Mark Brunell isn’t the only veteran quarterback being eyed by Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs.
Gibbs also is considering several other veteran passers who might be obtained via trade, a Redskins source said late yesterday. In addition to the Jacksonville Jaguars’ Brunell, with whom Gibbs met Monday in the St. Augustine, Fla., area, Gibbs appears to be eyeing the San Francisco 49ers’ Jeff Garcia and Seattle Seahawks’ Trent Dilfer.
Gibbs wasn’t available to comment on alternate trade targets. But earlier in the day he said he would be traveling to meet with other potential acquisitions before the market opens March3. Because the NFL prohibits meetings with pending free agents, Gibbs only can meet with trade targets when the player’s current club gives permission like Jacksonville did with Brunell.
The future of incumbent quarterback Patrick Ramsey also was addressed by Gibbs. Ramsey’s name began to swirl in trade rumors after Washington’s interest in Brunell became public, but Gibbs said the team won’t entertain trade offers for the Redskins’ 2002 first-round pick.
“No. That’s not a part of the plan,” Gibbs said. “We like everything about him. We think we have an excellent young quarterback here.”
The coach added that Ramsey will have the chance to compete for a starting job regardless of who is signed or drafted.
“Everybody on this team is going to compete for a starting job,” Gibbs said. “Yes, there’s guys you envision, ‘This guy’s a starter,’ but in general what we’re going to do is [hold] open competition, and who knows [how it will play out]?”
The latter statement, however, might be lip service with regard to Ramsey. Washington would need to give Brunell a significant new deal as part of any trade, and it wouldn’t make sense to pay such money to a backup quarterback.
Brunell’s agent, Leigh Steinberg, has said his client doesn’t want to go to a team where he would be part of a quarterback controversy. Yesterday Steinberg wouldn’t say whether Gibbs’ comments might affect Brunell’s thinking.
“We’re trying to find a franchise that Mark could lead without becoming embroiled in quarterback controversy,” Steinberg said. “The other priority is to find a team that has Super Bowl aspirations. The specifics of how all that plays out will vary from team to team. I don’t think it’s appropriate to get into the specifics of any discussions.”
It remained unclear what Gibbs might have said to Brunell privately. Of Monday’s meeting, which began with a trip to the hospital after Gibbs, a diabetic, became concerned about his blood-sugar levels, Gibbs said only that it was “good.” Steinberg said the dinner was “very positive” and that his client seemed to have a “natural rapport” with Gibbs.
Brunell doesn’t have total control over where he lands, but he does have considerable sway. A team probably wouldn’t want to trade for him if he doesn’t rework his contract, which calls for a $6.5million salary in 2004. But Jacksonville ultimately will decide which club makes the best trade offer.
A key question remains what the compensation would be. Washington’s second-round pick (41st overall) has been portrayed as the current benchmark offer, but several NFL sources speculated the actual pick probably would be lower. A Redskins source said no trade terms have been discussed between Washington and Jacksonville.
Also at issue is how a $2million roster bonus due at 12:01a.m. on March3, the day the trading period opens, might be resolved. Two NFL sources yesterday said the most likely scenario is that Brunell would work out a new contract with his preferred team, then delay the roster bonus if Jacksonville agreed to trade him to that club.View Entire Story
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