The Redskins apparently will allow quarterback Joe Theismann to become a free agent when his contract expires Feb. 1 following a negotiation session yesterday that resulted in what his agent termed "a flat stalemate."
No other negotiation meetings are scheduled between now and Feb. 1, according to both sides, who agreed that signing Theismann to a new contract will be a long and apparently rocky process.
General Manager Bobby Beathard said there was "no progress" in the meeting. He said the two sides were "far apart" in the salary area.
"I don't see anything happening for awhile," Beathard said. "I thought this session was helpful. Both sides were able to lay out their demands. But we aren't even close in many areas. I don't know what they are going to do, but we'll wait for them to request another session."
"We have nothing to negotiate," said a disgusted Ed Keating, Theismann's agent. "I suppose a stalemate can be broken if your intentions are good, but I question the intentions of the Redskins. The fact is, today we came in with our best shot and nothing happened.
"I can't afford to come back in and sit around and accomplish nothing. So if they are waiting for us to start negotiations again, it's going to be a long wait."
The Redskins decided last summer not to sign Theismann to a new contract until after the 1981 season. Yesterday was the first meeting between the sides since the final game, against Los Angeles.
Under present league rules, once Theismann, who earns $225,000, becomes a free agent, he will be allowed to negotiate with other teams. If he reaches an agreement, he then has to bring an offer sheet to the Redskins, who can match it. If they decline, then the team signing Theismann would owe the Redskins two first-round draft choices.
"The present NFL system is comparable to that of Poland's," Keating said. "It's dictatorial. But we have to play the game by the rules. I suppose we'll talk to other clubs, but it's a wasted effort. You go through it anyway for the sake of the exercise. Frankly, there is no question that the NFL system violates every anti-trust law in the world. We just don't have any options."
Although neither side would discuss specific demands, it is believed Theismann is seeking a salary in excess of $450,000 to $500,000 a year. But the Redskins apparently are unwilling to go over $400,000. John Riggins, who earns $300,000, is the highest-paid Washington player.
When Theismann and the Redskins talked briefly last spring, the club was stunned by his demands, which he claims would not place him among the top five paid quarterbacks in the league. Apparently, there has been little change in the requests of either side.
Theismann is coming off his best season as a pro. It seems likely the Redskins will sign him before next season, or involve him in a trade that will land them another quarterback.
Keating said the Redskins told him yesterday, "They had given us an offer and they weren't going to change it. There was limited flexibility on their part and substantial flexibility on ours, but it didn't get us close."
Asked if Theismann would sit out the upcoming season, Keating said, "That doesn't prove anything. That hurts everybody. It comes down to a matter of compromising on both sides. That's how you break a stalemate. We are willing to compromise.
"The question is, are the Redskins?"