The next step
Contract renegotiations all that stands between Portis-Bailey blockbuster
Posted: Tuesday February 24, 2004 4:58PM; Updated: Tuesday February 24, 2004 5:20PM
NEW YORK (SI.com) -- The Denver Broncos and Washington Redskins have reached an agreement in principle to exchange running back Clinton Portis for cornerback Champ Bailey, provided both teams can reach deal with their new player, SI.com's Peter King is reporting.
It's expected, according to King, that Portis' negotiations with Washington will be easier than Bailey's with Denver because the running back, who has 29 games of NFL experience, won't be able to demand a contract in the same range as Bailey, a five-year veteran. Bailey is expected to command around $8 million per year from the Broncos.
No deal can take place officially until the offseason trade and free agency period begins March 3, although an agreement can be announced before then.
In a Bailey-Portis trade, Denver would also receive Washington's second-round selection in April's draft, an NFL source told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. That would leave the Redskins with just two picks in this year's draft.
The source said the talks with the Broncos had been held up because Denver wanted to complete a new contract with Pro Bowl linebacker Al Wilson, who agreed to terms Tuesday, before dealing with Washington. The Broncos would then have a better idea of how much they could afford to pay Bailey, who has said he wants to rank among the highest paid defensive players in the league.
The Redskins have protected Bailey by designating him their franchise player. They have made him a one-year, $6.8 million tender, the average of the top five players at his position, tying up valuable salary cap space.
Bailey was given permission to seek a trade after negotiations for a new contract with the Redskins stalled. Bailey turned down a nine-year, $55 million offer last fall because he disagreed with several clauses in the proposal as well as its overall structure.
Portis, who rushed for 1,591 yards last season, has two years remaining on the contract he signed as a second-round draft pick in 2002. Displeased with the $300,000 he made last season, he has hinted he might be a holdout when training camp starts unless the Broncos rework his deal.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.