Archuleta's Status Is Still Up in the Air

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Washington Redskins must work out a new contract or a deal for safety Adam Archuleta by Wednesday, when he will be owed a $5 million guaranteed bonus. The sides agreed to postpone that bonus -- which was due last Monday, according to sources with knowledge of the situation -- as the Redskins continued to figure out how to part with Archuleta, who was benched for much of last season after being made the highest-paid safety in NFL history.

Archuleta, who says he did not speak to the defensive coaching staff for much of the season, would not be averse to a change. Trading him will not be easy given the $5 million he is still due, and the team and Archuleta's agent, Gary Wichard, are exploring ways to either release him without taking a big salary cap hit or trade him, sources said.

Archuleta's bonus is guaranteed, meaning he will get the $5 million even if he is released. Should the Redskins execute the option and keep Archuleta -- the staff has not been informed to make contingency plans for his departure, sources said -- he would count $2.4 million against the 2007 salary cap.

Should they cut Archuleta, he would count about $9 million against the 2007 cap. Should Washington not execute the option but keep Archuleta, he would count $6.4 million against this year's cap.

Several NFL executives said they believe Archuleta likely would have to rework his contract to facilitate a trade. Last week, Wichard said his client would reject any deal that cost him any guaranteed money, but the agent has not returned calls since agreeing to the postponement.

Chicago, which needs depth at safety, was interested in Archuleta a year ago but the Bears are unlikely to absorb his current deal, league sources said, although he could be intriguing at a lesser price.

-- Jason La Canfora

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