- The Washington Times - Friday, March 15, 2002

The Washington Redskins' quarterback search has shifted at least temporarily from Chicago Bears backup Shane Matthews to free agent Jeff Blake, who traveled to Washington last night for a visit.
Blake, 31, also has drawn interest from Houston and Buffalo, the latter of which he visited earlier in the day. Blake was expected to eat dinner last night with Redskins owner Dan Snyder and coach Steve Spurrier.
Meanwhile, wide receiver Kevin Lockett averted his expected release by renegotiating his contract, NFL sources said. Lockett, the Redskins' third wideout last season, was scheduled to earn a $250,000 roster bonus today, and his total cap figure was to be $1.25million. Details of the deal were not revealed.
With Lockett's agreement, the team could get away with obtaining one quality receiver. Washington selects No.18 in the draft, and two of Spurrier's former players at the University of Florida, Jabar Gaffney and Reche Caldwell, are expected to go in the mid-to-late first round.
The desire to hold onto Lockett might be why the Redskins have made little attempt to pursue wide receiver Jacquez Green, a former Florida star who is described by some as the prototypical wideout for Spurrier's high-scoring offense. Green is talking with Tampa Bay about re-signing after visiting St. Louis last week.
However, the Redskins do appear interested in Jacksonville defensive end Renaldo Wynn, the Jaguars' first-round pick in 1997. Wynn, 27, has played all four line positions. Last season he started at left end, recording 75 tackles and five sacks.
As far as the quarterback situation, the Redskins have tried to trade a seventh-round draft pick for Matthews, 31, but Chicago wants more. Talks are stalled as each club holds to its bargaining position.
Spurrier hopes to acquire Matthews and have him compete with Danny Wuerffel for the starting job. Both are former Florida players.
It appears unlikely that Matthews figures in the Bears' plans. They are eyeing veteran free agents Gus Frerotte and Chris Chandler for the backup slot behind Jim Miller, and they might draft a quarterback in the first or second round next month.
Blake is a mobile, strong-armed passer who made the 1995 Pro Bowl while playing for Cincinnati. He played well for New Orleans in 2000 before being injured, then lost the starting job to Aaron Brooks and was recently released.
But there are two issues with Blake. First is whether Spurrier believes the quarterback can fit into his offense. Second, whether the Redskins are willing to meet Blake's contract demands.
Blake would be more expensive than Matthews, who is scheduled to earn $750,000 this season. The Redskins have been mindful of costs as they plug open starting positions now six following Wednesday's signing of center Larry Moore with little salary cap space.


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