- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 19, 2002

The Washington Redskins have opened substantive discussions to extend the contract of offensive tackle Jon Jansen. Agent Rick Smith met with club officials the past two days at Redskin Park, and yesterday afternoon Jansen held a lengthy individual talk with vice president of football operations Joe Mendes, sources said.

Although the sides discussed a variety of contractual figures, the Redskins have yet to extend a formal proposal. This weekend Jansen's camp will compare the current figures to what other premier right tackles are making, and talks will continue early next week.

Jansen, Washington's second-round pick in 1999, is scheduled to become a free agent at the end of the season, having long since met playing-time incentives that void the final year of his rookie deal. The Redskins hope to re-sign him before he can negotiate with other teams starting March4, when he would be one of the most highly sought offensive linemen on the market.

Getting the maximum possible contract isn't Jansen's focus, sources said. He is more concerned about being part of a stable, winning organization, and he acknowledges that it's difficult to field the best possible team if the organization overpays one or two players.

That said, his camp believes he should be paid like one of the top right tackles in the league. Cincinnati's Willie Anderson and Philadelphia's Jon Runyan currently pace the market with deals that average $5.1million and $5million a season, respectively.

Jansen's salary this season, by contrast, is $563,500. He has the club's 18th-highest salary cap figure at $768,540.

Durability and powerful blocking on the run-oriented right side define Jansen, who hasn't missed so much as a practice since high school. Nicknamed "The Rock," he set a University of Michigan record with 50 straight starts and has started every possible game as a pro, 55 including the playoffs.

Jansen has not made the Pro Bowl, but right tackles by nature get less publicity than their left-side counterparts. It's not unusual for a Pro Bowl squad to start two left tackles, who man a more glamorous position against the league's better-known pass rushers.

Chicago's James "Big Cat" Williams broke the mold a bit last season when he started in the Pro Bowl. But Williams isn't paid in the range of Anderson or Runyan, neither of whom has made the Pro Bowl.

Stai probably out

Right guard Brenden Stai sat out practice again because of tendinitis in his left knee and appears unlikely to play tomorrow at Green Bay. Although Stai said he is feeling significantly better, he doesn't want to jeopardize future weeks by playing too soon. If he is absent, it would break a streak of 77 consecutive starts.

"I think he's improving," offensive line coach Kim Helton said. "I don't know what the final decision is yet. It's a possibility to take him with us [to Green Bay], wait and see [or] leave him home. It's still in the process."

Wilbert Brown is set to start on the right side, while David Loverne will return to play left guard. Kipp Vickers also is expected to get some snaps after missing recent weeks following arthroscopic knee surgery.

Stai injured the knee early in last weekend's loss to New Orleans, then it buckled near the end. An MRI on Monday indicated no torn ligaments.

Extra points

Coach Steve Spurrier reaffirmed that former No.1 wide receiver Rod Gardner has slipped a bit in the rotation, saying, "He didn't get demoted too far, but we're just trying to get his attention." The coach added that Gardner could end up seeing as many snaps tomorrow as he has in recent weeks but that the second-year wideout simply is unlikely to start ahead of Derrius Thompson and Chris Doering. Quarterback Danny Wuerffel still hasn't returned to practice but will man the No.3, or emergency, role at Green Bay. He would be limited basically to handing off.

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