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Redskins' Offseason: Now It's On
Veteran Mark Brunell, a Gibbs favorite, is a free agent who is unlikely to be re-signed, team sources said, with Zorn perhaps pursuing a veteran third-stringer, such as Trent Dilfer, who knows his offense.
Johnson is a game-breaker who is strong and, at 6 feet 1, has the kind of size the Redskins' wide receivers lack. But his quick tongue and clashes with coaches have caused turmoil with Cincinnati. If he is traded, two general managers estimated it would take a low first-round and a third-round pick, or perhaps two second-round picks, to land him.
New England is likely to put a franchise tag on Randy Moss, retaining his rights, while less-stellar wide receivers such as Jerry Porter (Oakland) and Javon Walker (Denver) could be possibilities. Johnson, however, would be Snyder's ideal acquisition, according to multiple sources.
"He made it very clear that was his top choice," one coaching candidate said.
Brandon Lloyd is almost certain to be released, according to sources who have talked to Snyder and Cerrato. Veteran Keenan McCardell is also unlikely to be back. James Thrash, a special teams standout for Gibbs, might not return, and concerns over chronic knee problems could mean that reserve Reche Caldwell also will not be re-signed.
Veterans Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle El need to overcome injuries that plagued them last season. Team sources said Snyder is considering expanding his training rehab staff to help limit and cope with the number of hamstring issues, which were prevalent on the team in 2007.
Running Backs/Tight Ends
Snyder and Cerrato raved about Clinton Portis during interviews with head coaching prospects, sources said. Another renegotiation of his contract is likely. While Gibbs sometimes referred to Portis and Ladell Betts as "interchangeable," sources said that Snyder and Cerrato spoke of Betts solely as a backup. Team sources said they expect Betts to resume kick returning duties in 2008. Free agent Rock Cartwright is expected to depart.
Fullback Mike Sellers and tight end Chris Cooley will have significant roles in the West Coast offense under Zorn. Backup Todd Yoder has earned the respect of coaches in two seasons in Washington and depth could come from Tyler Ecker, team sources said. He was injured during the first weekend of training camp last season and placed on injured reserve. Ecker "completely reshaped his body" during rehabilitation, a team source said.
Several coaching candidates were troubled by the repeated injuries to starting right tackle Jon Jansen, who broke his leg in the first week of last season. However, the Redskins gave Jansen a contract extension a year ago and Snyder told coaches it's not feasible to release him because of the salary cap ramifications.
There are injury concerns with veteran guards Pete Kendall (arthritic knees) and Randy Thomas (who suffered another season-ending injury last year). League sources said a priority is acquiring, perhaps through the draft, a young center-guard to stabilize the interior of the line.
Veteran Mike Pucillo filled the role the past two seasons but has a serious back condition, sources said, making it less likely he will be re-signed.