By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
The Washington Redskins wrapped up a dizzying three days of acquisitions last night when defensive end Andre Carter agreed to terms with the team, joining safety Adam Archuleta, wide receivers Antwaan Randle El and Brandon Lloyd and tight end Christian Fauria.
All the moves have come since free agency opened at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, with Randle El, Lloyd and Archuleta introduced yesterday in a succession of news conferences while negotiations with Carter were completed.
"It's an exciting day for us," Coach Joe Gibbs said at the start of the first of three news conferences. "For the coaches, all Redskins fans, and for everybody from [owner Daniel Snyder] on down in the front office, it's an exciting day."
The club has addressed most of its major needs with a flurry of hefty contracts, with Archuleta, Randle El and Carter each set to earn about a maximum of $30 million over six years, according to sources with knowledge of the situation, with Carter's deal expected to include at least $10 million in guaranteed money, like the others. Archuleta's contract, for example, includes a $5 million signing bonus with $1 million in option bonuses each year for five years, according to a source, allowing for a manageable cap number.
Fauria, 34, signed a smaller, short-term deal and Lloyd, who came in a trade, has yet to finalize a contract extension with the team, but several agents said they anticipate his deal will ultimately rival Randle El's. The Redskins used their standard contract approach, according to sources, with large signing bonuses, veteran minimum base salaries in the first two years of the contract and huge base salaries in the latter years of the deal, when players are usually released or have their contracts restructured.
Carter, 26, whose father, Rubin, is a former position coach with the Redskins, was selected seventh overall by San Francisco in 2001, and spent his entire career there, posting 12 1/2 sacks in his second season.
He will be introduced at Redskins Park later this week, while the Redskins continue to hunt for depth at linebacker, cornerback, quarterback and along the offensive line to round out their roster. Those signings will likely not be nearly as lavish as this initial foray, and the Redskins have reworked several existing contracts in recent days, according to sources with knowledge of the situation, to create enough room for these signings under the $102 million salary cap.
Randle El, 26, was the first to speak and, after his session, Archuleta spoke. Randle El popped back in the auditorium at Redskins Park in the late afternoon when Lloyd, 24, joined Gibbs on the podium; they traded one-liners about Lloyd's aspiring hip-hop career, and Randle El cheered, hooted and hollered for his new teammate. The addition of the receivers should diversify Washington's passing attack, which relied almost entirely on Pro Bowler Santana Moss and H-back Chris Cooley in 2005, while Carter and Archuleta should fit well in the aggressive system of Gregg Williams, assistant head coach-defense.
Carter joined Archuleta, 28, Randle El and free agent quarterback Todd Collins, 34, (as yet unsigned) at a Wizards game Saturday, and spent much of Sunday at Redskins Park with those players, but departed without signing a deal. When Carter left Ashburn on Sunday for a visit with Denver, team officials welcomed John Abraham, the other top defensive end available, to Redskins Park, although Carter remained their primary target. Negotiations with Don Yee, Carter's agent, continued through yesterday, and the sides reached an agreement late in the afternoon.
Archuleta spent more than 12 hours Sunday at Redskins Park with Williams and other coaches, and came away impressed enough to cancel a visit to Chicago, coached by his former coach, Lovie Smith.
"It was going to take a lot to make me not go to Chicago," said Archuleta, who went from an undersized walk-on linebacker at Arizona State to a first-round draft pick of the St. Louis Rams. "And I wanted to make sure I was as well informed as possible. I did not want to be a part of a situation that I was a part of the last few years [in St. Louis], where we ended up 30th in defense last year."
Redskins Notes: The Redskins have begun converting about $13.5 million in total roster bonuses due to players in 2006 into signing bonuses, which will clear about $10 million in total cap space. Linebacker Marcus Washington, for instance, agreed to convert $3.4 million in roster bonuses and base salary into a signing bonus, which is then prorated to save the team $2.5 million in cap space this year, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. . . . Gibbs conceded the team needs help at linebacker after the departure of LaVar Arrington, but the best of a thin free agent class has already signed elsewhere with little interest from Washington. The Redskins did make an overture to linebacker Akin Ayodele, according to a source with knowledge of the situation, but he signed with Dallas yesterday.. . . Gibbs said Williams contacted free agent safety Ryan Clark, a starter in 2005, yesterday and did not rule out re-signing him. . . . The Redskins re-signed free agent linebacker Khary Campbell.