Quarterback Tony Eason, 15th player taken in the NFL draft, has signed with the Patriots. Eason, Illinois' prolific passer, was wooed by USFL's Gamblers and Boston Breakers, and CFL's Montreal Concordes, but now he's set for June 2 signing of a four-year, $2.25 million package. Eason's agent, Leigh Steinberg, said New England had only to be "competitive within the new realities of the football market" . . .

On the Redskins front, "The way it looks to me," says Carver Henry, agent for first pick Darrell Green of Texas A&I, "the gap is getting wider." Henry said earlier this week that the $250,000 difference between offer and demand in a five-year contract had been reduced. Last night, he said, "I thought we were getting close. The concessions I made (Tuesday), well, that's the lowest I'm going. I will sit home tonight and prepare a new proposal . . . When the Redskins see it, they might get really hot" . . .

Craig Morton, settling in as USFL Denver coach, begins with the Gold's first-string passer, Ken Johnson, out hurt and one-time Redskins clipboard carrier Fred Mortensen thrust into the starting role . . . Sports Illustrated says Art Schlichter, the suspended Colt undergoing treatment for compulsive gambling, had $750,000 in debts, almost twice the amount he acknowledged losing, and quotes the quarterback's attorney John Chester as citing "some indication" Schlichter contemplated suicide. Though, Chester allowed, "I only have his word for it" . . .

The investors in the would-be San Diego USFL franchise are angry enough at the city stadium authority recommending they be denied a lease (because of concern over turf damage) that, says minority owner Bill Tatham Jr., "If we have to move this team elsewhere, we're going to take some (NFL) Charger players with us."