Washington agrees to deal, has shot at starting
Monday, July 25, 2005
By Len Pasquarelli

First-round cornerback Fabian Washington, expected to challenge for a starting spot in a refurbished Oakland Raiders secondary, reached agreement in principle Monday on all of the key financial parameters of his rookie contract.

The former University of Nebraska player, drafted by the Raiders as the 23rd overall pick, will sign a five-year contract. He is only the second of the league's first-round choices to come to terms on a deal; Patriots offensive guard Logan Mankins agreed to a contract earlier Monday.

There remain some details to be completed, so financial elements of the contract were not yet available. Agent Brian Mackler of the Manhattan-based Sportstars was en route to Oakland on Monday evening to finalize the deal.

Washington, 22, brings tremendous speed to an organization that has always valued that commodity highly. He has been consistently timed in the 4.3-second range and, with the trade of former starter Phillip Buchanon to the Texans this spring, will have the opportunity to carve out considerable playing time.

For now, the Raiders list third-year veteran cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha at the top of the depth chart opposite Charles Woodson, but Washington is so highly regarded as a cover man and such a fluid defender, he might force his way into the lineup.

A three-year starter in college, Washington finished his Cornhuskers career with 145 tackles, 11 interceptions, 38 passes defensed, three forced fumbles and two recoveries. He had at least three interceptions in each of his three seasons and he returned one pick, in 2002, for a touchdown. The Bradenton, Fla., native twice earned All-Big 12 honors.