Free agent defensive tackle Michael Myers was scheduled to arrive in the Washington area last night to meet with Washington Redskins officials, and could sign a minimum-salary contract with the team today. The Redskins, trying to bolster their depth on defense before this weekend's draft, also plan to re-sign reserve linebacker Kevin Mitchell within the next few days.
Myers, 27, is scheduled to be at Redskins Park today, and sources said the Redskins plan to complete a deal with him before he leaves town, provided that he and agent Eugene Parker remain willing to sign for the league's minimum salary. Myers has spent his entire five-year NFL career with the Dallas Cowboys. He was a starter for Dallas in 2001 but became a reserve last season, and would back up starters Dan Wilkinson and Brandon Noble with the Redskins.
The Redskins signed defensive tackle Jermaine Haley, a restricted free agent from the Miami Dolphins, to a four-year, nearly $4 million offer sheet last week. The Dolphins have until Friday to decide whether to keep Haley by matching the offer, and the Redskins would owe Miami a seventh-round draft pick as compensation. Myers and Haley would give the Redskins two experienced reserves at the position.
Mitchell, 32, backed up Jeremiah Trotter last season after serving as the Redskins' starting middle linebacker in 2001. The unrestricted free agent visited the Detroit Lions but has said throughout the offseason he was focusing on staying with the Redskins. He has been working out at Redskins Park and met with owner Daniel Snyder on Friday, and team officials were negotiating the final contract details with agent Gary Wichard.
Some executives around the league believe the Redskins will try to trade cornerback Fred Smoot for a draft pick -- perhaps a second-round selection -- this week. Redskins officials said they don't expect to make such a deal.
"We have no intentions of trying to trade Fred Smoot," said Vinny Cerrato, the club's director of player personnel.
There have been rumblings throughout the offseason about the possibility of the Redskins trading Smoot, who struggled at times last season as a second-year pro. Some people around the league believe that dealing Smoot gives the Redskins their best chance to recoup some of their lost draft choices, and the team could avoid having to face any demands for a lucrative contract when Smoot's current deal expires following the 2004 season. The Redskins like Rashad Bauman, a rookie last season who likely would become the starter opposite Champ Bailey if Smoot departs, but would lack depth and experience at cornerback if they make such a trade.
If they obtain Haley, the Redskins would be left with three selections in this weekend's draft -- one choice each in the second, third and seventh rounds. Team officials say they would like to trade back in the draft order to gain additional picks.
Redskins Note: The Redskins will open FedEx Field to fans to watch the opening day of the NFL draft for a third straight year, the team announced. The club level at the stadium will be open to the public Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Coach Steve Spurrier and several Redskins players are scheduled to make appearances, and the team's cheerleaders and band will perform. Admission and parking are free, the Redskins said, and fans should park in Lot H and enter the stadium at the Hall of Fame store between Gates A and H.