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Ex-'franchise' player Trotter looking for work

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  • Ex-'franchise' player Trotter looking for work

    By Len Pasquarelli
    ESPN.com

    Living proof that the tumble from the NFL penthouse to life in limbo can indeed be a sudden plummet, Jeremiah Trotter has needed only two years to view unemployment through disparate angles of the free agency spectrum.

    For a brief time in the spring of 2002, the six-year veteran middle linebacker was tagged with a franchise label. On Wednesday afternoon, Trotter was released by the Washington Redskins and branded a so-called street free agent. There are no more polar statuses in free agency than those two categories.

    Despite being just 27 years old, and having played in two Pro Bowl games, the future for Trotter is decidedly undecided.

    Trotter was one of three veterans unceremoniously released by the Redskins, joining tailback Trung Canidate and guard Dave Fiore, as the club moved to create some salary cap space. The moves will save Washington just shy of $5 million against the 2004 spending limit.

    Having battled knee problems for the past several years and missed 13 games in 2003 because of injuries, Fiore was contemplating retirement even before his release. Canidate, a former first-round choice of the St. Louis Rams and acquired by the Redskins via trade last spring, likely will find a backup job before training camps begin.

    Trotter, though, is the most compelling of the trio lopped by the Redskins, and perhaps the most curious as well. With his credentials and age, and the fact most other post-June 1 salary-cap casualties are either too old or too suspect to make a difference, Trotter ought to be among the top targets among the newest additions to the free agent pool.

    Instead, according to league sources, he might not have as many options as anticipated.

    There could be a solid market for his services, with the New York Giants rumored to be interested in adding him to plug their existing hole at middle linebacker, but any club that considers Trotter will likely conduct a round of due diligence before making a contract proposal. The primary area of concern is probably Trotter's knees, and the second the fall-off in his productivity.

    The six-year veteran started all 16 games in 2003, and led the Redskins in tackles (129), but still wasn't the game-altering type of playmaker he had been earlier in his career.

    A third-round pick of the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1998 draft, Trotter earned Pro Bowl invitations in two of his first three seasons as a starter, and was tagged a franchise player in the spring of 2002. But when contract negotiations drew dicey, Eagles officials opted to rescind the franchise marker, making Trotter an unrestricted free agent. The Redskins quickly signed him to a seven-year, $36.5 million contract that included a $7 million signing bonus.

    Two years later, the search for a new address may take a bit longer, and the financial expectations certainly will be diminished.

    Trotter tore up his right knee three-quarters of the way into the 2002 season, and that marked just the latest knee injury, a problem that began for him in college at Stephen F. Austin. He rehabilitated well enough to make 16 starts in '03, but the Redskins staff felt his play had dropped precipitously below his compensation level.

    While teams around the league might question the Redskins' acumen in most personnel matters, and feel their discarding of Trotter was hasty, there are enough questions about Trotter that even interested clubs will proceed with some caution. Assuming that Trotter is physically sound, one of those teams might reel in a bargain, since the high-character linebacker is more concerned about redemption than remuneration at this point.

    Leaguewide consensus appears to be that while Trotter is no longer a Pro Bowl defender, neither is he a guy who belongs on the NFL scrap heap. What teams will seek to identify in coming days, it seems, is precisely where he fits in the middle of those levels.

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  • Nick
    Redskins Likely to Release Coles
    by Nick
    Redskins Likely to Release Coles
    Unhappy in Gibbs's Offense, Team's Top Receiver Expresses Desire to Leave
    By Nunyo Demasio
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Monday, February 21, 2005; Page D01

    Washington Redskins wide receiver Laveranues Coles has had at least two extensive conversations with Coach Joe Gibbs since the season ended which are expected to lead to his release from the team, according to sources familiar with the situation.

    Sources said last night that Gibbs, Redskins owner Daniel Snyder and Roosevelt Barnes, the agent for Coles, have reached an oral agreement that will likely lead to his release, making the 27-year-old wideout an unrestricted free agent.

    Coles met privately with Gibbs at Redskins Park to express his unhappiness with the offense and a desire to leave the club.

