General Manager Bobby Beathard said yesterday that the Washington Redskins' asking price in a trade for running back Mike Thomas would not include either a first- or second-round draft choice.
"We haven't asked for a stiff price on Mike at all," Beathard said, declining to give the specific price. "But, definitely, it's not a first- or a second-round pick.
"We have talked to several teams, and how much they're willing to pay varies. Some teams may just wait until draft day to make a decision. They'll wait and see what's available in a round and, if they don't think they can draft a back as good as Mike, they may make a trade (offer) then."
Beathard said several teams have expressed "lukewarm interest" in Thomas a four-year veteran plagued by a foot injury last season.
"They've inquired about his contract, who's representing him that sort of thing," Beathard added. 'Yes, there has been more interest in him lately."
Beathard said he also has spoken with veteran linebacker Chris Hanburger and, "Chris says he wants to come back. I don't know what's going to happen there. That will be Jack's decision.
"I haven't counted Chris out," Coach Jack Pardee said yesterday. "We'll sit down and talk again. Whether it's next week or after the draft, I don't know. We want to find out more about his plans, what he's looking to do, that kind of thing."
Beathard indicated that the Redskins' first choice in next week's National Football League draft most likely will be a linebacker. As of now, the Redskins will nto select until the fourth round-the 103rd pick-although that could change if a deal for Thomas develops.
"I think it's a real good year for linebackers," Beathard said. "We might even take another one with our seventh pick. There's not much depth in offensive or defensive linemen, but it's a real good year for running backs, wide receivers and linebackers."
Beathard said he has at least a half-dozen "solid prospects" signed as free agents, most of them players who have been in at least one NFL training camp.
"This is a much better crop than what we had last year," he said. "And our draft situation is better this year. Last year, we had to wait until the sixth round, and we got Tony Green. Out of the draft and the free agents (this year), if we can get two or three players, I'll be satisfied."
Beathard said he has been impressed with Joe Jones, the defensive end acquired in a trade with Cleveland last month.
"He's been working out every day and he looks great," Beathard said. "He told me this was the first time he'd ever been supervised in the off-season, with a regular weight program. I think he's really going to help us."
Among the free agents who have impressed Beathard are Tim Peterson, a 6-foot-2, 235-pound middle linebacker drafted by the Patriots last year; Jesse O'Neal (6-4 and 255), a defensive tackle from Grambling with two years in the Canadian league; Dwight Carey (6-4 and 254), a defensive end from Texas-Arlington cut by the Patriots last season, and wide receiver Dexter Feaster, placed on waivers by the Colts last year.