Redskins Sign Corner Harris
Former Colts, Bears Player Receives Three-Year Contract
By Nunyo Demasio
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 19, 2004; Page D03
The Washington Redskins yesterday acquired their second cornerback in less than 24 hours by signing Indianapolis Colts free agent Walt Harris, 29, to a three-year deal that includes incentives heavily based on his health.
Late Wednesday night, the Redskins signed New York Giants free agent Ralph Brown to a two-year deal worth $1.4 million, including a $250,000 signing bonus.
Harris received a $750,000 signing bonus, according to a source with knowledge of the deal, and can make another $1.5 million in bonuses if he stays healthy. Harris struggled in the second half of last season after developing tendinitis in his right knee.
Before his ailments, Harris was considered the Colts's top cover corner.
The transactions provide the depth at defensive back sought by Gregg Williams, the assistant head coach/defense, who uses multiple cornerbacks in his creative, aggressive schemes.
Brown and Harris are expected to compete for the nickel back spot held by Rashad Bauman. Washington's starting cornerbacks are Fred Smoot and Shawn Springs.
"All good teams need corners. We lost a great one," said Bauman. "If you can compete with Champ Bailey, you'll be all right. From what I hear, [Williams] uses four corners all the time. The competition is going to be exciting."
The extra cornerbacks are also insurance for Springs, who missed 13 games over the past three seasons because of injuries.
Harris, 5 feet 11 and 192 pounds, played his first six seasons with the Chicago Bears before joining the Colts in 2002.
Redskins Notes: Smoot, who becomes a free agent in 2005, has replaced agent Carl Poston with James Cook. . . . After giving a physical Wednesday to New York Giants defensive end Kenny Holmes, who underwent right knee surgery on Nov. 15, the Redskins did not make an offer, according to sources familiar with the situation.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company