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Redskins Plan No Additions Before Draft

By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 1, 2005; Page D03

Washington Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs said the team is not negotiating with free agents from outside the organization following defensive end Courtney Brown's decision to sign with Denver earlier this week, and has no plans to sign additional players before the April draft.

Gibbs, who is also president of the team, said the club continues to solicit offers for wide receiver Rod Gardner and confirmed that discussions have taken place with safety Sean Taylor, who fired his agent after signing with the club as a rookie last year and is seeking alterations to his contract.

The Redskins want to trade wideout Rod Gardner for a 3rd-round pick, but haven't found any takers. (Toni L. Sandys -- The Washington Post)

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Washington, which has not been as active in the free agent market this March as in recent years, is about $2 million under the salary cap. Gardner's likely departure for a draft pick would clear another $2 million. The Redskins could pursue free agents in June, however, when the next set of large-scale cuts occur.

Gibbs said the team has contacted no free agents recently and said he did not anticipate doing so in the near future.

Gibbs initially was hopeful that a deal for Gardner would be completed by now, expressing optimism about the degree of interest in the former first-round pick, but the market for him has been relatively stale, league sources said. While a handful of teams inquired about Gardner, the Redskins are seeking at least a third-round pick, and no one has been willing to offer as much to this point.

"I haven't seen any movement there," said one NFL personnel executive, who said the most likely time for a deal could be at the April 23-24 draft.

"Right now we can't find anything . . . we've not been able to work anything out with anybody," Gibbs said when asked about the prolonged nature of trade talks for Gardner. Gardner asked for a trade at the end of last season and was granted permission to speak to other teams. He has one year left on his contract and some teams would want him to sign an extension before acquiring his services.

Taylor, who had a strong rookie season on the field but a turbulent one off it, expressed displeasure with his six-year deal (the seventh year can be voided), worth a maximum of $40 million, shortly after signing it last summer, and swiftly rehired agent Drew Rosenhaus, but by rule had to wait at least a year before any renegotiation could take place. Gibbs said the Redskins have been willing to listen to Taylor's concerns.

"We've had some meetings and stuff with him," Gibbs said, "just trying to work through some things. We've had some meetings there. . . . But he's got a contract, and we're all set there for a bunch of years, so we're in good shape there."

Notes: Gibbs said the team has been pleased with the progress of its injured players, including star linebacker LaVar Arrington, whose knee had been a concern . . . . The Redskins will hold a workout today for 50 draft-eligible prospects who either attended high school or college in the area to evaluate them before the April draft. . . . The 2005 NFL schedule will be released on April 13.

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