By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 18, 2006
Quarterback Patrick Ramsey's tumultuous tenure with the Washington Redskins ended yesterday, when he was traded to the New York Jets for a sixth-round pick in next month's draft. Ramsey, 27, was considered a central part of the team's future just a few years ago, but he played sparingly the past two seasons under Coach Joe Gibbs.
The Redskins had sought at least a fourth-round pick for Ramsey, league sources said, but the quarterback market was flooded and few suitors materialized except for the Jets and Miami Dolphins.
Ramsey will compete for a starting job in New York with incumbent Chad Pennington, who is recovering from a career-threatening injury. Jason Campbell, a first-round draft choice last year, and veteran newcomer Todd Collins will work under starting quarterback Mark Brunell in Washington.
Ramsey was the Redskins' top draft pick and 32nd selection overall in 2002, and was expected to lead then-coach Steve Spurrier's offense, which was built around the passing game. But Spurrier's offense sputtered in the NFL, and when Ramsey began starting regularly in 2003 he was pummeled and missed the final five games with a foot injury. He was still recovering from that injury when Gibbs replaced Spurrier in January 2004. Gibbs acquired Brunell within weeks, and in the two seasons that followed Ramsey started just eight of 34 games after starting 11 contests the season before Gibbs arrived.
"We appreciate Patrick's contributions during his time here with the Washington Redskins," Gibbs said in a statement. "Through this entire process we always wanted what was best for Patrick and in working with him we feel this is where he wants to be. We wish all the best to him and his family and his future with the New York Jets."
Ramsey's agent, Jimmy Sexton, said there was a sense of "relief" that a trade was finally complete, and his client was looking forward to his future in New York. Sexton said Ramsey was not immediately available to comment, and did not anticipate him making any public statements at this point.
After Brunell won the starting job in training camp in 2004, Gibbs turned to Ramsey midway through that season, with Brunell struggling. Ramsey finished out 2004 and was proclaimed the starter for 2005. But last April the Redskins traded three draft picks, including their 2006 first-round selection, to select Campbell. And when Ramsey was knocked out of the 2005 opener with a minor injury he was replaced by Brunell and never regained his starting role.
Gibbs granted Sexton permission to seek a trade in the offseason, and the Jets, who inquired about Ramsey when Pennington was hurt early in 2005, were the front-runners throughout. Gibbs has said that Campbell, 24, is ready for an expanded role in 2006, and Collins, 34, is well versed in the offensive system of Al Saunders, the Redskins' new associate head coach. Brunell, 35, set career highs in touchdown passes (23) and touchdown-to-interception ratio last season, but slowed with injuries in January.
By trading Ramsey, the Redskins are roughly $2.5 million under the NFL's $102 million salary cap, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. The Redskins are still looking to add a linebacker, cornerback and an offensive lineman, and are working on a contract extension for newly acquired receiver Brandon Lloyd. They could create millions more in cap space by restructuring Brunell's contract, as well as those of offensive linemen Jon Jansen and Randy Thomas.
Washington carried a $115 million cap figure a week ago, but was able to get under the cap and still sign free agent defensive end Andre Carter, receiver Antwaan Randle El and safety Adam Archuleta to lucrative contracts -- and Collins and tight end Christian Fauria to modest deals. They did so by releasing five reserves, negotiating linebacker LaVar Arrington's release and restructuring the contracts of running back Clinton Portis, cornerback Shawn Springs, linebacker Marcus Washington and defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin, according to the source, saving a total of $9.4 million in cap space with those moves.
Redskins Notes: The deals for Archuleta, Randle El and Carter are nearly identical, all worth roughly $30 million over six years, with a $5 million signing bonus and between $4 million and $5 million in roster bonuses due in March 2007, according to a league source. The players make the minimum in base salary in the early years of the contract, and all three carry cap figures of about $1.5 million in 2006 and $2.5 million in 2007, with Carter counting $5 million in 2008 and Randle El and Archuleta counting about $4 million each. . . . Fauria received a $190,000 signing bonus, according to a source, and will make $810,000 in 2006 and $1 million in 2007. Collins received a $450,000 signing bonus and will make $810,000 this season and $1.25 million in the final year of his deal. . . . Free agent defensive end Demetric Evans visited San Francisco yesterday, according to a source with knowledge of the situation, and has two more visits planned next week.