No surprises in free agent pursuit, Coach Mike Shanahan says

Mike ShanahanThe Redskins encountered “no surprises” in free agency because they knew before the market opened that they would have to absorb the remaining $18 million of their two-year, $36 million salary cap penalty, Coach Mike Shanahan said Wednesday.

Shanahan, speaking at the NFC coaches’ breakfast at the annual league meeting in Phoenix, said he feels good about what the team accomplished in free agency, given its salary cap constraints.

He confirmed that the team had two meetings in the past month or so with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and other league officials about the salary cap case. Shanahan said that each side heard the other’s position on the matter, although those positions were substantially different. Goodell said earlier this week he’d told the Redskins that the penalty would not be reduced.

“It’s definitely a challenge,” Shanahan said of the mix of high expectations that the team has, coming off an NFC East title, with its salary cap constraints. But Shanahan said high expectations are welcome.

The Redskins’ rivalry with the New York Giants has been intensified in his mind, Shanahan said, by the salary cap case. Giants owner John Mara is the chairman of the owners’ labor negotiating committee, which dealt with the issue along with Goodell. But Shanahan said he’s not sure if the same is true of Redskins players.

Shanahan said he’s had no conversations with the team to this point about a contract extension. His original five-year deal with the Redskins has two seasons left on it.

He did not rule out re-signing cornerback DeAngelo Hall, who was released by the team before free agency. But that comment by Shanahan was made before the team officially completed a deal with free agent cornerback E.J. Biggers.

Shanahan said “we’ll see” on the possibility of re-signing free agent tight end Fred Davis. The team met this week in Phoenix with Davis’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, without a resolution.

The Redskins will have a competition for the starting job at right tackle, Shanahan said, after re-signing Tyler Polumbus and adding Tony Pashos and Jeremy Trueblood.

“The best guy plays,” Shanahan said.

The team, according to Shanahan, never reduced its contract offer to departed free agent Lorenzo Alexander, as Alexander said publicly just after signing with the Arizona Cardinals.

Shanahan did not specify how extensively he expects safety Brandon Meriweather to participate in the team’s offseason practices. Meriweather, who played only one game this past season because of a series of knee injuries,The main issue, Shanahan said, is having Meriweather ready for the season.

Defensive end Adam Carriker suffered a setback in his rehabilitation, said Shanahan, who added he remains hopeful that Carriker will be ready for the season.

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