- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 6, 2001

The Washington Redskins cut safety Mark Carrier yesterday in a salary-cap move that could further delay the release of cornerback Deion Sanders.

Coach Marty Schottenheimer confirmed that Carrier was cut after he refused the team's request to renegotiate his contract. The Redskins wanted to decrease Carrier's salary from $1.4 million to $500,000. Carrier, who started 15 games last season, declined to comment.

"It is a difficult part of the business, but it is the business of the NFL," Schottenheimer said.

The release of Carrier frees up $1.2 million against the salary cap. About $600,000 in pro-rated signing bonus money still will count against the cap this season, increasing the total amount of "dead money" paid to players no longer with the team to $12.8 million this season and $1.8 million next.

The Redskins are now $1.25 million under the salary cap. However, rookie linebacker Jauron Dailey, who suffered a season-ending torn knee ligament in practice on Monday, eventually will cost $120,000 against the cap. Dailey needn't be placed on injured reserve until August.

Carrier was one of many big-name signings owner Dan Snyder made last season in a failed attempt to win a championship right away. The overspending led to major turnover in the offseason, with key players either being cut or allowed to sign elsewhere as free agents. Twelve starters from last year's team are gone, including quarterback Brad Johnson; defensive lineman Dana Stubblefield; offensive linemen Tre Johnson and Keith Sims; receivers Irving Fryar, James Thrash and Albert Connell; fullback Larry Centers; and linebacker Derek Smith.

Cutting Carrier permits the Redskins to stare down Sanders into reporting in October when his major league baseball commitment ends or earlier if he is released by the Cincinnati Reds and not signed by another team. Otherwise, he can be placed on the "Did Not Report" list, which would put him in violation of his contract and give the Redskins a chance to recoup $6.8 million of his $8 million signing bonus last year.

Sanders reportedly said on Monday that he does not trust Schottenheimer and that the team is trying to keep him from signing with another team. NFL sources said the Redskins' delay might force Sanders to sign elsewhere for less money because teams are largely spending their remaining cap room in the next few weeks. If Sanders is released in July or later, few teams could offer more than the $477,000 veteran minimum.

Schottenheimer hasn't approached Sanders in months about rejoining the Redskins. Sanders' agent, Eugene Parker, said he hasn't spoken to anyone with the Redskins.

The release of Carrier and Sanders' criticism of Schottenheimer stunned teammates after yesterday morning's 90-minute workout.

Schottenheimer declined to comment on Sanders, but players weren't surprised by Sanders' attempt to be released. With the second-round selection of cornerback Fred Smoot and free agent signing of cornerback Donovan Greer, the team has prepared to play without Sanders.

"I couldn't say Deion has a lot of loyalty to the Redskins because he's played in a lot of places," safety Sam Shade said. "I hate he [criticized Schottenheimer]. It's tough to hear those kind of comments. Deion's going to be Deion. He's a very charismatic person and says what he wants."

Said running back Stephen Davis: "I hope we can have him back, but if not then we have to move on as a team."

Cornerback Champ Bailey, who played regular checker games with Sanders over lunch during the season, was one of Sanders' closest teammates. He wouldn't dismiss Sanders' return.

"It seems like a difficult situation," Bailey said, "but you can work through stuff like that if you're willing to."

The Redskins can now sign their rookies and several free agents with only minimal contract restructurings. Guard Jay Leeuwenburg and running back Greg Hill could be signed by tomorrow.

Washington must look for Carrier's replacement, too. Safety David Terrell is the current starter, and rookie free agent Ifeanyi Ohalete has impressed coaches. But Schottenheimer said the position is open. Safeties Brock Marion (Miami), Jason Belser (Indianapolis), Keith Lyle (St. Louis), Darren Perry (New Orleans) and Scott Shields (Pittsburgh) are the leading free agents.

Meanwhile, linebacker LaVar Arrington practiced after missing Monday. Schottenheimer said Arrington was excused because of illness, though Arrington didn't report it until after missing the workout.


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