The Washington Redskins have told Roy Jefferson they are no longer interested in his services. They did not make a "qualifying offer" to the veteran wide receiver who played out his option last season.
Tim Temerario, executive assistant to George Allen, confirmed yesterday that the Redskins had made qualifying offers to guard Paul Laaveg, middle linebacker Harold McLinton and tackle Tim Stokes. All three also had played out their options.
"I don't want to talk about Jefferson," said Temerario. "All our players have been notified of what's going on. That's all I want to say."
Under the terms of the new collective bargaining agreement, National Football League teams had to make qualifying offers by yesterday to the option-playouts in order to receive compensation for those players if they were signed by other clubs.
Because the Redskins did not make Jefferson an offer, he is now free to sign with any of the 27 other NFL clubs. If another team does sign Jefferson, the Redskins would not have the right to match the new team's offer, nor would they be compensated with draft choices.
By giving the other three players qualifying offers, the Redskins all but guaranteed they would be back with the team next year.
Temerario said the Redskins would most likely match any offer the three got from any other team. That is all the Redskins have to do to retain their services.
A qualifying offer ranges from 30,000 to a player with less than four years service to $45,000 for five years, with $5,000 more for each year more than that.
The Jefferson move is not surprising. Allen said after the season he thought Jefferson would be retiring, although the veteran wide receiver still insists he may try to play again next year. Jefferson, a 12-year veteran, will be 34 in November and played on a bad knee last season.
"No, they never did make me any kind of offer," Jefferson said yesterday. "But I don't even give it a thought. I've resigned myself to the fact that my knee may not come around. Whether I play or not is not a major priority with me."
Jefferson, who earns more than $100,000 a year, said no other teams have approached him about playing next year. "They all think I'm retiring or my knee is too bad to play one," he said. "But I may surprise some of them."
He said his attorney in Denver "already knows of at least two teams who need receivers, but I told him not to pursue it until I know whether I can play. If I can, I may try with another team."
If Jefferson is not signed by June 1 by any other teams, the Redskins may still offer him a contract. But that is not expected to happen because there are a number of young swift receivers already on the roster.
McLinton said yesterday he had heard from five different teams and added he expected to meet with several of them in the next two weeks. Laaveg and Stokes have been approached by several teams as well.
"It would be difficult to leave here and I'd prefer not to," McLinton said.
McLinton said he was not at all surprised to read the Redskins were wooing Cardinal middle linebacker Greg Hartle, another free agent. "Aah, they do that every year," he said. "I guess George (Allen) thinks I have to be pushed. I'm not pleased with it, but if he (Allen) hadn't done it, I would have been shocked."