    Gibbs has acknowledged meeting twice with Coles, including earlier this month, but he turned reticent and cryptic when asked about the possibility of Coles's departure.

    "We had a couple of good talks. That's the only statement I want to make," Gibbs said last week. "Me and Laveranues talked, and we have a good understanding."

    Coles caught a career-best 90 passes last season, the third-most in franchise history behind Art Monk. Yet the five-year veteran became frustrated by the lack of a deep passing game. The Redskins finished with the 30th-ranked offense in the league, and Gibbs's ball-control philosophy coupled with a 6-10 record made Coles miserable, said one person with knowledge of the situation.

    Gibbs, who also serves as team president, intends to accommodate Coles's request instead of keeping a player who prefers to be elsewhere, said two other sources who requested anonymity.

    Should Coles be released, one source said, he would return part of his $13 million signing bonus to minimize salary cap ramifications. Tomorrow is the first day that NFL teams are allowed to waive players.

    Sources said that late this past season Coles requested a trade after meeting with Snyder and Vice President of Football Operations Vinny Cerrato, since they were the two most responsible for acquiring him in 2003. But after discussions with Gibbs, a collective decision was apparently made to waive Coles.

    Coles, who has changed his cell phone number, could not be reached for comment. Barnes didn't return several calls last week to his Roanoke, Ind., office. Snyder, through spokesperson Karl Swanson, referred questions to Gibbs. Reached last night, Cerrato declined to comment.

    The Redskins signed Coles to a seven-year, $35 million deal as a restricted free agent from the New York Jets. At the time, the $13 million signing bonus was the richest in Redskins history, forcing the Jets to settle for Washington's first-round pick (No. 13 overall) instead of matching it. The Redskins...
    -02-21-2005, 11:28 AM
  • Nick
    Trotter returning to Phily
    by Nick
    Trotter agrees to one-year deal with Eagles

    PHILADELPHIA - Former Pro Bowl middle linebacker Jeremiah Trotter returned to the Philadelphia Eagles on Wednesday, agreeing to a one-year contract.

    Trotter's deal, believed to be worth less than $1 million, is contingent upon his passing a physical on Thursday.

    Trotter, 27, spent the last two seasons with the Washington Redskins after playing four years for the Eagles and making the Pro Bowl twice. He left Philadelphia following a bitter contract dispute in 2002, but never lived up to the seven-year, $35 million contract he received from the Redskins.

    Trotter's role is uncertain. Mark Simoneau is listed as Philadelphia's starting middle linebacker, with Dhani Jones and Nate Wayne at the other two starting spots.

    Trotter led Washington with 129 tackles in 16 games last season. He had 104 tackles in 12 games in 2002, before going down with a knee injury.

    Trotter has 774 tackles, 10{ sacks and four forced fumbles in his six-year career.

    A third-round draft choice from Stephen F. Austin in 1998, Trotter established himself as one of the premier middle linebackers in the NFL during his time in Philadelphia, going to the Pro Bowl in 2000 and 2001.

    He led the Eagles in tackles from 1999-2001, including a career-best 202 in his first season as a starter in 1999. Trotter strongly protested being designated Philadelphia's franchise player after the 2001 season, and signed with the Redskins soon after the Eagles removed the tag, making him an unrestricted free agent.

    The Eagles, runners-up in the NFC championship the last three years, have had a busy offseason, acquiring four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Terrell Owens, signing three-time Pro Bowl defensive end Jevon Kearse and Jones.

    They also have lost cornerbacks Troy Vincent and Bobby Taylor and running back Duce Staley to free agency.
    -07-14-2004, 05:01 PM
  • Nick
    Arrington, Redskins headed to arbitration
    by Nick
    Arrington, Redskins headed to arbitration

    ASHBURN, Va. - As expected, the rift between linebacker LaVar Arrington and the Washington Redskins will have to be settled by an arbitrator.

    Arrington, who signed a nine-year, $68 million contract in December, contends the deal with the Redskins, which was put together quickly because of a salary cap related deadline is missing a $6.5 million signing bonus for the year 2006.

