The Washington Redskins are willing to offer one of the three first-round picks they have in next year's college draft as part of a trade package for Detroit Lions running back Barry Sanders, team sources said.
The Redskins apparently feel no need to move quickly in making an offer for Sanders. Instead, they probably will see whether Sanders's discontent with the Lions spills into a training camp holdout, then inquire about a possible deal as the regular season nears.
Redskins General Manager Charley Casserly declined to comment yesterday, and Lions officials declined to comment through a team spokesman. Sources said there still had not been talks between the teams regarding Sanders as of late yesterday, but they indicated the Redskins would hope to get Sanders for a first-round pick. It's unclear how much the Redskins would be willing to improve their offer. The Redskins have the first-round selections of the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers, along with their own.
Salary cap considerations would make it extremely difficult for the Lions to trade Sanders, who turns 31 today. He would count for $7.3 million against the Lions' salary cap during the upcoming season if they trade him.
For now, the Redskins will concentrate on signing free agent defensive end Charles Haley and their first-round draft pick, cornerback Champ Bailey. And they'll wait for veteran linebacker Ken Harvey to decide whether he will play this season for a reduced salary.