- The Washington Times - Monday, January 23, 2006

DENVER — NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue said yesterday he is concerned about the large amount of money the Washington Redskins have spent on their coaching staff.

The Redskins gave assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams a three-year contract extension worth about $8 million early this month. The team hired Al Saunders from the Kansas City Chiefs to fill a similar post on offense last week. Saunders, who will be introduced today at Redskin Park, agreed to a three-year contract worth about $6 million.

Williams and Saunders each will make more than many NFL head coaches.

Tagliabue, speaking to reporters before the AFC Championship game, said such salaries for assistant coaches are an issue in the context of the ongoing league battle between high-revenue and low-revenue teams.

Some owners say clubs like the Redskins have a competitive advantage because they generate high revenue from sources like local broadcast rights, stadium signage and skyboxes that are not pooled and divided among all the league’s teams.

Owners of low-revenue teams have been pushing for more of that money to be pooled. The owners will resume discussion of the issue Thursday in Orlando, Fla. However, Tagliabue said he isn’t optimistic they can bridge their differences by March 3, when the free agent signing period begins.

Tagliabue also said players want a share of the revenue Redskins owner Dan Snyder is paying coaches.

If the revenue-sharing issue isn’t solved by March 3 and there consequently is no extension of the collective bargaining agreement with the players association, the post-June 1 release rules will be suspended for 2006.

Such a suspension of rules would require teams to count all of bonus money due to the players they plan to cut rather than just a prorated share.

It then would cost the Redskins almost as much to cut LaVar Arrington as it would to keep the three-time Pro Bowl linebacker, who has fallen out of favor with the organization.

Meanwhile, the Redskins might be losing an assistant to the college ranks.

The Los Angeles Daily News reported yesterday that Redskins cornerbacks/secondary coach DeWayne Walker emerged as the top candidate to become defensive coordinator at UCLA.

Walker was scheduled to interview with coach Karl Dorrell on Saturday. The Daily News reported that Walker’s salary is a sticking point, and he also wanted to be assured he could hire his kind of staff.

The Bruins fired Larry Kerr after the season. UCLA went 10-2 but was 113th out of 117 Division I-A teams in total defense, allowing 468.1 yards a game.

• Staff writer Ryan O’Halloran contributed to this article.

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