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Did Coles intentionally spike the trade?

Feb 27, 2005, 4:53 AM EDT

Ho hum.

Yet another story that loyal readers of this blog had a heads up about was reported breathlessly in the mainstream sports media on Saturday. From this blog’s post last Wednesday:

For the past 48 hours or so the thinking here is that Coles is a goner, a dead Skin walking. That view is evolving more towards the Coles is staying scenario. There is still a chance that he’ll be gone before the end of next season but I’d say it’s about 60/40 that he stays. Included in that 40% chance of departure is about a 2% chance he will get his outright release with the rest if it being some sort of trade.

And then this “breaking” news story as reported on ESPN.com:

Although Redskins officials were trying on Saturday evening to resuscitate the deal, a proposed trade between Washington and the New York Jets, in which the teams would have swapped their top wide receivers, appears dead.

Now while getting the story right here, it worked out that way for the wrong reasons or at least for reasons that were not forseen here. Reasons that make you scratch your head a bit.

From that ESPN.com story:

The Jets backed away from the deal on Saturday morning when the representatives for Laveranues Coles apprised New York officials over breakfast that their client would likely want to upgrade his contract if traded. The Jets were eager to re-acquire Coles, who began his career in New York, in exchange for wide receiver Santana Moss.

The Jets wanted Coles under the remaining terms of the seven-year, $35 million contract that he signed with Washington in 2002. Told that Coles might not report to training camp if he was traded and did not receive a new contract, the Jets opted to end their pursuit.

So, from reading this, it appears that Coles killed the trade.

The Redskins apparently were willing to eat the $5 million final installment on Coles’ signing bonus and the subsequent net cap hit of about $6 million in order to accomodate his apparently desperate wish to get out of town. The Jets were looking forward to getting Coles back and were willing to pay him salaries of about $3 million in 2005 and then $6.8 million in ’06, $5.3 million in ’07, $6.8 million in ’08 and $7.8 million in ’09.

But then Coles threw a monkey wrench into the deal, demanding a new contract with New York. The Jets, as one might expect, looked at what they would be agreeing to pay him on an annual basis and considered that to be more than fair compensation. That team shouldn’t have to expose itself to any future cap liability should, say, Coles’ injured toe become an even bigger issue.

So, we had the Redskins, who did not particularly want to trade Coles had a willing, even eager trading partner in the Jets. Then it was Coles, the discontented one who was so unhappy a week ago that he was willing to give up five million bucks to get out of town, who spiked the deal.

A sudden change of heart (perhaps somebody showed him films of Monk, Clark, and Sanders)? Fear that the injured toe could prompt the Jets to cut him in the next year or two, a move that they could make without any adverse cap consequenses?

The Redskin likely hope it’s the former, but there’s probably more of the latter at play.

Media Sport: Taking Shots at Snyder

I don’t want to leave this topic without addressing the some of the comments critical of the team, and of Dan Snyder in particular, made by some members of the local press. The column that got the most attention was by Sally Jenkins in the Post:

Here we go again, whiplashing around on that out-of-control carousel called the Washington Redskins. The question for owner Dan Snyder and his front office is: What’s with all these crazy circular misunderstandings? How come what they seem to promise is never quite, when the spinning stops, what happens? Why do people always walk away rubbing the backs of their necks?

On winning NFL teams, players sometimes take less money to stay. On this team, they’re willing to forfeit good money to leave. We have to wonder why. The answer may be that no amount is worth it to play for this team for very long

While Jenkins goes on to bring up a couple of less-compelling cases indicting the organization of bungling and using bait and switch tactics with Lavar Arrington and Steve Spurrier, it’s hard to refute that this situation with Coles has given the organization a black eye. Have you ever heard of a player willing to give back guaranteed money in order to buy his freedom? Even though the desire to get out apparently was related more the on-field differences rather than a beef with the organization as a whole, it still looks bad.

It must be pointed out, however, that while all of this was going on there was much more serious bungling going on elsewhere in the NFL. The Tennessee Titans had to cut six players, most of them starters, because they were some $30 million over the salary cap.

