- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 8, 2005

The Washington Redskins will spend $9.3 million for Laveranues Coles not to play for them next season.

The disgruntled wide receiver was traded to the New York Jets last weekend — a deal that should become official today or tomorrow — but he still will make an impact on the Redskins after he is gone.

The $9.3 million figure, an acceleration of Coles’ signing bonus, represents 11 percent of the Redskins’ $85.5 million salary cap for next season — and the latest example of how the Redskins continue to struggle with NFL caponomics.

The Redskins will spend more than 25 percent of their salary cap next season on players who won’t be with the team, probably won’t be with the team or will be with the club but not on the field playing.

One source with intimate knowledge of NFL players’ contracts and team salary structures said no club has spent so much and gained so little as the Redskins.

Redskins coach Joe Gibbs was traveling yesterday and could not be reached for comment. Vice president of player personnel Vinny Cerrato did not return phone calls.

The trade of Coles back to the Jets means the Redskins will take a huge salary cap hit next season (Washington also lost a first-round draft pick when they acquired the restricted free agent in 2003).

Coles isn’t alone.

The Redskins also must account for the final $4.8 million of the $7 million signing bonus they gave to linebacker Jeremiah Trotter, who they signed in 2002 and cut last June.

Departed defensive end Regan Upshaw will count $1.2 million against the cap and guard Dave Fiore $750,000.

That’s $16.05 million spent on players who no longer are with the team, a figure that represents 18.8 percent of the club’s cap space for 2005.

However, the situation gets worse.

Backup quarterback Mark Brunell, who likely won’t play unless starter Patrick Ramsey gets hurt, will cost another $3.2 million against the cap.

The Redskins gave the aging and faltering Brunell, a free agent who was pursued by no other team in the offseason, an $8.6 million signing bonus last March.

The acquisition of receiver/punt returner Santana Moss from the Jets in exchange for Coles likely means the Redskins will get rid of diminutive return man Chad Morton — a move that would cost another $833,000 against the cap.

Story Continues →