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Redskins Set to Make Coles-Moss Trade

By Nunyo Demasio
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 5, 2005; Page E1

The intermittently on-and-off trade between the New York Jets and Washington Redskins has been finally completed, shipping unhappy wide receiver Laveranues Coles to his old team, the Jets, for wideout Santana Moss, sources familiar with the development said today.

The main obstacle had been Coles's request for a contract extension from the Jets, partly because he believed that he initially had an agreement with Washington to be released, making him a free agent. But after fruitless talks over the past several days, the Jets and Coles's agent, Roosevelt Barnes, apparently made enough headway.

Laveranues Coles and Santana Moss
Laveranues Coles and Santana Moss
The Redskins finally traded disgruntled receiver Laveranues Coles back to the New York Jets on Saturday and got the speedy Santana Moss in return. Both players are shown in this 2004 season photos released by the NFL. (AP Photo/NFL)

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Details on Coles's contract extension were unavailable this morning.

According to two sources, the only potential obstacles to the trade are the physicals both players must take. Last season, Coles played with an ailing big right toe and injured middle finger for the final 14 games. But Coles finished with a team-high and career-high 90 catches although he was displeased about a career-low 10.6 yards per catch. Coles declined Washington's recommendations to have surgery on the toe because he felt it was unnecessary.

According to a source, Moss is scheduled to have his physical Monday and a news conference is expected Tuesday at Redskins Park.

In the 5-foot-10, 185-pound Moss, the Redskins get an explosive wide receiver with speed who is also a dynamic punt returner. Moss, who has been injury prone, had his best season in 2003, finishing with 74 catches for 1,105 yards and 10 touchdowns. Last season, he had only 45 catches for 838 yards and uncharacteristically struggled as a punt returner.

"We're excited to have Santana Moss," Vice President Vinny Cerrato said today. "He's been a touchdown-maker and he has great speed."

The Jets and Redskins initially agreed in principle to the trade last week. But it collapsed when Washington gave New York permission to contact Coles for the first time. The Jets grew concerned when first told that Coles was against the trade without an extension.

On March 1, the Redskins reached an agreement on an extension for left tackle Chris Samuels, clearing the requisite room to absorb the massive salary-cap hit incurred by trading Coles.

After Coles and the Redskins agreed to part ways, a departure became complicated because Coles declined to forfeit a $5 million bonus due April 1, which would have made it easier to complete a trade.

After the trade initially fell through, Gibbs said called its revival "not very likely," and expressed a willingness to retain Coles. But the Jets and Coles' agents continued to talk, until reaching a compromise to complete the deal.

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