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Report: Redskins, Riley still far apart in contract talks

Mar 5, 2014, 2:38 PM EST

Riley-vs-Eagles

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.

  1. Troy - Mar 5, 2014 at 3:19 PM

    So, they won’t pay Riley but they will pay another established starter (which will probably be around what Riley is asking for)?While I agree that he shouldn’t n make 7M a year, give him 4 years and guarantee him 14M. Less per year but more guaranteed money should be a fair compromise…….

    • Michael Thomas - Mar 5, 2014 at 4:37 PM

      It would probably male the most sense to give him the contract he wants at five year $35 million, but with little in guarantees and back loaded. In millions, yr1-$4, yr2-$5, yr3-$7, yr4-$7, yr5-$7, $5 for signing bonus, and $14 in guarantees including the bonus. If Riley earns the $7 million salary he stays, if not cut and move on in 2 years. This way the cap hit is roughly $6/yr and the bonus money if cut is a small dead cap hit.

      • Michael Thomas - Mar 5, 2014 at 4:38 PM

        *make, nor male

      • Michael Thomas - Mar 5, 2014 at 4:39 PM

        *make, not male

      • Chris - Mar 5, 2014 at 6:08 PM

        Best bet!

  2. Chris - Mar 5, 2014 at 6:06 PM

    The Redskins need to retain Riley… BADLY. With London Fletcher gone and no inside linebackers OTHER than Riley (much less VETS!) to take his place, this is a MUST keep! Riley is a d**n good Linebacker, especially against the run… He’s got value in this defense. No one is guna scoop him up though, because they “don’t see it”. So he’ll end up STAYING a Skin and end up getting paid LESS! Ha!

    If someone DOES grab him…. We better fill THAT void, via free agency or trade for a VETERAN, INSIDE linebacker!

    • Chris - Mar 5, 2014 at 6:07 PM

      We better fill that void *IMMEDIATELY* via free agency/trade!

  3. skinsfanfromvt - Mar 5, 2014 at 7:35 PM

    Watch out! Young healthy LB’s tend to go quickly. I hope he gives Washington the chance to match any offer that he gets.

  4. thankslittlebrandonbanks - Mar 5, 2014 at 9:32 PM

    ILB is quickly rivaling safety as a primary defensive need. I sure hope we can get Riley signed. Rich (I think it was) mentioned in a previous post the possibility of transitioning Hall from corner to safety in the future. I read today that Cortland Finnegan was / is expected to be released, is he or any other veteran corner a prospective stop gap at safety?

  5. kenlinkins - Mar 6, 2014 at 8:19 AM

    I just have not seen the talent in Riley to pay him more than $3.5 million a year. His price seems to be more about the Redskins status at ILB than his talent level. The good news is that “fair to good” ILB’s are easy to find for the 3-4 system as the ground required to cover is less than the 4-3 (and most of the time on passing downs they come off the field or have help from the nickel and dime DB’s). Riley will find this out when his offers start to roll in on March 12th (or 21st, or April 15th, May 20th etc.) IMO he will be shocked at how low the offers are. He is not a Pro Bowler, and has very little BUZZ other than Fletcher retiring and him being a Free Agent in a good spot to hold up his team.

  6. haslettsucks - Mar 6, 2014 at 4:20 PM

    i wished the Skins would have given Riley a decent offer before they gave Rak his deal. Just my opinion

    • Rich Tandler - Mar 6, 2014 at 5:35 PM

      How do you know they didn’t? Unless you define “decent” as “whatever Riley wants” I’ve heard they have.

      • Michael Thomas - Mar 6, 2014 at 7:11 PM

        $5.5 million average salary for D. Jackson should push Riley back down to a lower salary…5 year $30 million, $5 million bonus, $14 million guaranteed (salary+bonus), yr1-$3, yr2-$4, yr3-$4, yr4-$7, yr5-$7. If the bonus is split at $2 million year 1, and $1 million after over the contract you only have a $5 million cap hit for the first three years, and little risk for years four and five if he doesn’t produce. If he does, than $7 million isn’t bad and you can restructure and extend more easily the since you won’t owe any bonus money.

      • haslettsucks - Mar 8, 2014 at 1:40 PM

        thanks for getting back with me RT, but do you think RAK is worth the TAG they gave him?

        • Rich Tandler - Mar 8, 2014 at 1:50 PM

          On a one-year deal, yes. Would not be in favor of a longer deal at that salary, i.e. 5 years/$57.5 million. But one year, he’s their best defensive player at the most important potation on a 3-4, yes, they needed to do it.

        • haslettsucks - Mar 8, 2014 at 2:19 PM

          ok, thanks

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