Free Agency Carousel Has Started to Slow Down

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Washington Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs publicly stated his desire to shore up the linebacker and defensive back positions, but for the first time since the free agent market opened two weeks ago, the Redskins went an entire week without making a deal.

According to numerous league sources, the Redskins along with other teams have taken a more measured approach as the number of big-name free agents dwindles.

Following the signing of defensive end Andre Carter eight days ago, the Redskins have visited with free agent backup offensive lineman Jonathan Goodwin and cornerback Kenny Wright . And unlike the urgency that characterized the visits of Antwaan Randle El , Todd Collins , Adam Archuleta and Carter, both came and went without a deal. That is not to say the Redskins will not sign one or both -- they have about $4.5 million of salary cap room.

Wright, who played on special teams with Jacksonville before winning a job as the nickel back for the Jaguars, left Redskins Park yesterday and will decide over the coming days if he wants to visit other teams, according to his agent, Robert Fayne . Wright visited Arizona last week and before meeting with the Redskins he met with the New York Jets' coaching staff.

It was also unclear the level of interest that the Redskins have for Wright. For the past couple of weeks the Redskins had expressed an interest in free agent cornerback Jamar Fletcher , but Fletcher hasn't visited. Sources said that Fletcher was hoping to find a team that would allow him to compete for one of the two starting cornerback jobs, an unlikely scenario barring injury in Washington as Shawn Springs and Carlos Rogers are the uncontested starters. According to one league source, the market has slowed because of a glut of quality cornerbacks.

Gibbs said he also wanted to sign a weak-side linebacker to replace LaVar Arrington -- who despite paying back $4 million to test the market has not signed a free agent deal -- but has not moved quickly on that front. The team said Tuesday it has no interest in free agent Sam Cowart , and it is unclear if it has continued conversations with free agent linebackers Keith Adams or Nate Wayne . Representatives for both did not return phone calls yesterday.

-- Howard Bryant

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