By Nunyo Demasio
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 5, 2005
The Washington Redskins yesterday reached an agreement on a six-year contract extension with wide receiver Santana Moss, ending his unofficial holdout. The former New York Jet was scheduled to fly into Washington last night from his Miami home. He is expected to sign the contract today before attending his first offseason workout since being traded in March for wideout Laveranues Coles.
Coach Joe Gibbs and Moss -- both of whom were unavailable yesterday -- will hold a news conference today at 1 p.m. at Redskins Park.
Moss's six-year deal totals about $31 million, sources said, with the first two seasons worth virtual guarantees of $11 million, including the signing bonus. The contract automatically voids the sixth year if Moss, 25, plays a minimum number of offensive snaps in any season between 2006 and 2010. Thus, sources said that the extension essentially is a five-year deal worth about $26 million.
Moss's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, finalized the deal yesterday at Redskins Park with owner Daniel Snyder.
Moss -- the 16th overall pick in the 2001 draft -- had been scheduled to become a free agent after a 2005 season salary of $540,000. Following an introductory news conference at Redskins Park on March 10, Moss didn't return for voluntary workouts because of his contract. Last month, Gibbs expressed his frustration at Moss's absence.
Moss (5 feet 10, 185 pounds) had his best season in 2003, finishing with 74 catches for 1,105 yards and 10 touchdowns. Last season, while suffering a sore hamstring, he had 45 catches for 838 yards and struggled as a punt returner. However, Moss averaged 18.6 yards per catch to go with a team-high five touchdowns.
Perhaps Moss's most impressive quality was his knack for making first downs: Moss turned 78 percent of his catches -- 35 of 45 -- into first downs. (Fifty-two of Coles's career-high 90 catches last season went for first downs.) Moss has career averages of 16 yards per catch and 11.9 yards per punt return.
The Redskins are expected to pair Moss with former New England Patriots wideout David Patten, who was signed in March to a five-year, $13 million deal that included a $3.5 million bonus. Like Moss, Patten is a smallish receiver who possesses explosive speed and is considered a big-play threat. The Redskins believe that the duo will help solve the team's inability to produce long passing plays. The Redskins mustered only four completions of 40 yards or longer last season. Washington's receivers managed only six touchdowns -- Coles had one -- while averaging 11.5 yards a catch.
Rosenhaus also represents safety Sean Taylor, who also has skipped the voluntary sessions because of his contract. Taylor is displeased with a seven-year, $18 million deal that can reach up to $40 million with incentives. Sources said that Rosenhaus has made progress in discussions about sweetening the deal. NFL rules prevent a rookie contract from being officially reworked for a year. In Taylor's case, nothing can be announced until Aug. 1.
Meantime, the Redskins released Tim Hasselbeck, granting the third-string quarterback his wish. The move was expected after the Redskins picked Auburn quarterback Jason Campbell 25th overall in last month's draft, giving the club four quarterbacks. Patrick Ramsey enters training camp as the starter with Mark Brunell as his backup after losing the starting job last season.
Hasselbeck -- who played the past two seasons in Washington -- apparently requested a release after meeting with Gibbs on April 26 at Redskins Park.
"As an organization we think the world of Tim and will honor his request to be released," Gibbs said in a statement. "We love what he did for us while he was here, and wish him all the best for his future."
When Hasselbeck joined the Redskins midway through the 2003 season, he had never played in an NFL regular season game. He took over for an injured Ramsey with five games left, and finished the season completing 53 percent of his passes for 1,102 yards and five touchdowns with seven interceptions.
"The knee-jerk reaction is to get upset about something," Hasselbeck said on April 26. "But the only way I know how to deal with this kind of stuff is to come in and work hard and trust that if you're a good-enough player, you'll end up getting an opportunity to play."
The Redskins also released wide receiver Jason Samples.