Wide receiver Art Monk, the Washington Redskins' No. 1 draft choice out of Syracuse, signed a series of six one-year contracts yesterday at the conclusion of the first of three days of a minicamp at Redskin Park. Terms of the pacts were not disclosed.
Monk, a 6-foot-2, 209-pound speedster with excellent hands, said he did not want such a "long contract," but with the extra incentive clauses he was "more than satisfied."
"I'm totally happy with it," said Monk, who hardly looked winded following the 2 1/2-hour workout. "We went in with a strategy to get certain things but when they didn't go for it, we had to compromise."
Monk's agent, Rick Bennett, said "Art didn't get all of the money he wanted, naturally, but the contract was a fair one for the Redskins and for Art.
"The Redskins were reasonable. We worked hard at getting Art signed before this camp and we came to a good agreement," said Bennett, who also represents Redskins Lemar Parrish and John McDaniel.
"Art wanted to be here so he could begin to work right away with the veterans. Redskins wanted to sign him right away and to a long-term contract.They didn't want Art to join (Terry) Metcalf in Canada."
Why the one-year contracts?
"We could have called it a six-year contract or a series of one-year contracts," said Redskin General Manager Bobby Beathard. "There is actually a separate contract for each year and he signs six of those contracts. But no matter what, it ties him to us for six years.
"There is no renegotiation after each year. That's just the way its done."
Monk, after a brief bout with nervousness, settled down and was impressive during the drills. He showed good speed and agility in getting downfield and made several tough catches.
"I was a little nervous being out there with the veterans for the first time," said Monk, who holds both the pass-reception (102) and yardage (1,644) records at Syracuse. "But once I got into it, I felt fine. All of the guys were helpful and made me feel welcome.
"It'll take me some time to get used to the pass patterns, players (quarterbacks) and the defenses. In college, you see few different looks on defense. I probably saw more different defenses in this one day than I saw in four years at Syracuse," added Monk, laughing. "I've already started to get comfortable. Joe (Theismann) and some of the other guys -- I don't know their names yet -- were encouraging me and patting me on the back."
Theismann, who undoubtedly will aim many long aerials in Monk's direction, was impressed with the quiet, confident rookie.
"He's quick and gets downfield well," said Theismann. "He knows how to get away from people and into the patterns quick.
"Our system is not one of free-lancing; it's very precise. He (Monk) seems to have everything that is necessary to get the job done."
The Redskin offensive coordinator, Joe Walton, who ran the session, agreed.
"He's all I expected him to be," said Walton. "We put in a lot of patterns and his head was spinning a bit. But he picks up quick and is willing. He didn't have any problems adjusting to the traffic on the seven-on-seven drills.He moves smoothly across the field and is not afraid to go in the middle. We'll have a lot of fun working with him."
Most of the fun stops when the defensive backs get the green flag to make things uncomfortable for the receivers. Then and only then will Monk's teammates be convinced this rookie, who is expected to contest for a starting spot, can play the game.
"You can see he's a great athlete, but it's hard to tell just how good he is until he catches the ball in pressure situations or in traffic when he's being hit," said safety Mark Murphy. "He looks good, though."
Coach Jack Pardee was pleased not only with Monk but with veterans.
"It was a good workout," he said. "Our quarterbacks looked sharp and the receivers were catching the ball." The players seem to be in good condition. We're glad to have Art in camp and ready to begin working with Joe and Kim (McQuilken).
"He'll have a couple of months to work with them before camp begins." Pardee said. "That will be beneficial to him. He has the ability to step in and play right away.
Monk's early afternoon anxiety appeared to return when he began walking toward the TV cameras in the press section set up for him to make official the signing of his contract. Theismann, watching the proceedings, suddenly yelled, "Art, I'll bring the car around in 15 minutes."