- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 6, 2002

The Washington Redskins are expected to sign rookie quarterback Patrick Ramsey this week, possibly within the next few days, now that the parameters of negotiations are closer.

The sides talked several times yesterday, NFL sources said, using agent Jimmy Sexton's first proposal as the basis. Sexton sent the proposal Saturday while Washington was in Osaka, Japan. Redskins officials liked certain conciliatory aspects of the proposal and intended to send a counter-proposal last night.

The progress created expectations that a deal could be done soon. However, the standout play of the Redskins' offense in Saturday's 38-7 preseason win over the San Francisco 49ers had some close to the talks expecting the club to remain fairly hard-line for a few more days.

Quarterbacks Sage Rosenfels and Danny Wuerffel combined for five touchdowns and 434 yards passing against the 49ers. Although much of their success came against reserves the offense gained just one first down in two series against San Francisco's starting defense optimism is rising that one of the three passers under contract can be a winner.

Ramsey's outstanding physical talent and quick progress at the end of offseason practices opened a small chance for him to win the starting job during the preseason. But his holdout at 15 days today, two days longer than Heath Shuler's in 1994 makes it extremely unlikely he can secure the role.

No aspects of the eventual deal have been agreed to, but the sides have made progress in terms of escalators and incentives, the biggest and most complex hurdles in talks.

Sexton's proposal agreed to stiff terms under which Ramsey would earn escalators (increases in future salaries), making it difficult to earn the deal's maximum value. There are ways for Ramsey to max out the contract if he becomes the starter this season or next season, but he must hold the job.

The uncertainty of the Redskins' quarterbacks complicated talks. Because many expect Ramsey to win the job as early as this year, he wants to be paid like a starter as soon as next year. But that is almost unheard of in contracts for late first-round picks especially for the round's 32nd, or last, selection.

San Diego quarterback Drew Brees, the first pick in last year's second round, received such a deal. But that contract was considered extremely player-friendly and Brees received far less upfront money than if he had been taken one slot earlier. The Redskins have been willing to pay the high signing bonus but have balked at early escalators.

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