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Stunner: Skins Likely to Release Coles

Feb 21, 2005, 12:50 PM EDT

There’s nothing like having to have a perfectly good blog entry rendered null and void in less than 24 hours.

Yet that’s the case as Saturday night’s piece on the Redskins wide receiver situation was shot to hell by this article in the Washington Post:

Washington Redskins wide receiver Laveranues Coles has had at least two extensive conversations with Coach Joe Gibbs since the season ended which are expected to lead to his release from the team, according to sources familiar with the situation.

Apparently, Coles is unhappy with Gibbs’ conservative offense that emphasized the running of Clinton Portis and the short passing game. Most of the passes to Coles, a smaller, speedy receiver, were short tosses and screens designed for Coles to gain yards after the catch. He averaged just 10.6 yards a catch in 2004 after having averaged no fewer 14 yards per in any of his previous four seasons.

So, the one given in Saturday’s piece, that Coles would man the #1 receiver slot, is now apparently gone if Nunyo Demasio’s report is correct. It’s back to the drawing board.

Exactly what the Redskins will have to work with in rebuilding their WR corps is unclear. According to the Post article, this will not be your garden-variety release where the team eats the portion of the signing bonus–in Coles’ case $13 million–that hasn’t been charged to the salary cap. The bottom line on the team waiving Coles would be a net increase of just under $6 million to their 2005 cap. The team can ill afford such a hit.

This transaction will not be a waiver maneuver but something more like a mutual voiding of the contract. Coles will pay back some portion of the $13 million bonus. Exactly how much he might repay is not known, but if he gives back about half of it his departure will be just about a wash on the salary cap books. Of course the 2003 first-round pick that the Redskins gave up as compensation for signing Coles as a restricted free agent is now gone.

There will be efforts to assess blame for this fiasco. The two lightning rods will be Coles and team owner Dan Snyder, who was responsible for the deal to acquire Coles to be the primary weapon in Steve Spurrier’s Fun and Gun offense.

Certainly it will be easy to put the blame on the rich, spoiled athlete who is pouting because he isn’t getting his own way. And there’s a lot of truth in that, but at least Coles is going about this in the right way. He could pout and whine to the media and essentially force the team to relese him. Instead, he’s keeping his mouth shut, taking out his checkbook, and buying his freedom. That’s the high road. And if he wants out that badly, it’s best to let him go.

Snyder is always at the center of the storm and it’ hard not to place some of the blame at his feet; he made the deal. However, the nexus of Coles’ unhappiness is the best move that Snyder ever made–hiring Gibbs.

  1. J_B - Feb 21, 2005 at 9:40 AM

    Rich,

    With Coles getting cut and Gardner getting traded, don’t the Skins HAVE to get at least one premier guy into the mix this offseason either through FA or using that 9th overall pick on a WR (most likely Williams or Edwards)?

  2. J_B - Feb 21, 2005 at 1:40 PM

    Rich,

    With Coles getting cut and Gardner getting traded, don’t the Skins HAVE to get at least one premier guy into the mix this offseason either through FA or using that 9th overall pick on a WR (most likely Williams or Edwards)?

  3. Rich Tandler - Feb 21, 2005 at 10:10 AM

    If I had to bet, J B, I’d say yes, but at this point, who knows? If the Coles cap hit turns out to be a wash, they’d still need to clear some space–a Samuels renegotiation is the best way to do that–to bid on one of the premiere FA receivers. And, as I pointed out yesterday, Jerry Porter, Burress and Muhammad all have their major flaws. Rookie WR’s don’t contribute often, but that still may be the way to go.

  4. Rich Tandler - Feb 21, 2005 at 2:10 PM

    If I had to bet, J B, I’d say yes, but at this point, who knows? If the Coles cap hit turns out to be a wash, they’d still need to clear some space–a Samuels renegotiation is the best way to do that–to bid on one of the premiere FA receivers. And, as I pointed out yesterday, Jerry Porter, Burress and Muhammad all have their major flaws. Rookie WR’s don’t contribute often, but that still may be the way to go.

  5. Ed Parker - Feb 21, 2005 at 11:37 AM

    There is no “I” in team, and Coles continuiing refusal to address a toe injury in a meaningful fashion makes him a risk. Two years proving the inadequacy of rehab is enough,

    That said, the Redskins previous ability to attract talented self-centered players is now biting them in a sensitive spot. But giving Coles away (and presumably Samuels) with two missing draft choices shows a suicidal bent that beggars the imagination.

    Gibbs promises to stay 5 years, three of which will be cap restricted or cap hell. I appreciate his work in restoring a franchise that Mr. Snyder destroyed, expecially in the area of corporate spirit and direction. He has also proven that he could get it done without top-line talent.