Then the Oakland Raiders quickly found themselves in cap hell after agreeing to trade for Randy Moss and signing receiver Jerry Porter to a contract extension. In a move that apparently stunned the team, cornerback Charles Woodson signed the tender offered by the Raiders as their franchise player, a move that locked up over $10 million in cap dollars. Even after quarterback Rich Gannon agreed to a pay cut that saved the team some $7 million against the ’05 cap, they were still $10-$15 million over according to the Oakland Tribune.

And yet these teams are not getting ripped, they’re not getting snyde comments made in their direction by Len Pasquerelli, they’re just, well, trying to win. Meanwhile, the Redskins have rarely been forced to waive a starter or demand a $7 million pay cut for a player in order to get under the cap. But if you asked the average fan who manages their cap better, the Titans or the Redskins, Al Davis or Dan Snyder, I think we all know what the answer would be.

  1. Anonymous - Feb 27, 2005 at 1:07 PM

    Snyder has made his share of mistakes, but most times I smell the fingerprints of Vinny Cerato on the Redskins ham-handed personnel problems.

    How different the last several years of the Redskins life if Snyder had kept Casserly around? I have never heard Cerato speak intelligently about the game, it’s players, or his plans. Perhaps HE’S still a mistake that Dan Snyder is missing. But a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and I think at some point we have to look at our string of high-priced screw-ups and finally take a hard look at a real GM.

    Snyder needs one. Gibbs needs one. History seems to scream for it. Seems like a no-brainer to me.

  2. Anonymous - Feb 27, 2005 at 5:07 PM

    Snyder has made his share of mistakes, but most times I smell the fingerprints of Vinny Cerato on the Redskins ham-handed personnel problems.

    How different the last several years of the Redskins life if Snyder had kept Casserly around? I have never heard Cerato speak intelligently about the game, it’s players, or his plans. Perhaps HE’S still a mistake that Dan Snyder is missing. But a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and I think at some point we have to look at our string of high-priced screw-ups and finally take a hard look at a real GM.

    Snyder needs one. Gibbs needs one. History seems to scream for it. Seems like a no-brainer to me.

  3. Marquez12 - Feb 27, 2005 at 10:40 PM

    Rick,

    Thanks for calling out Sally Jenkins and Len Passa-the-pizza (who hates the Redskins).

    I don’t know why the Coles situation reflects so poorly on the organization. The signed him during the Spurrier offense era. The offensive scheme changed and he doesn’t like it. How is that the front offices fault?

    I agree with the Joe Gibbs analysis that last years front office acquisitions were better than most in the league. Was it perfpect? No, but they helped the team.

    Washington is lucky to have Dan Snyder. He has turned the Redskins into the Yankees of the NFL. The winning will come eventually.

    I think the incident reflects poorly on Coles more than anyone else.

  4. Marquez12 - Feb 28, 2005 at 2:40 AM

    Rick,

    Thanks for calling out Sally Jenkins and Len Passa-the-pizza (who hates the Redskins).

    I don’t know why the Coles situation reflects so poorly on the organization. The signed him during the Spurrier offense era. The offensive scheme changed and he doesn’t like it. How is that the front offices fault?

    I agree with the Joe Gibbs analysis that last years front office acquisitions were better than most in the league. Was it perfpect? No, but they helped the team.

    Washington is lucky to have Dan Snyder. He has turned the Redskins into the Yankees of the NFL. The winning will come eventually.

    I think the incident reflects poorly on Coles more than anyone else.

  5. Rich Tandler - Feb 27, 2005 at 10:52 PM

    I’d agree, anon, but I don’t think that Cerrato has enough pull to make a major mistake.

    I’ve addressed the GM issue on several occasions and I’m 100% behind your “no brainer” assessment.

    And, Marquez, the constant change that this “organization” keeps on experienceing is the FO’s fault. Hopefully, that will come to an end, but Snyder owns the issues due to constant turnover.

    Then again, Coles should have known what he was getting in to. I agree that this does reflect more poorly on Coles than it does the Skins.

  6. Rich Tandler - Feb 28, 2005 at 2:52 AM

    I’d agree, anon, but I don’t think that Cerrato has enough pull to make a major mistake.

    I’ve addressed the GM issue on several occasions and I’m 100% behind your “no brainer” assessment.

