Trotter, Canidate, Fiore Cut
By Nunyo Demasio
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 2, 2004; Page D03
The Washington Redskins released middle linebacker Jeremiah Trotter, running back Trung Canidate and left guard Dave Fiore yesterday.
"It's always difficult anytime you have to release players that have helped the team out," Redskins Vice President Vinny Cerrato said. "But that's the cost of doing business in today's game."
The three veterans were let go as part of the Redskins' effort to lower their salary cap. Under NFL rules, teams could defer a portion of the salary cap hit until the 2005 season by waiting until after yesterday to release a player. The salary cap for the 2004 season is $80.5 million.
The moves give the Redskins $5 million in salary-cap space, but $3.1 million is allocated toward the 2004 rookie pool, which Washington must use to sign its four draft selections.
It takes 24 hours for players to clear waivers, considered a formality. Once the releases become official this afternoon, the Redskins will sign tight end Fred Baxter, 33, to a one-year deal, Cerrato said. The 6-foot-3, 268-pound Baxter played the past two seasons with the New England Patriots. Baxter is expected to back up Walter Rasby, the projected starter at tight end.
Although the Redskins still need a pass rusher on the defensive line, team officials say they will be cautious about signing any recently released players, especially since the crop of defensive ends is thin.
In cutting Trotter now, the Redskins save $2.7 million against this year's salary cap. The Redskins could have released Canidate and Fiore at any time without significant salary-cap ramifications. But the Redskins apparently cut them in anticipation of the team's third and final minicamp, which will be held from Friday to Sunday.
Canidate (foot) and Fiore (knee) had missed the first two minicamps because of injuries. NFL teams are prohibited from releasing injured players without reaching a settlement. However, an exception existed regarding Canidate and Fiore because their injuries occurred last year, Cerrato said.
The Redskins' decision to waive Canidate and Fiore was first reported yesterday by the Washington Times.
Trotter was the biggest name among Washington's released players. The former Philadelphia Eagle signed a seven-year, $36 million deal in 2002 after making the Pro Bowl. But he suffered a season-ending knee injury on Thanksgiving in 2002 against the Dallas Cowboys at Texas Stadium and never returned to form.
The New York Giants are interested in signing Trotter, according to a source, although the club is said to be split about the linebacker's value. Trotter could fill the void created by the departure of Mike Barrow, who has signed with the Redskins to replace Trotter.
Canidate led the Redskins in rushing last season with 600 yards in 11 games. But the shifty tailback lived up to his reputation as injury-prone after suffering a high ankle sprain. Canidate's future was sealed after Washington traded for Pro Bowl tailback Clinton Portis, who is expected to be backed up by Ladell Betts. Canidate -- whose release saves the Redskins $915,000 in cap space -- was acquired from St. Louis last year for reserve guard David Loverne and a fourth-round draft pick.
Fiore's NFL career has been in jeopardy since he missed 13 games last season because of knee troubles after starting the first three. The eight-year lineman, who has had multiple knee operations, was contemplating retirement before being released. Washington saved about $1 million by cutting Fiore.
Redskins Notes: Gene Upshaw, the executive director of the NFL Players Association, has met with linebacker LaVar Arrington and owner Daniel Snyder in the hopes that they reach a resolution over Arrington's grievance against the club, according to two sources with knowledge of the meeting. Arrington claims that the Redskins shortchanged him $6.5 million in an eight-year, $68 million contract extension. The case is headed for arbitration, but a hearing can't take place before the fall. Arrington could not be reached to comment; Snyder declined to comment through spokesman Karl Swanson.
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