Redskin coach George Allen landed a St. Louis Cardinal middle linebacker yesterday under the new collective bargaining agreement without giving up a high draft choice or a player.
Washington acquired Grey Hartle, 26, a three-year veteran who played out his option last season.
There's the new NFL contract, the Cardinals had to make a qualifying offer of at least $30,000 by March 15 for the right to match any other club's offer to him. They did.
For the Cardinals to qualify for compensation, the Redskins or any other club would have had to offer a salary of at least $50,000 for Hartle.
Compensation is based on the amount of salary offered by a new club, from No. 3 draft pick for a $50,000 contract to two consecutive No. 1 draft choices for a player paid more than $200,000 a year.
The Redskins do not have a first, second or third choice for the uncoming draft on May 3-4 so Allen offered Hartle less than $50,000.
The Redskins gave added inducement to Hartle by inserting a no-trade clause in his contract, which means that if in the future they want a deal him to another club, Hartle could veto the deal.
Hartle suffered a knee injury in the first game of the regular season in 1976 and missed the remainder of the year.
Larry Wilson, pro scouting director for the Cardinals who is handling personnel deals while Joe Sullivan, director of operation, is recuperating from heart surgery, explained why the Cardinals let Hartle follow defensive lineman Dave Butz and conditioning coach Jim Curzi from St. Louis to Washington.
"We reviewed the Redskin's offer to Hartle and on the basis of our future [WORD ILLEGIBLE] and on the play of middle linebackers Jim Kearney and Ray White in Hartle's absence last season we decided to let Hartle go," Wilson said.
Allen has his own problem at middle linebacker. Starter Harold McLinton played out his option.
McLinton will be 30 on July 1. As a veteran with more than four more years service (eight) he can demand that any new contract he signs not have an option clause.
For the right to match another club's offer for McLinton, the Redskins had to offer at least $50,000 salary to him, which they did.
If no other club bids for him, the Redskins could sign him for their last offer or to a one-year contract at 110 per cent of his last contract. Then, if the Redskins decided not to sign him at one of those options before July 1 he would become a free agent and no compensation would be due the Redskins.
Hartle, 6-foot-2 and 225, was drafted on the 10th round from Newberry (S.C.) College for the 1974 season. He became a starter in 1974 when Mark Arneson was injured and again in 1975 under the same circumstances, but when the 1976 season started Hartle had beaten out Arneson.
Hartle was paid $18,000 in 1974 and $20,000 in 1975 on a two-year contract. he turned down an offer of $30,000 for 1976 and played out his option because, reportedly, he learned that Arneson was being paid $50,000, although he had been moved to outside linebacker in favor of Hartle.
The Cardinals became the first club to make transactions - three of them - under the new bargaining agreement clauses for option-playouts.
They made a qualifying offer for 32-year-old cornerback Norm Thompson, a six-season veteran, but when the Baltimore Colts offered him between $50,000 and $65,000 in salary the Cardinals qualified to get compensation of a third-round draft choice Scouting director Wilson said the Cardinals decided to accept the draft choice.
But when the Geeen Bay Packers, offered a contract to Keith Wortman, a 26-year-old guard with six years experience, the Cardinals matched the packer offer and Wortman decided to stay in St. Louis.
Four other Cardinals played out their options - defensive end Bob Bell, safety Clarence Duren, linebacker White and running back Eddie Moss. The club made qualifying offers to all but Moss, so they would have the right to match bids from other clubs.
That action made Moss a free agent, able to make his own deal with no compensation due the Cardinals.
Three other Redskins besides McLinton played out their options - guard Paul Laaveg, offensive tackle Tim Strokes, and wide receiver Roy Jefferson. All except Jefferson were made offers to stay with the club.