By Jason La Canfora Howard Bryant
Thursday, March 9, 2006
The Washington Redskins are close to reaching an agreement with running back Rock Cartwright, according to a source with knowledge of the situation, preventing him from becoming an unrestricted free agent.
Cartwright is popular among players and coaches for his attitude and work ethic, and he is a key contributor on special teams.
The Redskins have been negotiating with their other potential free agents as well: starting safety Ryan Clark, starting tight end Robert Royal and versatile defensive lineman Demetric Evans -- but have been constrained by the uncertainty surrounding the league's collective bargaining agreement and salary cap totals.
Coach Joe Gibbs has gone out of his way to praise Cartwright as a "core Redskin" on numerous occasions, and the team would very like to retain Clark, Evans and Royal as well. With the owners' vote to extend the collective bargaining agreement, Washington's cap situation improves greatly from $94.5 million to about $102 million.
Cartwright, 26, was drafted in the sixth round of the 2002 draft. He provided strong support in 2005, running nine times for 118 yards, including a 52-yard carry in a Dec. 4 victory at St. Louis. For the season, he rushed 27 times for 199 yards for a 7.4 average.Clemons Gets Offer
Linebacker Chris Clemons, who played ahead of the departed LaVar Arrington in some situations last season, received a qualifying offer from the Redskins yesterday, his agent said, making him a restricted free agent. Washington has the right to match any offer, and receive draft pick compensation should Clemons depart. Cornerback Ade Jimoh and guard Derrick Dockery are restricted free agents as well.Marshall Recovering
Middle linebacker Lemar Marshall said he is recovering from surgery on his left shoulder, which he said he injured in the final game of the regular season, a 31-20 win at Philadelphia. He said he was hurt prying loose a fumble that teammate Sean Taylor recovered and returned for a touchdown.
"That's how it worked," Marshall said, laughing. "He got the touchdown and I got hurt."
Marshall has been working out at Redskins Park a couple of days a week and said he didn't expect to miss any time when team workouts begin.Restructuring Status
With the approval of a new collective bargaining agreement, the 12 players who restructured their contracts with the Redskins now revert back to their status when last season ended. The round of restructuring was implemented in the event that the league and players' union could not come to an agreement and the 2006 salary cap was set at $94.5 million.
Ken Landphere, the agent for James Thrash, said the reserve wide receiver was not among the Redskins who were asked to restructure. Thrash earned $665,000 last year with a $125,000 signing bonus and is scheduled to earn $1.1 million in 2006.
Wide receiver David Patten said the same. Patten signed a five-year,$13.5 million deal with a $3.5 million signing bonus. "They didn't come to me," Patten said. "And I didn't volunteer. Would you volunteer to give your money back?"
Defensive end Phillip Daniels's cap hit for 2006 was is now $2.6 million. Before the new deal, Daniels was one of the Redskins who restructured. He echoed the same theme of many of the players, after the Redskins ended the season a game away from the NFC championship game.
"I restructured my deal to help the team," Daniels said. "I think a lot of guys are doing it because it is so important that we keep what we had last year going. I think a lot of guys did it because of what we did and we wanted to keep that momentum going."