Mar 5, 2014, 2:38 PM EDT
It’s looking more and more like the Redskins are not going to be able to sign Perry Riley before they have some competition for his services.
The Redskins and the player who has started for them at inside linebacker the past two and a half seasons “are not particularly close” in contract negotiations, according to a report in the Washington Post.
It’s been reported that Riley’s camp wants to see him get a contract like the one the Dolphins gave to Dannell Ellerbe last year. That was for $35 million over five years. Riley is also likely looking at the three-year, $20 million deal that Donald Butler just got from the Chargers. That contract contains $12 million in guaranteed money.
Those annual averages of those two contracts are right around $7 million. The Redskins will point to the two-year deal that London Fletcher just finished with them. That contract averaged about $5.5 million per year.
The Redskins will want Riley to take less than the now retired Fletcher, who was a 16-year veteran and four-time pro bowler.
For right now there is little reason for either side to move much. When free agency starts next Tuesday Riley will almost certainly hit the open market. He will then be able to go out and find out what his value is.
There will be risk for both sides in not agreeing before the opening of free agency. The Redskins could end up having to pay Riley more than they think he’s worth. Or he could just leave and sign a contract without giving the Redskins a chance to make a counter offer.
Knowing that, the Redskins aren’t going to sit around and wait for Riley to come back to them with an offer. They will need to move aggressively to fill a position where they don’t have a legitimate NFL starter under contract. If Riley’s camp goes out into the market asking too much they could see doors closing as teams turn elsewhere. He could end up getting less money than he would have if he had just priced his services right to begin with.
The high-stakes poker game gets underway next Tuesday at 4 p.m.
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