On a day when the Washington Redskins signed running back George Rogers to a three-year contract believed to be worth about $2 million in base salary, U.S. Football League running back Kelvin Bryant lost his arbitration case and so cannot at this time negotiate with the Redskins.
But Bryant, who has two years remaining on his contract with the Baltimore Stars, could still deal with the Redskins if the USFL went out of business. The Redskins hold his NFL rights.
Rogers, the Redskins' leading rusher in 1985, will make between $575,000 and $600,000 this coming season, according to sources familiar with the contract. The contract, which was signed yesterday, is believed to include increases for the 1987 and 1988 seasons.
Rogers also stands to make perhaps as much as $100,000 more through various incentives this season. And he will begin receiving a $1 million signing bonus that was deferred from his rookie year with the New Orleans Saints.
His contract ranks as one of the most lucrative on the team, sources said. Quarterback Joe Theismann, who is not expected to play again, would earn $1.2 million if he is on the active roster all season.
Wide receiver Art Monk, a two-time Pro Bowl starter, signed a three-year contract in January that also is worth about $2 million in base salary.
"I'm pleased, George is pleased and the Redskins seem pleased," said Ed Holler, Rogers' Columbia, S.C.-based agent who flew to Washington to finalize the deal.
Rogers made $450,000 last season, his first with the Redskins.
Also yesterday, the Redskins signed linebacker Monte Coleman to a two-year contract worth between $225,000 and $250,000 a year, according to sources.
The signings leave three veteran free agents unsigned -- defensive end Dexter Manley, punter/kicker Steve Cox and tight end Clint Didier.
Richard Bennett, Manley's Washington-based agent, said it was unlikely his client would report to the team's Carlisle, Pa., camp with the veterans July 26. "We have a long way to go," Bennett said yesterday. "There are very material differences between us."
It is believed that the Redskins are offering Manley, who had a club record-tying 15 sacks last season, about $325,000 in base salary for this season. Manley, who made $225,000 last season, apparently is asking for between $450,000 and $500,000 a year.
The Redskins also agreed to terms with two of their 11 draft choices yesterday, according to those players' agents. The Redskins did not officially announce the agreements, and General Manager Bobby Beathard could not be reached for comment.
Ninth-round pick Wayne Asberry, a cornerback from Texas A&M, agreed to a two-year deal (plus an option year) for about $85,000 a year. He also received a $15,000 guaranteed signing bonus, a source said.
Eleventh-round selection Kenny Fells, a running back from Henderson State, is believed to have received a similar contract: $85,000 a year for two years, plus a $13,000 signing bonus. Fells had knee surgery after the team's May minicamp and is not expected to participate in at least part of training camp, a Redskins spokesperson said.
Defensive end Markus Koch, the Redskins' top draft choice, is still in Canada, several sources said. Koch, a Canadian citizen, apparently was denied entry to the United States when he could not present the proper documents at the border.
Bryant, the USFL's No. 2 career rushing leader behind Herschel Walker, was hoping to escape the final two years of his contract with the Stars because of what he called "numerous breaches of contract" and a lack of professionalism by the team and the league.
But arbitrator Richard Kasher said he determined there was "no basis for the finding that the . . . Stars failed to conduct a professional football operation," adding that the Stars have "developed and maintained an extremely high-quality . . . franchise."
"This may not be the end of the road," said Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke. "We certainly would like Kelvin Bryant to be with the Redskins, and, obviously, Kelvin would like to be with us."