With Brunell's arrival in Washington, incumbent Ramsey will ask for trade
Posted: Friday February 20, 2004 4:31PM; Updated: Friday February 20, 2004 5:54PM
Patrick Ramsey was sacked 30 times last season, and had to miss the final five games due to injury.
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
INDIANAPOLIS -- Now that Jacksonville has agreed to trade quarterback Mark Brunell to Washington for a third-round draft pick this April (the deal will be formalized on March 3, when the NFL's trading period opens), the focus shifts to the Redskins' incumbent starter, Patrick Ramsey, who now wants out of Washington.
Ramsey's agent, Jimmy Sexton, said he will lobby Redskins owner Daniel Snyder on Friday night, when they are scheduled to dine together in Indianapolis. Both are in town for the NFL Scouting Combine, which runs through early next week.
When asked what it would take to convince Washington to trade Ramsey, who is entering his third NFL season, Sexton made it clear. "It's going to take the realization [by the Redskins] that this kid is not going to be a happy camper,'' said Sexton, alluding to Ramsey's apparently losing his job to Brunell. "Patrick wants me to seek a trade. Why wouldn't he seek a trade?''
On Thursday, Brunell and the Redskins agreed on a seven-year, $43.6 million contract that includes an $8.6 million signing bonus which is deferred over the first four years. In essence, the contract is a four-year, $20 million deal that was lengthened to diminish the short-term salary-cap consequences.
Washington is paying Brunell starter's money, and Ramsey believes that new Redskins coach Joe Gibbs, who said the job is up for grabs, has already made up his mind. "Our contention has been it's not a competition when you pay one guy 40-something million dollars,'' Sexton said. "In this salary-cap era, you start the guy [you paid that to] at least for a year or two, right? This is a farce that there's going to be competition.''
Competition or not, Ramsey and Sexton likely face an uphill battle in convincing Gibbs and Washington to deal him. In an era in which every team feels the need to have a strong backup quarterback, Ramsey represents a young, cheap alternative to Brunell, who will be 34 in September. Ramsey's salary-cap number is a modest $1.64 million this season, and while Snyder might be sympathetic to Ramsey's desire, Gibbs is not expected to entertain trade offers. That could change if Ramsey makes his unhappiness a problem for the organization, but for now Gibbs plans to reassure Ramsey that he remains in the club's plans.
Ramsey and Sexton are prepared for their trade efforts to play out over several weeks, with the hope of developing a robust market for his services. If Ramsey is shopped, Miami is believed to be the most likely suitor. Because the Dolphins are desperate for a quarterback, getting them to cough up a first-round pick is not out of the question. Miami, however, is also interested in Drew Henson, and at some point the Dolphins may have to decide whether to pursue the 2003 Houston Texans sixth-round pick, or make a run at Ramsey. Another potential trade partner, albeit a long shot given that they play in the same division, is the Cowboys, who might want to upgrade from starting quarterback Quincy Carter.
Bailey trade talks continue
On another front, Washington has no shortage of suitors for cornerback Champ Bailey, who was designated as a franchise player. Last week the Redskins gave Bailey's agent, Jack Reale, permission to elicit trade offers, and there appears to be four-to-six teams who have expressed interest.
Detroit has been the most open about its interest in Bailey, who is line to be paid $6.8 million this season if he remains with Washington. But that number will be difficult to fit into the Redskins' salary cap structure, and Washington is determined to cut its best deal and trade the four-time Pro Bowl selection. While Washington is said to be seeking a first and second round pick, plus a player, for Bailey, league observers feel that price is too high. Lions coach Steve Mariucci is balking at any deal that would include its No. 1 pick, the sixth selection in April's draft.
Other teams which need a cornerback and are believed to have inquired about Bailey include Minnesota, New Orleans, Jacksonville, and Denver. The Redskins and Lions are thought to have the March 3 opening of free agency as their rough deadline for completing a trade, given that a deal for Bailey would greatly affect both teams' needs going into the signing season.