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Correction to This Article
In some editions, a March 23 Sports article about Washington Redskins wide receiver Rod Gardner incorrectly said that Gardner's total of 51 receptions last season was a career low. Gardner caught 46 passes in 2001.

Without an Extension, Gardner Is Hard to Move

By Nunyo Demasio
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 23, 2005; Page D02

The Washington Redskins' goal of trading wide receiver Rod Gardner has been delayed, sources familiar with the situation said, for the opposite reason that dealing wideout Laveranues Coles became protracted: Gardner has declined to reach an extension agreement with prospective bidders.

The fourth-year veteran is in the final season of his rookie contract (due to make about $2 million), thus teams have been reluctant to part with Washington's asking price of a third-round pick for a player not guaranteed to stay beyond the 2005 season.

Teams have been reluctant to part with Washington's asking price of a third-round pick for Rod Gardner. (Toni L. Sandys - The Washington Post)


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Nonetheless, several teams are interested. The front runners are the Cleveland Browns, Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks, sources said, while the San Francisco 49ers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are in the mix. And if one bidder slightly increases its offer -- or drops its extension requirement -- a trade is expected in the next several days.

Coles's trade to the New York Jets for Santana Moss this offseason initially collapsed after Coles demanded an extension despite a contract that didn't expire until 2010.

The Seahawks appear to be the likeliest trade partner partly because they have two fourth-round picks and two third-round picks. Yesterday, the Seahawks garnered a third-round compensatory pick for the 2005 draft.

Gardner was the 15th overall pick in the 2001 draft. Last year, he finished with 51 receptions for 650 yards. According to one source, Gardner felt hindered in Washington's 30th-ranked offense last season, and prefers to play out his contract with a new team in hopes of having a big year before becoming a free agent in 2006. Gardner's best season was in 2002: 71 catches for 1,006 yards plus eight touchdowns.

After last season, Gardner and the Redskins decided to part ways. Gardner's Miami-based agent, Joel Segal -- who didn't return calls yesterday -- has been given permission to find a trade partner.

Despite Gardner's refusal to agree to an extension, his impending departure appears to be helped by wide receiver Plaxico Burress signing with the New York Giants as an unrestricted free agent. Now, Gardner is considered the best available wideout on the market.

Coach Joe Gibbs has said that the Redskins are willing to keep Gardner if the team isn't satisfied with compensation. But Gibbs has conceded a preference to jettison Gardner, freeing up about $2 million in salary cap space by the April 23 draft.

Redskins Notes: Defensive end Courtney Brown, who is being courted by the Redskins, visited the Seahawks yesterday. Brown is expected to choose among the Denver Broncos, Jacksonville Jaguars, Redskins and Seahawks. Brown visited the Jaguars Monday, and although the visit reportedly went well, it is unclear whether Brown received an offer. The Redskins and Broncos are considered the leading candidates, and Broncos officials have told others in the league that the defensive end will choose them. . . .

According to sources familiar with Moss's extension negotiations, the former Jet will receive a multiyear contract averaging more than $5 million annually, plus guarantees of more than $10 million. Moss is scheduled to make about $450,000 this season. Last week, Moss's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, declined to comment until negotiations are complete. . . .

Linebacker LaVar Arrington's appearance at Redskins Park for the start of the offseason conditioning workouts this week has been noteworthy, especially since Arrington recently returned from his honeymoon. Last offseason, Arrington frustrated the coaching staff by missing several voluntary sessions. Tailback Clinton Portis was also among the players who turned out, which was roughly 90 percent of the roster. . . .

The Redskins weren't among the 14 teams that received compensatory picks for the 2005 draft. Yesterday, the NFL announced a total of 32 compensatory picks, awarded between the third and seventh rounds, and based on a complicated formula -- including minutes, salary and postseason awards -- for players lost through 2004 free agency. Although Washington lost Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey, he was traded for Portis before becoming a free agent. The Philadelphia Eagles and St. Louis Rams received the maximum of four picks.


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