As the NFL’s free agency signing period got underway on Tuesday, the salary-cap strapped Washington Redskins’ moves were limited to restructuring veteran wide receiver Santana Moss’s contract and re-signing punter Sav Rocca to a two-year deal. Meanwhile, the team appeared to be on the verge of losing linebacker Lorenzo Alexander, a Pro Bowler on special teams, because it lacked the resources to compete with opposing teams interested in his services.
Despite releasing cornerback DeAngelo Hall and restructuring the contract of defensive end Adam Carriker on Monday, moves that saved roughly $10 million, Washington remained in dire straits because the second half of a two-year, $36 million salary cap penalty imposed by the NFL left them with little money to spend. When free agency opened at 4 p.m. Thursday, Washington was believed to be around $3 million under the cap thanks to the $2 million pay cut Moss accepted. (As part of the deal, Moss can earn that money back through incentives). More finagling was needed, however, for Washington to feasibly lure talent and be able to sign its upcoming draft class, which would require roughly $4 million.
But the Redskins weren’t abandoning all hope of meeting at least one need in free agency. Washington remained in the running Tuesday evening to sign free agent cornerback Aqib Talib, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.
That person provided no details on the deliberations other than indicating the Redskins still have a chance to sign Talib, who finished last season with the New England Patriots and formerly played for Redskins secondary coach Raheem Morris with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
However, another person with knowledge of the Redskins’ situation said it appears the team will have a difficult time fitting a contract for Talib beneath the salary cap. That person said the Redskins would like to sign Talib but “do not have enough cash.”
The Patriots are thought to be interested in re-signing Talib.
Talib was traded to the Patriots last season after spending his first four full seasons with the Buccaneers. He has 19 interceptions in his five NFL seasons. He was a first-round draft choice by the Buccaneers in 2008.
Talib was suspended by the NFL for the 2010 season opener for a violation of the league’s personal conduct policy stemming from an incident with a cab driver in 2009. He was suspended for four games last season for violating the NFL’s policy on banned performance-enhancing substances. Talib said the suspension was due to Adderall use.
He also was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after being accused of firing a gun at his sister’s boyfriend in 2011. The felony charge later was dropped.
Cornerback is a pressing need for Washington because in addition to the release of Hall — who according to a person with knowledge of the situation drew interest from Minnesota, Detroit and Atlanta while his agent also had some talks with Washington about a possible return — the Redskins also lack a proven player for the nickelback position.
Redskins’ free agency starts quietly: Santana Moss deal reworked, Aqib Talib still in play
Washington Post | Mar 13