The Washington Redskins hosted one free agent wide receiver, Jermaine Lewis, yesterday as they awaited a decision from another, Kevin Dyson.
Club officials also remained in deliberations with wideout Patrick Johnson, an unrestricted free agent from the Jacksonville Jaguars who is scheduled to visit Redskins Park next week.
The Tennessee Titans are attempting to re-sign Dyson, but the Redskins were encouraged after meeting with Dyson over dinner Tuesday. He likely would be one of the club's top three wide receivers next season, alongside Rod Gardner and a rookie that the team intends to draft in April. The Redskins apparently would like to trade up in the first-round draft order to select Michigan State's Charles Rogers or the University of Miami's Andre Johnson.
Dyson, a former first-round draft selection, has spent his first five NFL seasons with the Titans. He has had a pair of 54-catch seasons but has had trouble staying healthy. The Redskins believe he will pick a team within the next few days. He visited the Carolina Panthers yesterday.
Lewis was at Redskins Park yesterday even though the Redskins signed another prospective kick returner, New York Jets running back Chad Morton, to a five-year, $8 million contract offer sheet on Thursday as a restricted free agent. But the Jets appear to be leaning toward retaining Morton by matching the Redskins' offer, which contains a $2.5 million signing bonus.
Lewis, who starred at Eleanor Roosevelt High and the University of Maryland, was released by Houston after one unsuccessful season. But he was one of the league's most dangerous return men while he was with the Baltimore Ravens, and he likely would be the Redskins' leading candidate to run back kicks if they don't get Morton. Redskins officials also did not rule out attempting to sign Lewis even if they acquire Morton, although that appears to be a long shot. The Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals are among the clubs trying to sign Lewis.
The Redskins want to sign Johnson, who began his NFL career with the Ravens, to add some speed to their wide receiver corps.
The Jets have until next Thursday to decide whether to keep Morton. Sources said yesterday that the Redskins' offer contains a provision to void the final two years of the deal, creating a sizable salary cap hit for his team after three seasons. That mechanism is designed to dissuade the Jets from matching the offer and keeping him. The Redskins would owe the Jets a fifth-round draft pick if they acquire Morton.
Redskins Note: Wide receiver Derrius Thompson appeared set to sign with the Miami Dolphins today as an unrestricted free agent. He was a starter for the Redskins for most of last season but the club demonstrated little interest in re-signing him.