Brunell, Thomas Had Hand in Betts's Raise

By Howard Bryant
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 14, 2006

In signing a five-year contract extension last week that could be worth up to $11 million, Washington Redskins running back Ladell Betts received a silent assist from two teammates. Quarterback Mark Brunell and right guard Randy Thomas restructured the remainder of their 2006 contracts to free up the salary cap room necessary for the team to sign Betts.

Last Friday, Betts signed a five-year deal that sources said contained a $3.5 million signing bonus, a $100,000 workout bonus and $5.5 million in guaranteed money. He would have been a free agent at the end of the season.

The moves did not cost Brunell or Thomas money -- the difference in receiving the restructured money is approximately three weeks, sources said -- but both represented significant goodwill gestures. Brunell was scheduled to earn $4 million in base salary this season, but agreed to have the remaining three weeks of his salary converted into a signing bonus, altering his 2006 salary figure to $2.25 million.

Thomas did the same, altering his 2006 base figure from $3.5 million to $710,000.

But the move does not affect Brunell's contract status for next season. He was replaced at quarterback by Jason Campbell on Nov. 19 and is scheduled to earn $5.2 million next season, meaning in all likelihood the team will approach him to restructure his salary once more. Thomas is due $4 million in base salary next season.

Gibbs Laughs Off Rumor

Coach Joe Gibbs joked about a rumor that circulated late Tuesday night that he had been injured in a car accident. In fact, Gibbs was at Redskins Park formulating the team's plan for Sunday's game at New Orleans.

"The report was wrong. There were just some people who wished I was in a car accident," Gibbs said, laughing. "The only way it could have happened is if the car went right through the building, because that's where I was."

Rabach, Jansen Sit Out

Center Casey Rabach and right tackle Jon Jansen did not practice yesterday. Rabach broke his left hand in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 21-19 loss to Philadelphia. Rabach had surgery to stabilize the bones in his hand, and he said he would be fitted for a cast in order to try to play Sunday.

Even though the playoffs no longer are a possibility with three games remaining, Rabach said he was unwilling to sit out the rest of the season. "It's not really in my nature to shut it down," he said.

Jansen, meantime, is fighting the calf injury that has hampered him for much of the season. He has not completed a full week of practice in nearly a month, but he also expects to play out the string.

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