- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 4, 2002

Pro Bowl defensive end Marco Coleman landed in a seemingly soft market yesterday when he finally was released from the Washington Redskins, who meanwhile began their evaluations in the second phase of free agency by working out offensive lineman Kipp Vickers.
Coleman, 32, is generating interest from several clubs including the Philadelphia Eagles and Miami Dolphins but it is unclear how much above the minimum salary teams are willing to pay.
The Dolphins, for example, are seeking a capable backup end and are looking to pay commensurately. Reports in recent days indicated that clubs might lowball Coleman, who wants a deal for three or four years that includes a signing bonus of several million dollars.
"We have to let this thing settle out over the next day or two," agent Jack Reale said by phone. "We want to separate the pretenders from the real players."
Coleman's age and decreased productivity in 2001 due to a dislocated shoulder are the reasons clubs might think they can get a bargain. But Reale believes his client, a 2000 Pro Bowl selection, will end up with the deal he is seeking.
"The people without much insight get hung up on [Colemans age]," Reale said. "Others do what football people used to do in the old days, which is watch film and see how the guy plays."
Vickers, 32, played for the Redskins in 1998 and 1999, starting in the 1999 playoffs at left tackle in place of injured Andy Heck. He spent the past two seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, starting 14 games last year at right guard, left guard and right tackle. Washington is looking at Vickers to play left guard, where untested David Loverne is slated to start.
Vickers departed Redskin Park late in the day, apparently without a deal. He has been available since Baltimore's cap purge in late February and the Redskins probably want to look at newly available guards before signing anyone.
Coleman's release saved the club $3.5million against the salary cap, money it will use to sign its 10 draft picks, create an injury fund for the season and pursue free agents. Because June2 fell on a Sunday this offseason, cap-friendly post-June1 cuts didn't become official until 4p.m. yesterday.
Reaction from Redskins players reflected Coleman's stature. He was a locker-room leader during three seasons in Washington, consistently setting an example with his determination and practice habits.
"Great teammate, great leader, great athlete," cornerback Champ Bailey said. "You can't ask much more from Marco. He's a plus everywhere so you know this was a business move."
The Redskins are evaluating the possibility of adding, in addition to a guard, a talented defensive lineman. Any big-name signing, though, would require the creation of more cap room, which most likely would come through the restructuring of defensive end Bruce Smith's contract.
The Redskins' most costly target is defensive tackle Sam Adams. They also appear to be among a number of teams looking at defensive end Rob Burnett. Both players stood out for Baltimore in recent seasons under current Washington defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis.
Washington also is expected to look at Carolina Panthers defensive end Jay Williams if he is released in coming days. The Panthers are trying to talk Williams into accepting a lower salary and, although his departure is likely, they aren't in a hurry to release him.
The Redskins will attempt to re-sign Coleman if he does not get the money he is seeking in free agency, though his return is extremely unlikely.
Other possibilities at guard include Ray Brown, who was cut yesterday by the San Francisco 49ers, and Glenn Parker, who was released by the New York Giants after failing a physical. Both are interested in joining Washington. The Redskins also might consider Matt Campbell, who was released by the Houston Texans last week after being selected from Washington in the expansion draft.
One Redskins free agent expected to get increased attention in the post-June1 market is wide receiver Michael Westbrook. A former first-round pick whose contract expired, Westbrook seems to be a target of the Jacksonsville Jaguars after they freed up cap room yesterday by cutting receiver Keenan McCardell and linebacker Hardy Nickerson.
The Redskins appear happy with their own receivers, a group that has high potential but generally is unseasoned. The addition of a veteran, such as former Florida standout Willie Jackson, remains a remote possibility, but probably only if that player is willing to play for around the minimum.
Notes
Offseason practices reconvened after a week off. Rookie wide receiver Cliff Russell practiced for the first time since the post-draft minicamp, having missed recent weeks due to a late graduation. He is wearing Westbrook's old No.82. Left tackle Chris Samuels returned to workouts after recovering from an ankle sprain.


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide