Feb 27, 2005, 4:53 AM EST
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.
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