- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 13, 2002

Chicago Bears quarterback Shane Matthews soon may be traded to the Washington Redskins following Chicago's signing of veteran passer Chris Chandler yesterday.

Bears general manager Jerry Angelo said he expects to resume talks with the Redskins. Matthews is expected to cost Washington only a late-round pick although he could be a starter this season.

"Do I see [a trade]? Yes, I do," Angelo said, "but I haven't talked to Washington as of late, so I can't say anything for sure."

The Bears delayed making a trade until they signed Chandler to a three-year, $4.5million deal to back up Jim Miller. Chicago believed trading Matthews earlier would weaken negotiations with Chandler and cost more money.

Conversely, with Matthews' release now imminent and no other teams interested, Chandler's signing has probably dropped his price from a fifth-rounder to possibly sixth- or seventh-rounder. The Redskins recently swapped fifth-rounders with the New York Jets for the 160th overall pick and have two seventh-round choices.

Joe Mendes, the Redskins' vice president of football operations, couldn't be reached for comment, but coach Steve Spurrier has said repeatedly he hoped to be reunited with his former Florida quarterback. Matthews set 50 team and 19 SEC records while winning conference titles in 1990 and '91. Fifth in Heisman Trophy voting as a junior, Matthews was 28-8 as a starter and 18-0 at home.

However, Matthews is only 8-7 as an NFL starter and lost his job to Miller last year when he suffered strained ribs in the second game. He didn't play in four of his first five pro seasons before starting 12 games for Chicago in 1999-2000. Matthews was 2-1 last year, completing 84 of 129 passes for 694 yards. He threw five touchdowns and six interceptions with a 72.3 rating.

Matthews would compete with Florida successor and former Chicago teammate Danny Wuerffel for Washington's starting job. Spurrier has said he's willing to open the season with Wuerffel or second-year quarterback Sage Rosenfels, but Wuerffel struggled during minicamp and Rosenfels has no experience.

The Redskins may spend their first-round selection on a quarterback in the April 20-21 draft after recently reviewing Tulane's Patrick Ramsey. Washington could trade up to get Oregon quarterback Joey Harrington, but waiting for Ramsey as an expected late first- or early second-round pick is more plausible. Washington also is considering taking a guard, defensive tackle or receiver with its first-round pick.


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