All-pro safety Ken Houston signed a "series" of one-year contracts with the Redskins yesterday, but running back Mike Thomas did not receive a single offer from any of the 27 other teams in the National Football League as a league-imposed deadline in the free-agent process passed last night.
Thomas, who played out his option with the Redskins last year, had until 10 o'clock last night to notify the Redskins of any offer.
Had a club made an offer to Thomas, the Redskins would have had until April 22 to match the offer. Had the Redskins not matched the offer, they would have been compensated with drafts choices from the team signing Thomas.
Wide receiver Danny Buggs, defensive tackle Bob Heinz and running back Ike Forte are in the same position as Thomas.
The Redskins now have until June 1 to decide if they want Thomas. If they do, they must notify him in writing by that date. Thomas then will have the option of taking a 10 percent raise (to $121,000) for the 1979 season or signing the last best written offer from the Redskins ($90,000).
If the Redskins reject Thomas, he becomes a completely free agent, and the Redskins would receive no draft compensation should he sign with another team.
Houston, 34, also was a free agent, but the Redskins were not concerned about signing him. Terms of his new contract were not disclosed.
Houston, recognized as one of the premier safeties in the NFL, has been in the Pro Bowl 11 consecutive years and has played in 142 straight games. The Redskins traded five players to the Houston Oilers to obtain Houston in 1973.
Bobby Beathard, Redskin general manager, ran in the Boston marathon yesterday and was not available said there have been contract discussions with Forte and Buggs.
Because they do not have a draft choice in any of the first three rounds, the Redskins could not bid for any of the other teams' free agents themselves.
If a free agent signs a contract with a new team, his old team is compensated with draft choices. If his new team pays him $50,000 to $65,000, the old team is awarded a thrid-round draft choice; $65,000 to $75,000 rates a second-round choice; $75,000 to $125,000, a first-round choice; $125,000 to $200,000, a first and second-round choice, and more than $200,000, two first-round choices.
There were 142 free agents in the NFL this season and u05 were given qualifying offers by their old teams.
The Redskins, who have been squabbling with Thomas over a contract for two years have grown more and more disenchanted with him.
Thomas, 25, a fifth-round draft selection in 1975, gained 3,360 years in four seasons and is second behind Larry Brown on the Redskins' all-time rushing list.
However, he missed three games last season with a foot injury and rushed for only 534 yards.
A controversy developed when Thomas refused to take injections that would have allowed him to play. Several teammates and coaches made it known they thought Thomas should have played.
Pardee said he knows there was some interest in Thomas by other NFL teams, "but how much interest is the thing."
Asked if Thomas would be welcome on the team next season in light of all that has happened, Pardee said he thought so.
"Everyone on the team will be working and playing as a team, and anyone who doesn't like that won't be on the team," Pardee said.
Thomas was unavailable for comment last night. His attorney, John Dickens of Dallas, who is recovering from an illness and a two-week stay in the hospital, said he didn't want to say much until he had chance to review "some things."
He did say, however, that it now looked like Thomas' only options were to work something out with the Redskins or go to Canada.
Dickens has been trying to negotiate a five-year contract worth $700,000 to $800,000 for Thomas.
"I'm not optimistic and I'm not pessimistic," Dickens said. CAPTION: Picture 1, Ken Houston; Picture 2, Mike Thomas