL Management Council.The thinking is that the Redskins could make the roster bonus due on, say, March 17, allowing the team more time to work out a trade. This would be an extremely high-risk gamble by the Redskins, however. If they can't move Coles they would be forced to cut him on the eve of the deadline or absorb an $8 million + cap hit for his 2005 services.

It's not clear why Coles would agree to such a scenario either. The big bucks are spent in the opening days of the free agent signing period. If he were to be set free two weeks into it, his choices, and the money that teams have to spend on him, would be limited.

Of course it baffles the mind of most logical folks why anyone would be so unhappy playing for a Hall of Fame coach who is known as a player's coach that the player would be willing to risk over $8 million dollars in salary and bonus in one year in order to get out. It makes even less sense when the coach had many very successful wide receivers play for him and the player has a bad toe on which he refuses to get surgery.

It appears now that Coles will not get his main wish, a complete release. It seems now that the Redskins were prepared to do that over the weekend but changed their minds, perhaps when Gibbs returned from Daytona. If that offer is off the table, Coles will have just two options, accept the trade scenario and hope to be able to redo his contract in the process or remain a Redskin.

Coles' value in a trade is hard to pin down. A lot would depend on whether or not the team that trades for him would have to give him a new contract with a new signing bonus. Should a team have to shell out a SB of, say, $8 million it would be inclined to give the Redskins less in compensation than it would if it got Coles for his current contract which has a 2005 salary of about $3 million and no cap consequenses should they decide to cut Coles at any time.

Bear in mind that it would not be disastrous for the team if Coles were to remain with the Redskins, be he happy or not. He was not happy for most of last year and still caught 90 passes. Ty Law vowed that he would never play for the Patriots again, a pledge that Coles has not taken in regards to the Redskins, when New England refused to redo his contract last year. Not all professional athletes--or people in any job--are happy with their current situations, but they go out and make the best of it. And if the employers are aware of the discontent, they will sometimes take measures to minimize that unhappiness. Surely Gibbs and company would make every effort to do so.

For the past 48 hours or so the thinking here is that Coles is a goner, a dead Skin walking. That view is evolving more towards the Coles is staying scenario. There is still a chance that he'll be gone before the end of next season but I'd say it's about 60/40 that he stays. Included in that 40% chance of departure is about a 2% chance he will get his outright release with the rest if it being some sort of trade.

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Redskins plan to 'spy' Cardinals' David Johnson with rookie Su'a Cravens, per source

Redskins plan to 'spy' Cardinals' David Johnson with rookie Su'a Cravens, per source

Facing one of the NFL's best running backs in Arizona's David Johnson, the Redskins plan to use rookie linebacker Su'a Cravens as a spy in nickel coverage to slow down the Cardinals' threat, per a source close to the team.

Johnson ranks third in the NFL with 921 rushing yards, but it's the variety of ways the Arizona offense uses their second-year running back that makes him so difficult to handle for opposing defenses. Johnson also has 55 catches for 613 yards, and that's just through 11 games.

Cravens comes into the game with momentum as perhaps the Redskins most dynamic defensive threat. With size to play linebacker and enough speed to play coverage, the 6-foot-1, 220 lbs. rookie out of USC will be put in a tough position covering Johnson. The reality of his assignment is to try and contain Johnson as the Cardinals offense is so reliant on the runner that he will get a number of chances.

In their last two games, Johnson has gone for more than 150 total yards in each contest and scored multiple touchdowns. For his part, Cravens has proved a playmaker in his rookie season. To go with 29 tackles in nine games, his stat sheet has sacks and an interception listed.

Getting to Carson Palmer is the best path for the Redskins defense - especially considering the Cardinals' offensive line woes - but using Cravens to try and limit Johnson is a smart course of action for the 'Skins.

One member of the Washington defense explained that Johnson is "going to make plays" but that the key is to limit the damage. If the running back catches a ball out of the backfield, Joe Barry's defense will be focused on making a stop after a five-yard gain, instead of a 20-yard gain.

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Redskins vs. Cardinals inactives: Reed out as expected

Redskins vs. Cardinals inactives: Reed out as expected

GLENDALE, AZ—As expected, the Redskins will be without star tight end Jordan Reed today against the Cardinals.

He is inactive due to a third-degree AC joint sprain in his left shoulder.

Reed gutted it out and played the second half on Thanksgiving Day in Dallas after being injured in the first but during the week he didn’t practice at all couldn’t regain the range of motion needed to play today.

Coach Jay Gruden said on Friday that the team is planning on having Reed play next week against the Eagles.

For this week, Vernon Davis will step into the starting role.

Also inactive is reserve defensive lineman Anthony Lanier, who was kicked in the lower leg in Dallas. Gruden said that the swelling was still too severe for him to be able to play.


The Redskins’ other inactive players today:

  • QB Nate Sudfeld
  • DL AJ Francis
  • RB Matt Jones
  • WR Rashad Ross
  • DB Dashaun Phillips