- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 30, 2002

The Washington Redskins have informed Pro Bowl defensive end Marco Coleman that he will be cut this weekend for salary cap reasons.
Redskins vice president of football operations Joe Mendes told agent Jack Reale of the long-expected move this week after attempts to restructure Coleman's contract failed.
Coleman was willing to take a pay cut in order to remain in Washington but the sides weren't close on how much his $3.5million in new compensation $3million salary, plus a $500,000 roster bonus due Wednesday would drop.
"I talked to Joe, and there's a disagreement as to what the appropriate salary level for Marco should be," Reale said yesterday by phone.
The second phase of free agency begins at 4 p.m. Saturday, when clubs can cushion the cost of releasing high-priced players. There should be a brief surge in signings because teams have been waiting for certain players to become available, and free agents have been waiting for teams to find cap room.
The Redskins will continue to keep Coleman in mind as they apply the finishing touches to their roster. The team has just two proven defensive ends, Bruce Smith and Renaldo Wynn, but a signing might not be necessary because linebacker LaVar Arrington is being used as a third-down pass rusher.
Coleman's release could come as soon as Saturday evening. Mendes told Reale that the club won't wait until the 11th hour just before the roster bonus is due next week to make the move.
Coleman, 32, has been a locker room leader and solid player during his three years with the club. He recorded 10 sacks in 2000, his first season opposite Smith, to earn his first invitation to the Pro Bowl. He slumped last year after suffering a dislocated elbow in Week 2.
The Redskins asked Coleman to drop his new compensation to around the $750,000 minimum, but he declined. He expects a signing bonus of several million dollars to play the next three or four seasons. The Miami Dolphins and Philadelphia Eagles so far appear interested.
Washington will use the $3.5million of cap space it gains from the cut to sign its 10 draft picks, create an injury fund for the season and perhaps pursue more free agents. The club has just $550,000 of cap room and hasn't signed anyone since quarterback Shane Matthews a few days after the April 20-21 draft.
Any significant signings would necessitate more cap room, which likely would come from the restructuring of Smith's massive contract. Agent Leigh Steinberg said this week that Redskins owner Dan Snyder approached him about redoing Smith's deal, but Snyder didn't indicate whether he wants to guarantee Smith's salary or ask him to take a pay cut, either of which would create cap room.
It's a short-term fix to guarantee Smith because he's at the end of his career; any savings likely would come due in 2003 or 2004. Meanwhile, Smith has told friends that he will not play for less than the $3.5million he is scheduled to receive in salary. Washington's only recourse would be to threaten to cut Smith a move that's hard to imagine given Smith's close relationship with Snyder.
The targets in free agency probably would be at guard and along the defensive line. The potential big-name signing is defensive tackle Sam Adams, who starred for the Baltimore Ravens under current Redskins coordinator Marvin Lewis. Washington has been starting untested Donovan Arp at tackle during practices. Adams' price tag will be high.
The Redskins also might look at defensive end Jay Williams, a likely June 1 cap cut by the Carolina Panthers. Williams, 30, is expected to get a fair bit of attention after being replaced in Carolina's starting lineup by first-round pick Julius Peppers. A District native, Williams contributed as a reserve to the St. Louis Rams' Super Bowl XXXIV title.
At guard, the Redskins could pursue one of two likely post-June 1 cuts, Glenn Parker of the New York Giants or Ray Brown of the San Francisco 49ers. Also, Matt Campbell was cut by the Houston Texans yesterday after being selected from Washington earlier this offseason in the expansion draft.
There remains an outside chance that the Redskins could look at a safety or wide receiver. The club no longer seems interested in safety Damon Moore, recently of Philadelphia, though it continues to demonstrate some interest in receiver Willie Jackson, a former Florida star under Redskins coach Steve Spurrier who has stood out the past two seasons for the New Orleans Saints.
Note
The Steve Spurrier Redskins Classic golf tournament is tomorrow at Lansdowne Resort, Leesburg, Va. Proceeds will benefit the Redskins Leadership Council, the team's charity arm. Participating will be 35 Redskins players, coaches and alumni.


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