Kicker Mark Moseley most likely will be offered in a trade the Redskins hope will solve an increasingly critical pass-rush problem at left end, league sources said yesterday.
Moseley is one of the few marketable Redskin players the team is willing to include in a trade. He is considered expendable as long as rookie Dan Miller successfully handles the kicking chores against Cincinnati Friday night.
If Washington doesn't trade Moseley, it will be faced next week with the probability of keeping both Miller and Moseley. The Redskins don't want to trade or waive Miller, who appears to have a bright future. And they don't want to cut Moseley without getting anything in return.
Sources said the Redskins have stepped up trade activity, with Moseley as a lure, because of the problems at left end. Mat Mendenhall is doing adequately against the run, but the team is getting little pass rush from the position.
"We don't have a complete player over there," Defensive Coordinator Richie Petitbon said. "Mat plays the run pretty good, but he has lots of problems with the pass rush. He's just not a pass rusher right now. We will just have to make do with what we have and substitute a lot."
The Redskins also are worried about backup help at defensive tackle. Darryl Grant, who was an offensive guard last year, has become a promising nose tackle in their new pass-defense formations, but he still is learning to play in a standard 4-3 alignment. If either Dave Butz or Perry Brooks is injured, Washington would be left scrambling for a replacement.
General Manager Bobby Beathard said he was continuing his search for a defensive lineman "but there is a scarcity in the league at that position. No one seems interested in making a move right now, but we're trying."
Beathard said some teams "have approached us about a kicker but it's on hold until this weekend, after the final preseaon games. We'd consider trading one of the kickers if we get the right value. If not, we'll keep both of them."
The Redskins apparently feel they could improve their situation at end by bringing in a veteran pass rusher while letting Mendenhall continue to play on early downs. Right now, they are experimenting with Mike Clark and John Lee in the pass-rushing role.
Mendenhall, who has had some health problems recently, said, "I'm improving my pass rush every time I go out. It's coming along, but I know it's not where it should be. But over the course of the season, that could change. I just hope they have patience with me."
Moseley talked yesterday like a man whose fate already had been determined, although he said he was still hoping to be the kicker here this year.
"I know I can play five more years," he said, "but they have a young, talented kicker and they have to worry about the future. My leg has never felt stronger, especially since I don't do kickoffs any more.
"I am bothered that I'm not going to kick this weekend. I'm not getting the opportunity to determine my own fate. They aren't looking that much at my past history. But I believe them when they say they still have confidence in me. I was afraid they thought I couldn't kick anymore.
"I have the utmost confidence that the coaches will make the right decision. I'm not criticizing them at all. They'll do what is best for the team. I'm not so sure that the decision will be based on what I'm capable of doing, but rather what Danny can do."
Moseley said he didn't particularly like the idea of being traded -- "it's like being a piece of meat" -- but probably would report to another team.
"I'd have to think about it, because we live in Washington and I have my businesses here and it would be difficult to go somewhere else," he said, "but I probably would do it. We'd keep our home here, however. The community has given a lot to me and I hope I've given something back to the community.
"What if Danny kicks well Friday? I don't know what will happen. This whole situation doesn't give you the most secure feeling. But I haven't tried to read the coaches' minds. I feel I'll have a great year this year and I'd like to have it here. I just can't believe they'll keep both of us."
Mark Murphy, the Redskins' player representative, said yesterday his team was one of those pushing recently to go out on strike immediately in protest over the stalemated contract negotiations with the league.
"Lately, I haven't been a cheerleader, trying to keep up spirit," he said. "Instead, I've been trying to keep everyone reined in. There was a large group of players that wanted to go out, but we can't do this piecemeal. We have to go out as a union."
Coach Joe Gibbs is toying with the idea of carrying five tight ends this season. "We've got five guys who are competing very well and who all have strengths and weaknesses," he said. "What we do will depend on how many wide receivers and quarterbacks we carry, things like that." Gibbs will give Clint Didier and Rich Caster extra work against Cincinnati at the second tight end spot in the team's two-tight-end alignment. Rick Walker and Mike Williams will share Don Warren's tight-end slot while Warren gets a breather.