Jabar Gaffney, the Washington Redskins’ leading receiver in 2011, said Wednesday that the team plans to trade or release him and he has been told not to show up for the team’s offseason conditioning program in Ashburn.
Gaffney, a 10-year veteran who recorded 68 catches for 947 yards and five touchdowns last season, said Redskins General Manager Bruce Allen delivered the news to Gaffney’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, Friday. That was a day after a series of obscene messages directed at Gaffney’s wife and Oakland Raiders defensive back Lito Sheppard was unleashed on Gaffney’s Twitter account.
Gaffney has tweeted that his Twitter account was hacked.
“That wasn’t me. I’m a man. Taking to Twitter to handle business is childish,” Gaffney said in an interview Wednesday. “But it’s strange that I hear about this the day after that Twitter mess happened. They say it has been in the works for a couple weeks now, though. But it’s odd that I didn’t hear about it until the day after the Twitter.”
“I don’t know what happened,” he added. “Last year, I did everything I was asked, and ended up leading the receivers in every category. Leaving at the end of the season, I was their guy, and even after they made these deals to bring in [free agent wide receivers Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan ], I was told I was still in their plans. I just took the signings as moves to make our receiver unit deeper. This is all confusing to me.”
The Redskins, through senior vice president Tony Wyllie, declined to comment on the matter.
Gaffney said he was told that if the Redskins can’t find a trade partner, they will release him. Gaffney is due to earn $2.65 million in 2012, and the Redskins have less room under the salary cap after receiving a $36 million penalty over two seasons from the NFL for the way they restructured some player contracts in the uncapped 2010 offseason.
After learning of the salary cap hit, the team restructured center Will Montgomery’s contract, but hasn’t reworked any other deals. Gaffney said he hasn’t been told whether creating more room under the cap is the motivation behind the Redskins’ decision to move him.
“I don’t think that’s why,” Gaffney said. “I’ve never been a dude to ask for a whole ton of money. And there’s ways to rework deals if that’s what they need.”
Gaffney, whom Washington acquired last summer via trade, said he intended to play for the Redskins in 2012, even after the team signed Garcon and Morgan. He says he was set to report for the team’s voluntary offseason conditioning program, which started Monday.
Gaffney said while the news that the team is shopping him stings, he hopes to remain with the Redskins.
“I’m 100 percent on board with the Redskins,” he said. “I hope I can stay here. I just like the locker room, the direction we’re headed. I love the offense. This team traded for me last year, and I’m grateful for that, and want to build on last season.