Rough Start, Big Finish

The Redskins dive into preparations for the upcoming season.
By Jason La Canfora and Jason Reid
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, July 21, 2008

The Washington Redskins traded for Miami Dolphins Pro Bowl defensive end Jason Taylor last night, just hours after losing starting left end Phillip Daniels and reserve end Alex Buzbee to season-ending injuries on the first day of training camp.

Vinny Cerrato, Washington's executive vice president of football operations, dealt a second-round pick in 2009 and a sixth-round pick in 2010 to acquire Taylor, a perennial Pro Bowler and former defensive player of the year who was engaged in a public spat with the Dolphins after skipping offseason workouts to participate on "Dancing With the Stars."

The Redskins have lacked depth and a consistent pass rush from their defensive line for years, and Taylor, who will turn 34 in September, has been one of the game's elite sack specialists and premier all-around athletes.

The Redskins assume the final two years of Taylor's contract, Cerrato said, with no renegotiation. Taylor is set to make $8 million this season (about the cap space the Redskins had prior to the trade, Cerrato said), including a $500,000 roster bonus, and $8.5 million next season with the same bonus.

Taylor, who was not available for comment and is expected to take a physical today in Washington, has talked about playing just one more season before pursuing acting options, but Cerrato said he is "100 percent confident he'll play more than one year."

The trade capped a whirlwind series of events after Daniels and Buzbee were injured. Immediately after the second practice, Cerrato told the media, "We haven't talked with anyone yet on anything," and roughly an hour and a half later, the deal was announced.

Cerrato said the injuries to Daniels and Buzbee forced Washington to exhaust all options. He said Taylor (6 feet 6, 255 pounds) will move to the left side with Washington -- he played right end in Miami -- and Andre Carter will remain the starting right end.

"We're fortunate there is a guy of that caliber on the market when a guy gets hurt," Cerrato said.

Taylor has clashed with Bill Parcells, Miami's new executive vice president of football operations, about being away from the team for much of the offseason to pursue his Hollywood ambitions. Cerrato is close to Gary Wichard, Taylor's agent, and was confident the player was ready to make an impact and is focused on football. "He's excited for a new start," Cerrato said of Taylor.

Starting tackle Cornelius Griffin was sad to lose a teammate such as Daniels to injury, but was eager to welcome Taylor to town.

"I think he can really help us," Griffin said. "He's a great asset to our team -- he may be a future Hall of Famer -- and I think he's someone who would look forward to working with me and Andre and some of the younger guys we have on the line."

Informed of the trade by a reporter, young defensive lineman Lorenzo Alexander thought the Redskins made a great move. "We got him? Wow, that's awesome," Alexander said. "You're talking about a guy who can make a huge impact. He's a perennial Pro Bowler and a guy who was a defensive player of the year, so you know he can come in and really help you get after that quarterback.

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