    But giving away players proves only that the team believes it needs NO talent to succeed. This is a weak free agent WR class. Gibbs proposes to trade Gardner but give Coles away? Why trade for the lesser talent? Just wait -Redskins charity will prove unending, because anyone who wants to win in the next three years will want a Coles-type deal.

    If the team wanted to rid the roster of presumed talent and stock with no-names, why did the team get rid of Schottenheimer, who went 8 – 8 (not 6 – 10) with that scenario?

    Or is this another Snyderesque marketing ploy to be able to get pre-season sizzle at the cost of season sizzle?

  6. Ed Parker - Feb 21, 2005 at 3:37 PM

    There is no “I” in team, and Coles continuiing refusal to address a toe injury in a meaningful fashion makes him a risk. Two years proving the inadequacy of rehab is enough,

    That said, the Redskins previous ability to attract talented self-centered players is now biting them in a sensitive spot. But giving Coles away (and presumably Samuels) with two missing draft choices shows a suicidal bent that beggars the imagination.

    Gibbs promises to stay 5 years, three of which will be cap restricted or cap hell. I appreciate his work in restoring a franchise that Mr. Snyder destroyed, expecially in the area of corporate spirit and direction. He has also proven that he could get it done without top-line talent.

    But giving away players proves only that the team believes it needs NO talent to succeed. This is a weak free agent WR class. Gibbs proposes to trade Gardner but give Coles away? Why trade for the lesser talent? Just wait -Redskins charity will prove unending, because anyone who wants to win in the next three years will want a Coles-type deal.

    If the team wanted to rid the roster of presumed talent and stock with no-names, why did the team get rid of Schottenheimer, who went 8 – 8 (not 6 – 10) with that scenario?

    Or is this another Snyderesque marketing ploy to be able to get pre-season sizzle at the cost of season sizzle?

  7. mbarnes202 - Feb 21, 2005 at 11:38 AM

    Wow,
    What a bombshell. If Portis thought there was little running room last year …
    Frankly, it seemed to me that Coles certainly wasn’t worth what we were paying him, so, in the long run, I think this is a good move (of course, he will suddenly decide to undergo surgery for his new team and immediately return to Pro Bowl caliber, a la Trotter).
    I don’t see how Snyder should get any of the blame– maybe he could have for Sanders and Smith, but surely not for Coles– that was Vinny’s “find” — any more than Snyder should get the blame for signing Mark Brunnel.
    (I will grant you that a strong GM is needed in these cases to say NO to these kinds of signings.)
    Of course, in my mind I’m now wondering– what about Darnarian McCants?
    As for the draft, Gibbs said he didn’t want to be forced to draft for a particular position. Here’s hoping he can find a David Patten in FA, then maybe trade down and get a DE and a C in the first two rounds of the draft, with maybe a WR w/our #3.

  8. mbarnes202 - Feb 21, 2005 at 3:38 PM

    Wow,
    What a bombshell. If Portis thought there was little running room last year …
    Frankly, it seemed to me that Coles certainly wasn’t worth what we were paying him, so, in the long run, I think this is a good move (of course, he will suddenly decide to undergo surgery for his new team and immediately return to Pro Bowl caliber, a la Trotter).
    I don’t see how Snyder should get any of the blame– maybe he could have for Sanders and Smith, but surely not for Coles– that was Vinny’s “find” — any more than Snyder should get the blame for signing Mark Brunnel.
    (I will grant you that a strong GM is needed in these cases to say NO to these kinds of signings.)
    Of course, in my mind I’m now wondering– what about Darnarian McCants?
    As for the draft, Gibbs said he didn’t want to be forced to draft for a particular position. Here’s hoping he can find a David Patten in FA, then maybe trade down and get a DE and a C in the first two rounds of the draft, with maybe a WR w/our #3.

  9. Andy - Feb 21, 2005 at 12:57 PM

    I’m not suprised. With the way our offence played last year we are probable going to see more of this.

  10. Andy - Feb 21, 2005 at 4:57 PM

    I’m not suprised. With the way our offence played last year we are probable going to see more of this.

  11. K-TrainofPain - Feb 21, 2005 at 12:59 PM

    what about trading for moss?i mean the two things you look for in a reciever are what? the ability to catch and to catch TD’s moss has 90 and he’s in his prime. coming to the skins he’ll have something to prove and how knows maybe gibbs can get him under control…. just a thought.

  12. K-TrainofPain - Feb 21, 2005 at 4:59 PM

    what about trading for moss?i mean the two things you look for in a reciever are what? the ability to catch and to catch TD’s moss has 90 and he’s in his prime. coming to the skins he’ll have something to prove and how knows maybe gibbs can get him under control…. just a thought.

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