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Jabar Gaffney no longer fits in Redskins’ future

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Washington Redskins have encouraged Jabar Gaffney to seek a trade and continue his career elsewhere, the veteran receiver told several media outlets Wednesday.

Gaffney was asked not to attend the start of Washington's voluntary conditioning program this week, he said. He declined interview requests by The Washington Times.

Washington's leading receiver last season seemed baffled by the development.

"I went out and did everything I could possibly do right," Gaffney told ESPN980 radio, which first reported the story. "I was brought in to be a complement to Santana [Moss], and I think I handled my side pretty well. My numbers spoke for their self last year.

"I still am looking forward to having a better season this year. I want to be a Redskin, and I let that be known to [coach] Mike Shanahan and Kyle [Shanahan, the offensive coordinator] and everybody I have spoken to."

Gaffney, 31, is scheduled to count $2.65 million against Washington's salary cap this season. The Redskins have less salary cap space than they anticipated because of an $18 million penalty imposed by the league on the eve of free agency last month.

They recently signed free agent receivers Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan. Garcon counts $4.7 million against the cap this season, and Morgan accounts for $3.1 million.

"There's other moves that could be made," Gaffney said when asked if he is a cap casualty.

Gaffney plays the flanker position; so do younger receivers Morgan and Leonard Hankerson, who Redskins coaches believe have bright futures.

Gaffney said the team told him to seek a trade one day after his Twitter account featured several profane statements about his ex-wife and his college teammate, Lito Sheppard, a cornerback most recently of the Oakland Raiders. Gaffney insists his account was hacked.

He led the Redskins last season with 947 yards, 68 catches and five touchdowns. However, he averaged only 2.70 yards after the catch.

May arbitration hearing set

The Redskins' salary cap arbitration hearing is scheduled for May 10, an NFL spokesman confirmed Wednesday. System arbitrator Stephen Burbank, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, will preside over the case.

Washington is disputing a $36 million salary cap penalty the NFL imposed and the NFL Players Association agreed upon days before the start of free agency last month. The Redskins had $18 million deducted from their 2012 salary cap, and another $18 million deduction is scheduled for 2013.

League owners penalized the Redskins for moving expensive contracts into the uncapped 2010 season in an attempt to gain a competitive advantage. However, they were not found to have violated any terms of the collective bargaining agreement, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.

Coach Mike Shanahan, owner Daniel Snyder and general manager Bruce Allen have declined to comment on the team's grievance. Allen, however, disputed the sanction after it was publicized March 12.

"Every contract entered into by the club during the applicable periods complied with the 2010 and 2011 collective bargaining agreements and, in fact, were approved by the NFL commissioner's office," Allen said in a statement that day.

Shanahan at the NFL annual meetings last month strongly implied the penalty has affected the Redskins' ability to sign free agents this offseason.

It is unclear when Burbank will issue a ruling and what would be done if he rules in the Redskins' favor. Burbank has power to enforce terms of the CBA and provide "injunctive relief," according to the CBA.

The Dallas Cowboys are joining the Redskins in the arbitration process. They were separately penalized $10 million.

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