- The Washington Times - Friday, April 19, 2002

The Washington Redskins will have to pay heavily to get Oregon quarterback Joey Harrington in tomorrow's NFL Draft. Recent talks with three teams failed to obtain a needed top-10 pick, but the trio may reconsider if Washington increases its offer.

Washington talked with Kansas City (eighth), Jacksonville (ninth) and Cincinnati (10th) about swapping its 18th overall selection plus other picks to get Harrington. Cincinnati rejected Washington's offer of first- and second-round picks. Jacksonville and Kansas City want two first-round picks to even consider the move. Even then, both teams may be reluctant because the Redskins' selection won't gain them a marquee player.

Washington hasn't approached Dallas (sixth) or Minnesota (seventh), though each also would want at least two first-round picks to swap. NFL sources said both teams are willing to trade down, but neither is encouraging offers.

No deal is expected before tomorrow and could even extend into each team's 15-minute selection period. However, a deal may be anticlimatic following league-wide rumblings that Detroit is again considering Harrington with its third selection. The Lions are expected to take Texas cornerback Quentin Jammers, but Harrington is possible. Detroit is also considering trading down.

The Redskins have fallback positions if they are unable to get Harrington. They're still hoping one of the top four marquee defensive tackles will unexpectedly remain available, though many mock drafts have the quartet gone. Team officials also are preparing lists of receivers and guards. There's even quarterback possibilities of trading a late-round pick for Chicago's Shane Matthews or drafting Tulane's Patrick Ramsey.

Harrington has become Washington's focus entering the draft, though. Owner Dan Snyder called Kansas City president Carl Peterson over a potential trade. Despite talk of a collaborative front-office effort, Snyder clearly is overseeing the first pick.

Harrington has visited Washington, Carolina (second), Detroit, Buffalo (fourth) and Kansas City in recent weeks. Some NFL officials consider Harrington just a shade behind Fresno State's David Carr, who will be Houston's first overall pick. Second-guessers have questioned Harrington's arm strength, but that could be a smokescreen to confuse competitors.

Whether Harrington quickly starts for Washington if obtained is debatable. Redskins vice president of football operations Joe Mendes said he doesn't draft with such expectations, preferring coaches to decide a player's readiness. However, few quarterbacks are ready as rookies. Heath Shuler was a 1994 first-round bust for Washington when a 13-day holdout left the third overall selection constantly behind. Shuler was released following three disappointing seasons.

Redskins coach Steve Spurrier has strongly supported quarterback Danny Wuerffel, who would be favored over second-year veteran Sage Rosenfels as Washington's 12th starting quarterback since coach Joe Gibbs' 1993 departure. Only New Orleans has started as many different passers over the past nine years.

Former Washington quarterback Joe Theismann said the Redskins have never found a long-term replacement for him since he suffered a career-ending broken leg in 1985. The ESPN analyst spoke to players before minicamp last month and said finding a quarterback is essential to success.

"If you have the talent [at quarterback], you have a chance to be successful," Theismann said. "If you don't, the system isn't going to work. There are 96 quarterbacks in the league, and maybe 15 give you a chance to win [along with] a lot of young guys that haven't had their chance."

Meanwhile, the Redskins appear close on a multi-year deal for Philadelphia Eagles middle linebacker Jeremiah Trotter. The contract would average nearly $4million annually. Trotter would replace Kevin Mitchell and give the Redskins three Pro Bowl linebackers with LaVar Arrington and Jessie Armstead.

Redskins fullback Stanley Stephens was released after failing a physical last month because of a heart ailment. After spending his rookie season on the practice squad, Stephens is expected to retire.

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