With a handshake and a gift of a burgundy and gold cap, Washington Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder welcomed rookie cornerback Champ Bailey to the team yesterday after Bailey signed a five-year contract that could be worth as much as $12.5 million.
Bailey will receive a $5.2 million signing bonus and salaries totaling $4.44 million. If he reaches a series of incentives, based on playing time and production over the length of the contract, he could make as much as $2.86 million.
Meanwhile, the club continued making staff-related moves, with Snyder planning to hire Jim Marshall, a former all-pro defensive end with the Minnesota Vikings, as a consultant through the preseason, according to sources.
Snyder also has asked Greg Dillon, the Redskins' vice president of finance, to continue in his duties, according to sources close to the team. Dillon was among the six trustees of the estate of the late Jack Kent Cooke who voted to sell the team to Snyder this spring.
Snyder's ownership group, known as Washington Football Inc., closed on its $800 million purchase of the Redskins and Jack Kent Cooke Stadium on July 14. If there are unresolved matters related to that transaction, Dillon would not play a role in handling them. That's because as an employee of Washington Football Inc., he would have a relationship with both the buyer (Snyder's group) and the seller (the Cooke estate) in the deal.
Marshall is expected to work closely with defensive coordinator Mike Nolan in an effort to improve the unit's conditioning, attitude and energy level. Marshall, who played in 288 consecutive NFL games, has no coaching background but has built a career as a motivational speaker. According to a source close to Snyder, Marshall came highly recommended by the CEO of a company for which Marshall has worked.
The Redskins' defensive line was a particular disappointment last season, being ineffective against the run despite the additions of high-profile free agent tackles Dana Stubblefield and Dan Wilkinson. Former San Francisco 49er Rubin Carter joined the coaching staff in the offseason, giving the team two defensive line coaches (Earl Leggett remains).
Snyder's major remaining piece of business is appointing a team president, which he is expected to do by the regular season opener, Sept. 12. With Vinny Cerrato, formerly a member of San Francisco's front office, hired as director of player personnel, Snyder does not need to appoint a president with a football background. Rather, the new Redskins president will primarily oversee the business aspects of Jack Kent Cooke Stadium and the team, including management of the team's compliance with the NFL salary cap.
Snyder is modeling many of his organizational changes on those that occurred with the 49ers and Dallas Cowboys, teams he admires both as businesses and football operations. Dallas owner Jerry Jones also is team president and general manager. During San Francisco's dominant years, Carmen Policy, whose training was in law, was the club president.
Snyder has relied heavily on Washington lawyer Tom McCormick since his interest in buying the Redskins became public. McCormick worked out Snyder's initial partnership agreement with Howard Milstein, who withdrew his bid to buy the team in April, and he shepherded Snyder and his new group through the acquisition of the team. Snyder may turn to McCormick as his president. Failing that, it is likely he would tap a business associate he has dealt with closely in the past.
As for the deal with Bailey, it means the Redskins won't have a holdout by their top draft choice when they open training camp today in Frostburg, Md., as was the case when first-round selections Desmond Howard, Heath Shuler and Michael Westbrook joined the squad.
Longtime general manager Charley Casserly, who will relinquish his duties Sept. 3 under a front-office shake-up ordered by Snyder last week, credited Snyder with ensuring that Bailey wouldn't be a holdout.
"Dan Snyder wanted to make it happen, and it got done," Casserly said.
Coach Norv Turner said having Bailey in camp from the start will aid his transition from the University of Georgia to the pros. "There are very, very, very few rookies that are successful if they miss any part of training camp," Turner said. "He's stepping up to a level that's completely different."
If he adapts quickly, Turner dangled the possibility that Bailey may line up at wide receiver for a few snaps this season. Bailey played offense and defense at Georgia, where he also returned punts and kickoffs.
"We will not even consider that until he's comfortable and playing at a high level at corner," Turner said. "If it's in the first football game, if we're comfortable with it, I'd love to see it happen. I'd love to put him in the game four or five times on offense and spread people out and run our fast guys up the field."
Said Bailey: "I'm glad to be a Redskin finally. It's good to be here, especially on time. I'm ready to play and prove everything the coaches expect of me."
Redskins Notes: The team is no longer in active negotiations with Ryan McNeil, the veteran cornerback they worked out last week as Bailey's contract talks hit an impasse. . . . To make room under the salary cap for Bailey's contract, the Redskins released veteran tight end Henry Lusk and rookie center Mike Webster.