- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 20, 2000

After refusing a pay cut from New Orleans that would have trimmed his $1.5 million salary to the $500,000-$750,000 range, cornerback Tyronne Drakeford will sign a one-year, $440,000 contract tomorrow with the Washington Redskins, team sources said yesterday.

The salary for Drakeford, who turns 29 tomorrow, is based on the league minimum for veterans of five or more years. There is no signing bonus, but league sources said the contract includes incentives.

"He wanted to be a Redskin. He wanted to play there. He has a lot of respect for [Redskins player personnel director] Vinny Cerrato," said Joel Segal, Drakeford's agent. "Those were the driving forces behind him choosing to become a Redskin."

Drakeford (5-foot-9, 185 pounds) is expected to be the Redskins' No. 4 cornerback, backing up Deion Sanders, Champ Bailey and Darrell Green. Drakeford will compete for playing time with rookie Lloyd Harrison, the Redskins' third-round pick out of N.C. State, who remains unsigned.

Drakeford, a former second-round pick out of Virginia Tech, played his first four seasons for San Francisco, seeing action in 13 games as a rookie for the Super Bowl-winning squad of 1994. He started all 16 games for the 49ers in 1996 and signed a five-year, $9.5 million contract with New Orleans in 1998.

Drakeford started 15 games for the Saints that season, then fell into disfavor with former coach Mike Ditka while starting the first four of 1999. Drakeford played in just three more games.

Meanwhile, in Redskins moves previously unreported, the team signed wide receiver Cory Allen, 24, to replace rookie Imani Percoats, an undrafted free agent out of Oregon State. Both moves happened June 2.

Allen (6-0, 202) participated in Atlanta's training camps the past two years but was cut both times. The former University of Georgia player signed a one-year contract with the Redskins for $193,000, the rookie minimum, with no bonus.

Also, the Redskins last week waived rookie defensive end Anthony Mitchell, an undrafted free agent out of Florida.

The Redskins' moves leave them with 85 players on their roster, including defensive end Anthony Cook, who will not be re-signed, and five unsigned draft picks (first-rounders LaVar Arrington and Chris Samuels, Harrison, fifth-round safety Quincy Sanders and sixth-round quarterback Todd Husak).

Because Washington can bring 80 players to training camp, which begins July 20, the signing of Drakeford will trigger the release of another player, as will the signings of the draft picks.

The Redskins also have four NFL Europe players defensive end Derrick Ham, punter Rodney Williams, kicker Peter Elezovic and running back Norman Miller. Three of those players (Ham, Williams and Miller) are expected be in camp, team sources said. NFL Europe players are exempt from the roster limits of camp.

Ham was NFL Europe's leader in sacks (nine) this season, while Williams finished as the league's No. 2 punter (43.8 yards). Williams is expected to compete with veteran Tommy Barnhardt, a free-agent signee last month, for starting duties during training camp.

Ham, Williams and Elezovic will play Sunday in the World Bowl, NFL Europe's title game. All three play for Rhein, which will take on Scotland in Frankfurt.

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