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Redskins continue to raid

Washington eyes Jets' roster again, this time for WR Coles

Posted: Monday March 10, 2003 3:21 AM
Updated: Monday March 10, 2003 11:16 PM

 
Redskins sign Johnson
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Redskins added a speedy receiver Monday, signing Patrick Johnson.

Johnson signed a one-year contract as an unrestricted free agent from Jacksonville, where he caught nine passes in nine games before his 2002 season was cut short by an abdominal injury. He previously played four seasons in Baltimore, catching a career-high 29 passes
for 529 yards in 1999.

"They needed a good speed receiver in the slot," said Johnson's agent, Patrick Woy. "He would be a good No. 3 guy. In [head] coach Steve Spurrier's offense, they would throw the ball enough." 
 

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Washington Redskins have decided that Laveranues Coles is better than anyone they can get with the 13th overall pick in the draft.

So they have offered Coles, the New York Jets' outstanding young receiver, a seven-year contract worth about $35 million, including a $13 million signing bonus. The Jets confirmed the offer Monday.

The Jets have a week to match the offer for Coles, a restricted free agent who had 89 catches last season. If they don't, they will receive Washington's first-round pick.

Coles is the fourth member of the Jets pursued by the Redskins. They also have tendered an offer to punt returner Chad Morton and signed guard Randy Thomas and kicker John Hall.

"I think it's more coincidence than anything else," Jets general manager Terry Bradway said.

Pending the outcome of a physical, the Redskins expected Coles to sign the offer sheet late Monday.

Coles would fill Washington's need for a speedy, big-play receiver to play opposite Rod Gardner. They had originally planned to draft such a player -- such as University of Miami's Andre Johnson -- by trading picks to move up on draft day, but Coles would give them a proven talent at roughly the same price without risking a training camp holdout.

Coles' agent, Roosevelt Barnes, did not return calls seeking comment. The Redskins and Jets said they would have no comment until there was an official offer.

Coles has said he was disappointed by the Jets' initial contract offer -- believed to include a $6 million signing bonus.

Coles, called the team MVP by head coach Herman Edwards, developed rapidly in his third season -- and first with Chad Pennington at quarterback.

"He has become very good," Edwards said. "Compare him to anyone. He gets the ball a whole lot, and that is important. He is a playmaker -- he shows it every time and he wants the ball."

While New York has enough money under the salary cap to match the Washington's offer -- more than $5 million -- it also must consider whether to match Morton's offer by Thursday.

Morton, told by the Redskins he would get an opportunity to play running back for them, signed a five-year, $8 million deal, with a $2.5 million signing bonus. New York would receive a fifth-round draft pick as compensation for Morton.

Coles planned to play the 2003 season under the Jets' one-year tender offer of $1.3 million, making him a free agent next year. But the money the Redskins are offering is similar to what Peerless Price got from Atlanta after he was acquired from Buffalo last week.

The Redskins have been the busiest team since free agency opened two weeks ago. They added running back Trung Canidate in a deal with St. Louis, and signed through free agency guards Thomas, Dave Fiore, Tre Johnson and Lennie Friedman; quarterback Rob Johnson; defensive end Regan Upshaw; defensive tackle Brandon Noble; and Hall. They have also signed Green Bay safety Matt Bowen to an offer sheet.

 
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