    The Washington Post, which reported the two sides were headed to arbitration in Friday's editions, said the original hearing was set for Sept. 21 _ nine days after Washington's regular-season opener against Tampa Bay. However, it will now be moved up to early next month.

    The three-time Pro Bowl selection said in March _ the month he filed the complaint against Washington through NFL offices _ that he would let the arbitration hearing play itself out and that working things out would be a patient, yet aggressive, process.

    ``The most mature thing to do is see where we can go with it,'' Arrington said at a March minicamp. ``That doesn't mean I'm going to be weak about it, but I'm willing to see what type of resolution we can get out of this whole thing.''

    Neither team representatives nor Carl Poston, Arrington's agent, returned phone messages.
    -07-10-2004, 03:15 AM
  • Nick
    Redskins WR Rod Gardner heading to Carolina via trade
    by Nick
    Redskins deal Gardner to Carolina for future pick
    Wednesday, July 27, 2005
    By Len Pasquarelli
    ESPN.com

    After months of waiting for a deal, patience finally paid off for the Washington Redskins on Wednesday evening, as ESPN.com has confirmed the team has agreed to a trade sending wide receiver Rod Gardner to the Carolina Panthers for a draft choice.

    Without the trade, Washington would have released Gardner, a former first-round choice (2001), but a player who no longer fit into coach Joe Gibbs' plans. The draft choice that the Redskins will receive, presumably in 2006, was not immediately known.

    The deal is contingent upon Gardner passing a physical examination, and it is scheduled to be administered Thursday.

    Washington had made its intentions with Gardner known early in the offseason, when it granted permission for agent Joel Segal to seek potential trade scenarios. The Redskins also excused Gardner from all their offseason workouts.

    By dealing Gardner, the Redskins recoup his $2.097 million base salary, which was the highest on the team, and will use that savings to help sign its 2005 draft choices. It had been rumored for much of the offseason that Carolina, which was forced to release star wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad for cap considerations in February, was interested in adding Gardner.

    A former Clemson star, Gardner, 27, started all 16 games in each of his four seasons in Washington, catching 227 passes for 2,997 yards and 22 touchdowns. His best season was in 2002, when he posted 71 receptions for 1,006 yards and eight touchdowns.

    A big, physical receiver, and a prototype No. 2 wideout, Gardner has experienced some problems with inconsistency in the past, but was still regarded by several franchises as a quality player. Gardner became expendable in Washington when the Redskins traded for wide receiver Santana Moss and signed unrestricted free agents David Patten, Kevin Dyson and Jimmy Farris.
    -07-29-2005, 11:41 AM
  • Nick
    Two teams interested in Ogunleye
    by Nick
    Two teams interested in Ogunleye
    By Alex Marvez
    Staff writer
    Posted June 21 2004

    Two teams seeking to upgrade their pass rush have an interest in trading for Adewale Ogunleye if the Dolphins place the Pro Bowl defensive end on the trading block.

    An NFL source said Sunday that Washington is "definitely" curious about acquiring Ogunleye, who is threatening a lengthy holdout if the Dolphins don't sign him to a long-term contract extension. The Florida Times-Union reported last week that Jacksonville also is closely monitoring the situation.

    The Dolphins have not actively pursued trying to trade Ogunleye this offseason, but that could change if an impressive offer is made, especially in light of Ogunleye being unsigned and no contract agreement imminent.

    Chicago had shown interest in Ogunleye before April's NFL Draft, but the Bears were unwilling to part with the first- and third-round picks. The NFL deadline then passed for teams to sign Ogunleye to an offer sheet as a restricted free agent, giving the Dolphins his exclusive rights for the 2004 season.

    Ogunleye couldn't be traded until re-signing with the Dolphins.

    He would likely refuse to sign under a trade scenario unless a suitor was willing to offer a multi-year contract with an eight-digit signing bonus.

    "There's nothing new with negotiations but we're keeping an optimistic approach," agent Drew Rosenhaus said Sunday night.
    -06-22-2004, 07:45 AM
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