    And, Marquez, the constant change that this “organization” keeps on experienceing is the FO’s fault. Hopefully, that will come to an end, but Snyder owns the issues due to constant turnover.

    Then again, Coles should have known what he was getting in to. I agree that this does reflect more poorly on Coles than it does the Skins.

  7. mbarnes202 - Feb 27, 2005 at 11:04 PM

    I think we’re all on the same page here … the move from Schottenheimer’s pound-it ball control to Spurrier’s pass-happy, what’s a defensive coordinator, back to Gibb’s pound it field position match has wreaked (sp?) havoc on personnel decisions. Nevertheless, with the huge signing bonuses we’ve paid every year, it all comes due when you want to change the roster. A strong GM (I’ve come around on this) appears to be the biggest thing the team needs. But Cerrato is busom buddies with Snyder, so that’s not going to happen.
    As to Coles, who stood to take $13MM from us, then go play with his buddy Chad for $3-$5MM per, his stance appears greedy. I’m sure his agent convinced him that real security comes from large SB’s, not large base salaries, but this is ridiculous.
    Frankly, I’m glad we’re not giving him up to the Jets for Moss (with only 1 year left). Maybe we’ll get lukcy and the Ravens will deal us their 1st round pick (or maybe even more) for Coles.
    We’ll see.

  8. mbarnes202 - Feb 28, 2005 at 3:04 AM

    I think we’re all on the same page here … the move from Schottenheimer’s pound-it ball control to Spurrier’s pass-happy, what’s a defensive coordinator, back to Gibb’s pound it field position match has wreaked (sp?) havoc on personnel decisions. Nevertheless, with the huge signing bonuses we’ve paid every year, it all comes due when you want to change the roster. A strong GM (I’ve come around on this) appears to be the biggest thing the team needs. But Cerrato is busom buddies with Snyder, so that’s not going to happen.
    As to Coles, who stood to take $13MM from us, then go play with his buddy Chad for $3-$5MM per, his stance appears greedy. I’m sure his agent convinced him that real security comes from large SB’s, not large base salaries, but this is ridiculous.
    Frankly, I’m glad we’re not giving him up to the Jets for Moss (with only 1 year left). Maybe we’ll get lukcy and the Ravens will deal us their 1st round pick (or maybe even more) for Coles.
    We’ll see.

  9. Anonymous - Feb 27, 2005 at 11:26 PM

    does it look like Coles’s demands for a new contract is out of spite for the Skins? Is there any chance that Washington just keep him on contract but not dress him at all, just out of spite as well? Probably not a good business decision, but it’s tough when players act up like this and the teams hands are tied.

  10. Anonymous - Feb 28, 2005 at 3:26 AM

    does it look like Coles’s demands for a new contract is out of spite for the Skins? Is there any chance that Washington just keep him on contract but not dress him at all, just out of spite as well? Probably not a good business decision, but it’s tough when players act up like this and the teams hands are tied.

  11. Rich Tandler - Feb 27, 2005 at 11:32 PM

    ” does it look like Coles’s demands for a new contract is out of spite for the Skins?”I would say decidedly not. The Skins have always been happy to play him and pay him. And, no, it wouldn’t make sense for the Skins not to play him.

    He’s a pro. Should he wind up staying, he’ll play and play hard.

  12. Rich Tandler - Feb 28, 2005 at 3:32 AM

    ” does it look like Coles’s demands for a new contract is out of spite for the Skins?”I would say decidedly not. The Skins have always been happy to play him and pay him. And, no, it wouldn’t make sense for the Skins not to play him.

    He’s a pro. Should he wind up staying, he’ll play and play hard.

  13. oneampoet - Feb 28, 2005 at 3:51 PM

    Silly Sally Jenkins….She is a prime example why only men should be allowed to write about football! The only thing I need to hear from a girl about football is “Go Team Go!” preferably during a game and wearing a short skirt.

  14. oneampoet - Feb 28, 2005 at 7:51 PM

    Silly Sally Jenkins….She is a prime example why only men should be allowed to write about football! The only thing I need to hear from a girl about football is “Go Team Go!” preferably during a game and wearing a short skirt.

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