Further movement possible for Redskins, others
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Donovan McNabb(notes) has arrived, and eventually, someone will be leaving the Washington Redskins. And the change of address forms may not stop with quarterback Jason Campbell(notes), either. Indeed, two high-ranking front-office sources from NFC teams and one from the AFC indicated that the Redskins have put out feelers on multiple players since the arrival of new coach Mike Shanahan.
“[Shanahan] and [General Manager] Bruce Allen want to shake it up,” said one NFC personnel man. “There are some personalities they want to move out before training camp. I think some of it is the attitude of the locker room, and some of it is just the fit [schematically].”
“I think they’re going to be aggressive,” he said. “There have already been some calls.”
With trade and even some restricted free-agent chatter expected to pick up in the coming weeks, the Redskins appear to be the sellers. Conversely, the three personnel sources said they believed the New York Jets may end up being amongst the most active “buyers”, whether via trade or by way of attempting to sign a restricted free agent or two.
With that in mind, here are a handful of players to watch in the weeks preceding and following the NFL draft …
Jason Campbell, QB, Redskins
With Donovan McNabb in town, Campbell’s going to get shipped somewhere. But it may not happen until during or after the draft, when quarterback depth charts begin to cement themselves. And Campbell is more attractive than people think. At 28 and with a wealth of starting experience – and solid passer rating and touchdown to interception ratios the last two seasons – he’s not a scrapheap player. He’s still got the size and tools that made him attractive in the draft, too. He’ll draw plenty of interest before finally getting dealt.
Albert Haynesworth, DT, Redskins
The Redskins are trying to squash the notion that Haynesworth is certain to get dealt, and you can bet that part of that is because the team doled out his $21 million option bonus earlier this month. Washington reportedly did what it could to move him before paying that money. Now the franchise has sunk an absurd $32 million into him in 13 months. But don’t bank on this one being over just yet. The new regime, Shanahan, isn’t thrilled with the idea of having the historically vocal Haynesworth contradicting the message that is being sent heading into next season. And Haynesworth made it no secret when he met with Shanahan that he wasn’t interested in playing in a 3-4 defense. He’s intent on skipping the voluntary workouts, too, which has already angered Shanahan. This one will get worse before it gets better. And that’s the kind of thing that leaves the trade door wide open.
LaRon Landry(notes), FS, Redskins
The Redskins visited with draft prospect Eric Berry earlier this month, and are believed to be very impressed with him. While it’s hard to believe the team would spend the fourth overall pick in the draft on a safety – especially considering Washington’s need on the offensive line – Berry could be the exception to the rule. As for Landry, there is some question about whether he has the range to deal with some of the coverage responsibilities in the team’s new 3-4 scheme. The Redskins have also shown some interest in free agent offensive tackle Flozell Adams(notes), which could help shore up the left tackle spot in the short term, and freeing them up to go elsewhere with their first-round pick.
Clinton Portis(notes), RB, Redskins
There has been buzz for weeks now that a former Pro Bowl running back was on the trading block, but little clarity as to the player’s identity. Based on comments from inside their organization, several have been ruled out since the NFL owners meetings, including a handful that would have value on the open market – guys like the St. Louis Rams’ Steven Jackson and Dallas Cowboys’ Marion Barber(notes). But Portis’ security would seem to have gone in the other direction, with the Redskins adding Willie Parker(notes) and Larry Johnson(notes) to the backfield. That doesn’t necessarily mean Portis, who missed the second half of last season because of concussion symptoms, is on his way out, particularly with Johnson and Parker fielding contracts that are easy to shed for almost nothing. And while Portis’ penchant for vocal criticism has already drawn a red flag from the new regime, a source close to Shanahan said the Redskins are “pot committed,” suggesting that the $6 million guaranteed the franchise owes him could prevent Washington from severing ties. However, Shanahan traded Portis once, and with two cheap veterans in the fold, he has the insurance to do it again.
His contract isn’t an issue. But when a new regime comes in, it’s never good for a player’s baggage to outweigh his contributions. Lynch is in that boat right now, having been demoted to second string while simultaneously dealing with headache-inducing off-field problems. But he’s still very young (he’ll be 24 later this month) and has enough talent to be attractive to a team still in need of a centerpiece running back. The big sticking point may be compensation. The Bills don’t want to give Lynch away, but his package of issues in Buffalo will keep his trade value somewhere in the neighborhood of a third-round pick, depending on the desperation of a suitor.
Brandon Marshall(notes), WR, Denver Broncos
If the Broncos had moved off their contention that a first-round pick was a necessity for Marshall, he would have been out of town by now. But the Seattle Seahawks aren’t willing to surrender that much, and neither is any other team at this point. The first week of March, a host of executives said the market for Marshall (who is a restricted free agent) would be very soft. And they were right on. But if Denver moves its asking price down a peg to the second round, he’ll be gone in a heartbeat. And that very well could be what transpires during the draft.
Vincent Jackson(notes), WR, San Diego Chargers
Of all the restricted free agents out there, he’s got some intriguing buzz amongst some teams. Don’t be shocked if something sneaky happens with Jackson – namely a team stepping out and signing him to a deal with a poison pill, in hopes of paying the Chargers the first- and third-round tender that San Diego has put on him. He has some baggage, but far less than Marshall, and he hasn’t been a vocal headache for the front office, either. He also has gotten better every single year, and has a size/speed/hands combination that makes him dangerous across the entire route tree and anywhere on the field. He’s not a mirror image of the Houston Texans’ Andre Johnson(notes), but over the next three or four years he might be closer than any other player to representing that kind of physical receiving threat.