Salary cap considerations won't hinder the Washington Redskins' pursuit of retired defensive end Chris Doleman, team officials said.
Doleman now has begun to shop his services to other NFL clubs, but most of those teams are telling him there's little or no money left to pay him. His representatives contacted one of his former teams, the Minnesota Vikings, this week. According to league sources, the Vikings indicated they have virtually no salary cap room left and Doleman would have to play for the league minimum this season.
The Redskins are in no such predicament, team sources said. The retirement of linebacker Ken Harvey and the trade of tackle Shar Pourdanesh had given the Redskins some room under the salary cap to maneuver, and sources said team officials believe they would have no problem fitting Doleman beneath the league's $57 million salary cap.
There was no further contact between the Redskins and agent David Falk regarding Doleman yesterday, sources said. Redskins officials were frustrated when negotiations resumed this week and Falk didn't budge from his asking price of $3 million to $4 million for one year. Vinny Cerrato, the Redskins' director of player personnel, said Thursday that an agreement won't come unless Doleman and Falk lower their salary demands.
Still, Redskins officials believe Doleman's discussions with other teams are an indication he is eager to play this season, and they're hopeful he will lower his asking price as the regular season approaches. They figure that Doleman, at age 37, doesn't want to endure a long training camp anyway, and they'd love to have Doleman as a pass-rush specialist. He had 15 sacks for the San Francisco 49ers last season and ranks fourth on the NFL's career sacks list with 142 1/2.
Since taking possession of the Redskins nearly two months ago, owner Daniel M. Snyder has focused his energies on improving the experience for fans at the renamed Redskins Stadium and improving the quality of the team.
Snyder has also spent some time improving the experience for viewers watching from the owners' box.
Snyder began by tearing down the wall that separates the two boxes that former team president John Kent Cooke used to entertain friends and family. Then Snyder installed wood paneling and wall sconces, added burgundy and gold carpet and three rows of upholstered chairs -- one row of seats covered in burgundy velvet, one in gold velvet and the other in a burgundy-and-gold patterned fabric. Each row of seats has a narrow marble ledge in front of it to hold drinks and munchies.
Joining Snyder in the box for tonight's preseason game against the Buffalo Bills were Redskins co-owners Fred Drasner; Snyder's father, Gerald; and a few dozen friends and family members.
Coach Norv Turner offered the new owners the use of a headset during the game to listen in on the play calls.
Fryar Won't Watch for Long
The latest addition to the Redskins' roster, wide receiver Irving Fryar, was not in uniform for the game but watched from the bench. Fryar is expected to practice with the team Saturday at Redskin Park. . . . Backup cornerback Darryl Pounds missed last night's game because of a strained hip.