- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 17, 2002

The Washington Redskins intensified talks with the agent for quarterback Patrick Ramsey yesterday but remained stalled in attempts to sign several late-round picks.
Agent Jimmy Sexton traveled to Washington for further general discussions regarding Ramsey, the team's first-round pick, 32nd overall. The sides, after initiating talks last week, continued to lay groundwork for opening contract proposals later this week.
Both sides expect Ramsey to reach an agreement over the next five or six days and avoid a holdout. Redskins players report for training camp Monday and practices open Tuesday at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa.
Meanwhile, the Redskins did not agree to terms with any of their other seven draft picks, and in at least one case the sides remained surprisingly far apart.
Long snapper Jeff Grau and the club have a fundamental disagreement over how much Grau should be paid. Grau believes he should get a signing bonus equivalent to what a running back or defensive end, for example, would get in his slot the 19th pick of the seventh round. The Redskins feel Grau should be paid slightly less.
"We're in a dispute over where the signing bonus should be based on the position he plays," agent Robb Nelson said.
A holdout, however, appears unlikely. Said Nelson: "It's not even a possibility in my mind."
Once signed, Grau will compete against veteran Ethan Albright. Albright, 31, excels at his post but earns more than most teams like to pay their long snappers (his salary cap number is about $705,000). He expected to be cut for cap reasons this winter but survived, partly on strong recommendations from special teams coach Mike Stock and teammates.
Because Albright is talented and the club appears less bent on creating cap room now seemingly content to forgo more big-name additions Grau has little leverage.
The rookie pool remained essentially flat this season, leaving technically no room for draft picks to earn higher signing bonuses than their counterparts a year ago. However, some players are getting slight increases, meaning others must accept slightly lower signing bonuses or slightly longer contracts.
Ultimately, it all comes down to leverage. Early-round picks have some because they, in many cases, are expected to start or play significant roles. Late picks, like Grau, must focus on simply getting into camp and fighting for a job.
Nelson is trying to negotiate signing bonuses similar in size to draftees a year ago and find increases through incentives. Nelson believes that Grau deserves a signing bonus of about $33,000, what guard Kynan Forney received from Atlanta last year as the 19th pick of the seventh round.
Signed for the Redskins so far are safety Andre Lott, a fifth-rounder, and defensive end Greg Scott, a seventh-rounder. Lott received a three-year, $1.0115 million deal that included a $106,500 signing bonus; Scott reportedly got a three-year, $935,000 pact with $30,000 up front. Both contracts included the minimum salaries.
Note The Redskins signed offensive lineman Wilbert Brown, who played for line coach Kim Helton when Helton was the coach at the University of Houston. Brown (6-foot-2, 315 pounds) started 18 of 20 games the past two springs in NFL Europe. Two young players, guard Ron Boldin and defensive tackle Wil Beck, were waived.



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